This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard, Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
American Airlines had said in July that it wanted to roll out basic economy to all domestic routes “by the end of September,” but things turned out a little different: AA just introduced the fare class to its entire network on Tuesday morning.
No matter where you’re originating from or traveling to in the US, you’re likely going to have to pay more to get the same American Airlines “Main Cabin” ticket from before AA introduced basic economy in February. For AAdvantage elites, this means you’ll have to pay more to get a chance at an upgrade. For those looking to qualify for elite status, you’ll have to pay more to get full elite-qualifying miles/segments.
The silver lining is that basic economy isn’t appearing yet on all North American routes. I’m still finding overpriced non-basic economy fares on American Airlines’ Los Angeles (LAX) to Vancouver (YVR) route:
— JT Genter (@JTGenter) September 3, 2017
Also good news: it looks like domestic awards are still booking as standard Main Cabin fares and aren’t subject to basic economy restrictions. Since the cost for a cash Main Cabin fare just increased on many routes, Monday morning’s basic economy rollout actually just made AAdvantage miles a bit more valuable on domestic routes — at least where you can find MileSAAver AAvailability.
Now that AA flyers nationwide are affected by basic economy, it’s as important as ever to remember that getting an American Airlines co-branded card can defeat many of the negative aspects of basic economy. Just by having a co-branded card, you can carry-on a bag, check a bag for free and avoid being stuck in boarding group 9.
If you fly AA often and haven’t gotten a co-branded card, here are some to consider:
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard — with newly increased 60,000-mile sign-up bonus
- Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
We knew that American Airlines’ basic economy fares were going to roll out nationwide soon, but it’s a bummer that the airline rushed to complete this project so soon. With United promising to always offer a basic economy option, interestingly it’s Delta — which originated basic economy back in 2012 — that suddenly has the least ubiquitous basic economy fares of the big three US airlines. If you’re an AA flyer who’s doesn’t mind getting stuck in an airline-assigned seat, make sure to grab a co-branded card to defeat the other aspects of basic economy.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
- Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees