Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Air Travel
Reload this Page >

A Big fat raspberry to American Airlines AAdvantage program

A Big fat raspberry to American Airlines AAdvantage program

Oct 30th, 2007, 06:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,146
A Big fat raspberry to American Airlines AAdvantage program

Has anyone else had this problem?
American refused to award miles for half of our trip. We flew DFW-LGW on June 4, returned CDG-DFW on July 4. We (spouse and I) were given mileage for the return trip but not for the outbound portion. When I called, the agent told me that because it was a "heavily discounted" international flight, it was ineligible for mileage award. It makes no sense to me that one part of the trip yields miles while the other doesn't. Apparently each segment was coded differently. And how was I supposed to know that? To calm me down, I think, the agent kindly awarded each of us 1000 miles as a "goodwill gesture." I can think of another gesture I would like to send (not to the agent who was polite, but to whoever made up/changed the rules.) I've flown international flights on American for 20+ years and never had miles denied. I almost always book through CitiTravel, associated with my Citi AAdvantage Master Card, both of which, I thought, were associated with American. FYI, the "heavily discounted" tickets cost $948 base, plus $246.32 tax for a total of $1,194.32 each. This doesn't smack of "heavily discounted" to me. Would appreciate any comments and/or suggestions to avoid this happening again in the future.
crckwc1 is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 06:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Do you know what's the fare code?

Nowadays, if miles are important, always always know the fare code (aka fare class or fare basis) before purchasing ANY tickets.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 07:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,923
Who'd you buy the tickets from this time?
hills27 is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Tickets between North America and Europe, India, Asia and Latin America booked in O and Transatlantic tickets booked in Q are not eligible for mileage credit.

and yes, you can check the fare codes during bookings.

AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 09:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,146
Thanks to all for educating me. I've been naive and ignorant about fare codes so I guess I've been very lucky this hasn't happened before. Yes, from now on I will know the code before ticketing.
(I purchased the tickets from CitiTravel, associated with my Citi AAdvantage Master Card. I've bought through them for years and never before had this problem. Now I know to ask.)
crckwc1 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,144
If you think AA is bad, check out some of the European carriers, including BA, SAS, and Lufthansa. 25% mileage accrual for virtually all coach fares will hit US shores soon enough.
travelgourmet is online now  
Oct 31st, 2007, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 794
Yup - just so you know, this isn't a policy that's restricted to American Airlines. Many carriers have fare codes that don't earn miles.
lifelist is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,149
>>"heavily discounted" tickets cost $948 base

I'm guessing that $948 is the roundtrip fare. But only one part of it is "heavily discounted". You might have paid $248 in one direction and $700 in the other direction. The fare details on your ticket should show the actual amounts each way.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,998
An omen of things to come! What better way to increase profits or at least decrease costs than to eliminate ff miles. Oil will soon be at $100 a barrel. Savvy fortune tellers are predicting that soon air travel will be rationed!
GSteed is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Your theory is incorrest.

In most cases the FF programs with the major US airlines are the most profitable divisions of the airlines.

Major AA stockholder, Icelandic based investment group, not happy with the AA stock performance tried to pressure AA to sell off it's AAdvantage program for billion$. They are looking for a short term profit solution. AA did not answer, basically telling the major stockholder to stuff it.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 12:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
FL Group, the Icelandic investment group, is taking a pop at American Airlines, writing to the board and calling for the U.S. airline to spin-off its frequent flyer programme, AAdvantage which FL says is worth about $6bn, in a move that could generate $4bn of shareholder value

AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 4th, 2007, 07:43 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
I don't get how it would even work for an airline's FF program to be a separate business entity. Isn't AAdvantage "profitable" for AA in that it builds customer loyalty, but the airline is still only rewarding commodities (seats bought with miles, upgrades) that its revenue management department has determined might go unsold anyway? What would someone gain by owning the FF program without the airline? How is AAdvantage profitable on its own?
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Nov 4th, 2007, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,056
Jeff, AA sells the miles in blocks to the various parties that award them - Citibank, etc. How much they receive in cash from the buyers is confidential information, however it's a lot.

The miles are then re-sold by e.g. Citibank to cardholders and the cost buried in their annual fees, transaction markups, interest charges etc.

The airline's liability side of the ledger is the potential cost of the FF awards the mileage holders will claim. Because of arbitrage (the earning power of the cash received for the miles sold well in advance of the miles redeemed) and the very substantial "leakage" of miles never redeemed (those 3700 Delta miles in my account that I'll never claim) the mileage plan becomes a huge cash cow. If they then limit the awards to those that require higher per-seat redemptions ("peak vs. "saver") or erase the miles from "inactive" accounts after so many years, then it gets even bigger.

A few years ago when Air Canada went into bankruptcy, AC sold off its mileage program, "Aeroplan." At the time, the asset value of Aeroplan alone was greater than the rest of AC put together.

It's not about customer loyalty, although that's an important marketing angle, it's about cash.

Bought any department store or bank gift cards or certificates this year? Have they been used up? Check out the statistics.
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 4th, 2007, 08:51 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
That's very interesting, Gardyloo. I didn't think of it in those terms. Thank you for your explanation.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 92
Like the OP, I have just had an education in this, courtesy of Air Canada Aeroplan.

I flew from Toronto to London and back in July. The return part was credited, but nothing was given for the outbound flight.

After a long conversation with someone at Air Canada, I too have discovered about fare codes, and I will be sure to check next time.

This was not a cheap flight either; I booked it through the AC website, not a consolidator.

Now I know...
TaniaP is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:22 PM.