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On Thursday, low-cost carrier LEVEL took to the skies for the first time. TPG’s Associate Editor Emily McNutt was there to experience the inaugural flight. However, when the passengers disembarked in Los Angeles (LAX), there was an unanswered question still looming over each and every passenger: Where can I credit this flight?!
Well, maybe not everyone was worried about this. But, it’s a question that we’ve been wondering ever since the new airline was announced. See, LEVEL is a subsidiary of International Airlines Group — the same group that owns Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. Of these, you can earn both AAdvantage award miles and elite-qualifying miles on half: British Airways and Iberia. The question was if LEVEL would be one of the special partners or not.
Seems American Airlines is splitting the difference. On an award chart released last night, we now know that you’ll earn award miles on LEVEL flights, but not AA elite-qualifying miles. And, the award mileage credit rate is pretty miserable:
Let’s put that into perspective. Here’s how many AAdvantage miles you’ll earn for these flights:
|One-way mileage earning||Booking Code||LAX-BCN||OAK-BCN|
That’s right. You’ll need to fly two round-trips to Europe to earn enough miles for a People magazine subscription if you’re booking the cheapest tickets.
Also note that you’ll only earn AAdvantage miles on certain LEVEL flights. It seems AA doesn’t want you earning any flights on LEVEL’s flights between Spain and Argentina or the Dominican Republic:
Flights marketed by Iberia and operated by Iberia for LEVEL (IB2600 – IB2699) aren’t eligible for AAdvantage mileage accrual with the exception of flights between:
Barcelona (BCN) – Los Angeles (LAX)
BCN – Oakland (OAK)
While it’s easy to mock the low earning rate, we must remember that these are some very cheap flights. TPG’s Emily paid just $105 (before add-ons) for the 6,000+ mile flight. So, it’s understandable that the mileage earnings aren’t going to be the greatest.
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