AAdvantage Drops LEVEL Flight Crediting Effective November 1

Sep 14, 2017

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Back in June, airline conglomerate International Airlines Group (IAG) launched LEVEL — a new low-cost carrier under IAG’s Spanish unit Iberia. The new airline was designed to allow IAG, which also owns British Airways, to compete with long-haul, low-cost carriers such as Norwegian without watering down the brand of its core airlines.

At the time of the launch, it was unclear how this airline would be treated by other airlines in the Oneworld alliance. LEVEL itself wouldn’t be a Oneworld carrier, but its flights would be operated by Oneworld carrier Iberia. While that seems strange at first, it makes sense that a LCC wouldn’t have to bother providing elite benefits.

So that left the question open about crediting miles. It wouldn’t be until after LEVEL’s first few flights that American Airlines would finally agree to credit LEVEL flights to AAdvantage. The announced rates were pretty terrible, but at least you could get ~600 AAdvantage miles for a cheap one-way between California and Europe. After just 96 one-ways, you’d have enough miles to redeem for a one-way business class flight to Europe!

level cabin

Well, it looks like the gravy train is coming to an end. On Thursday morning, AAdvantage changed its program to eliminate LEVEL flight credits as of November 1. Specifically, the following was added to its website: “Beginning November 1, 2017, travel on any flights marketed by Iberia and operated by Iberia for LEVEL (IB2600 – IB2699) won’t be eligible for AAdvantage mileage accrual.”

We confirmed the change with an American Airlines spokesperson, who pointed out that “AAdvantage members will continue to earn miles on LEVEL flights marketed as American Airlines codeshare flights.”

That’s true. However, you’re going to have to pay a price premium to do so. It’s going to be up to you whether its worth it to pay more AA codeshare flights. Let’s take a look at an example:

Price difference between LEVEL and AA

What do you get for the $266 price difference? For flights before November 1:

LEVEL flight Award Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD)
AA flight numbers 3,000-6,600
(depending on
elite status)
11,920 600
IB flight numbers 596 0 0

For flights after November 1, the difference would be that you wouldn’t earn those 596 award miles on Iberia flight numbers. Unless you’re desperate for those EQMs and EQDs to qualify for AAdvantage elite status, there’s no reason to pay hundreds more for the award miles.

So, if you’re not going to pay more for a codeshare option, what are your LEVEL credit options?

And the airlines that exclude LEVEL flights:

  • British Airways Avios: “Flights operated by Iberia on behalf of Level are not eligible for accrual of Tier Points or Avios.”
  • Malaysia Enrich Miles: “Effective 1 June 2017, earn and redeem of Enrich Miles are not applicable on Iberia Level Flights (range from IB2600 — IB2699).”
  • S7 Priority miles: “Miles cannot be earned on the following flights: IB2600 — IB2699.”

Featured image courtesy of LEVEL.

Where will you credit LEVEL flights?

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