American Airlines Makes Changes to LATAM Partner Mileage Crediting

Jul 31, 2018

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It’s been more than two years since we’ve caught American Airlines making a change to its partner crediting chart without communication to members. But, that streak has come to an end with a change to the AAdvantage crediting chart for LATAM Airlines. And like with many recent changes, this one is a mixed bag: good for business/first class passengers and negative for economy class passengers.

The primary prompt for this change seems to be the unification of LATAM Airlines Chile (previously LAN) and LATAM Airlines Brasil (previously TAM) fare classes into one combined LATAM Airlines fare class system. This switch has created dozens of changes to how flights will credit when departing on or after August 18, 2018.

As is typical with these partner chart changes, there’s no grandfather rule for those that bought their tickets before the changes were announced. That means some travelers who booked flights last week may get up to half the award miles, half the Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) or half the Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) that they expected when booking.

Award Miles

Effective for flights on or after August 18, 2018, AAdvantage award miles will be switched from two charts to one combined chart:

Award Miles LATAM Airlines Chile LATAM Airlines Brasil LATAM Airlines Combined
Cabin & Fare Classification Fare Class Award Miles Rate Fare Class Award Miles Rate Fare Class Award Miles Rate
Business (Full Fare) J,C 125% J,C,D 125% J,C 200%
Business (Mid-High) D 100% D 150%
Business (Discount) I 100% I 100% I 125%
Business (Deep Discount) Z 100% Z 100% Z 100%
Premium Economy (Full Fare) W 110% W 100% W 125%
Premium Economy (Discount) P 100% P 100% P 110%
Economy (Full Fare) Y,B 100% Y 100% Y 100%
Economy (Mid-High) H 75% B,K,H 75%
Economy (Discount) K,L,M,V 50% X,B,K,M,N,Q,O,H 50% L,M,V,X 50%
Economy (Deep Discount) X,S,H,Q,O,G,A 25% L,V,S,G,A 25% S,N,Q,O,G,A 25%

*This chart shows a combination of the Base Miles and Cabin Bonus charts. Note that AA elite mileage bonuses are only applied to the Base Miles number.

Overall, it looks like nothing got worse, right? Indeed, grouped into these categories, it seems that the general award rates are being kept the same or going up. And generally, that’s true for the award miles chart.

However, it’s a bit more complicated by the restructuring of the individual fare classes. For example, “B” is currently a full-fare code on LATAM Chile (earning 100%) while it’s a discount code on LATAM Brasil (50%). In the combined chart, the B fare code ends up getting 75% — positive for some, but negative for others.

Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM)

For those looking to earn American Airlines elite status from LATAM flights, there’s no positive news to share. Here’s the before and after:

Award Miles LATAM Airlines Chile LATAM Airlines Brasil LATAM Airlines Combined
Cabin & Fare Classification Fare Class EQM Rate Fare Class EQM Rate Fare Class EQM Rate
Business (Full Fare) J,C 1.5 J,C,D 1.5 J,C 1.5
Business (Mid-High) D 1.5 D 1.5
Business (Discount) I 1.5 I 1.5 I 1.25
Business (Deep Discount) Z 1.5 Z 1.5 Z 1
Premium Economy (Full Fare) W 1.5 W 1.5 W 1.25
Premium Economy (Discount) P 1.5 P 1.5 P 1.1
Economy (Full Fare) Y,B 1 Y 1 Y 1
Economy (Mid-High) H 0.5 B,K,H 0.75
Economy (Discount) K,L,M,V 0.5 X,B,K,M,N,Q,O,H 0.5 L,M,V,X 0.5
Economy (Deep Discount) X,S,H,Q,O,G,A 0.5 L,V,S,G,A 0.5 S,N,Q,O,G,A 0.25

Currently, all business class and premium economy fares earn 1.5 EQM per mile flown. Those rates drop to 1.25, 1.1 or even 1.0 on discount fares in the new program.

In the cheapest discount economy codes, you’ll soon only earn 1 EQM for every 4 flight miles, meaning a 3,629-mile flight from New York City (JFK) to Lima (LIM) will only earn 907 EQM. You’d earn more EQMs from an American Airlines (non-basic economy) flight from NYC to Miami (MIA).

Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD)

Generally speaking, there’s no big cuts to EQD rate. Instead, most fare classes will stay the same or get better. In some cases, much better:

Award Miles LATAM Airlines Chile LATAM Airlines Brasil LATAM Airlines Combined
Cabin & Fare Classification Fare Class EQD Rate Fare Class EQD Rate Fare Class EQD Rate
Business (Full Fare) J,C 25% J,C,D 25% J,C 40%
Business (Mid-High) D 20% D 30%
Business (Discount) I 20% I 20% I 25%
Business (Deep Discount) Z 20% Z 20% Z 20%
Premium Economy (Full Fare) W 22% W 20% W 25%
Premium Economy (Discount) P 20% P 20% P 22%
Economy (Full Fare) Y,B 20% Y 20% Y 20%
Economy (Mid-High) H 15% B,K,H 15%
Economy (Discount) K,L,M,V 10% X,B,K,M,N,Q,O,H 10% L,M,V,X 10%
Economy (Deep Discount) X,S,H,Q,O,G,A 5% L,V,S,G,A 5% S,N,Q,O,G,A 5%

As you can see, full-fare business class flights will now earn 40% of flight miles as EQDs. So, if you’re sent on a last-minute business class flight from NYC to Lima, the 7,258 round-trip could earn you 2,903 EQD. That’s likely to be a lot closer to the actual cost than the current rate of just 25% of flight miles (1,815 EQD).

Economy codes are staying similar, but some fare classes are seeing cuts in the changeover. Those that booked LATAM Airlines Brasil N, Q or O class flights are going to get just half of the EQDs starting August 18 than they would have earned before.

Breakdown by Fare Code

When lumped into fare class groups as shown above, it seems like there are rather minor changes. However, for some fare codes, there are noticeable changes:

Airline Cabin Fare Class Award Miles Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD)
Previous Rate New Rate Previous Rate New Rate Previous Rate New Rate
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Business J,C 125% 200% 1.5 1.5 25% 40%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Business J,C 125% 200% 1.5 1.5 25% 40%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Business D 125% 150% 1.5 1.5 25% 30%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Business D 100% 150% 1.5 1.5 20% 30%
LATAM Airlines Chile & Brasil Business I 100% 125% 1.5 1.25 20% 25%
LATAM Airlines Chile & Brasil Business Z 100% 100% 1.5 1 20% 20%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Premium Economy W 100% 125% 1.5 1.25 20% 25%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Premium Economy W 110% 125% 1.5 1.25 22% 25%
LATAM Airlines Chile & Brasil Premium Economy P 100% 110% 1.5 1.1 20% 22%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Economy Y 100% 100% 1 1 20% 20%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Economy B,K,H 50% 75% 0.5 0.75 10% 15%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Economy M,X 50% 50% 0.5 0.5 10% 10%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Economy N,Q,O 50% 25% 0.5 0.25 10% 5%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Economy L,V 25% 50% 0.5 0.5 5% 10%
LATAM Airlines Brasil (TAM) Economy S,G,A 25% 25% 0.5 0.25 5% 5%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Economy Y 100% 100% 1 1 20% 20%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Economy B 100% 75% 1 0.75 20% 15%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Economy H 75% 75% 0.5 0.75 15% 15%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Economy K 50% 75% 0.5 0.75 10% 15%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Economy L,M,V 50% 50% 0.5 0.5 10% 10%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Economy X 25% 50% 0.5 0.5 5% 10%
LATAM Airlines Chile (LAN) Economy S,N,Q,O,G,A 25% 25% 0.5 0.25 5% 5%

Bottom Line

These changes aren’t as drastic, widespread and bad as the 200 changes across 19 partners that AA sprung upon us in July 2016. In fact, some of these changes are going to be good for those that book LATAM business or premium economy flights and credit to AAdvantage. However, these changes are only being reported through an update to AA’s LATAM partner page. The lack of communication and short lead time before they go into effect are more concerning than the changes themselves.

Update: American Airlines has indicated that its website was updated with this change on July 18, to give travelers one month of notice. The airline has also confirmed “the reason for this change is because of the unification of LATAM Airlines Chile (previously LAN) and LATAM Airlines Brasil (previously TAM) fare classes into one combined LATAM Airlines fare class system.”

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