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American Airlines adjusts earning rates for Alaska flights, devalues Saver fares

March 10, 2021
4 min read
American Airlines adjusts earning rates for Alaska flights, devalues Saver fares
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Alaska Airlines has been busy the last few months preparing for its entrance into the Oneworld alliance, which is happening at the end of March. For instance, it recently adjusted first-class and economy fare codes to align closer with Oneworld partners, impacting how you earn and redeem miles and elite upgrade prioritization.

However, it's not just Alaska that needs to prepare. Existing partners that are also part of Oneworld have been making adjustments as well.

American Airlines has just published a new earning chart for Alaska Airlines-marketed and operated flights. While the changes only affect some economy fares, there's one big devaluation: Alaska's basic economy Saver fares no longer earn any elite-qualifying credit with American.

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Earning AAdvantage miles for Alaska flights

American has just published a new earning chart for Alaska flights on or after March 31, 2021 (the day Alaska joins Oneworld). The changes take effect retroactively, so if you previously purchased a ticket with one of these fare classes for travel on or after March 31, your reservation and earnings will change. Also, note that these earnings only apply to flights marketed and operated by Alaska. Alaska-operated flights booked with an AA flight number will continue to earn AAdvantage miles based on the American mileage accrual chart.

Although some fare codes have been renamed, there are no earning changes for first-class tickets. For instance, full-fare first-class tickets will continue to earn the same amount of miles and elite-qualifying credit, but under the fare code "J" instead of "F."

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The biggest change is that Saver "X" fares will no longer earn any elite-qualifying credit. This makes sense given that American doesn't award elite credit for its own basic economy (B) fares either. They will continue to earn award miles at a rate of 25% of the distance flown, however.

Related: Where to credit your basic economy flights for maximum returns

Here's a summary of the other changes:

  • Deeply-discounted "G" economy fares will now earn 25% base miles (instead of 50%) and 5% EQDs (instead of 10%).
  • "Q" economy fares now earn 50% base miles (instead of 75%), 1x EQMs, 10% EQDs (instead of 15%) and 1x EQSs.
  • "S" fares were downgraded from earning 100% base miles to 50% and 20% EQDs to 10%.
  • "L" and "K" economy fares were boosted and now earn 75% base miles (instead of 50%), 1x EQMs (instead of 0.5x), 15% EQDs (instead of 10%) and 1x EQSs.
  • "H" fares also got a nice upgrade. They now earn 100% base miles (instead of 75%), 1x EQMs (instead of 0.5x), 20% EQDs (instead of 15%) and 1x EQSs.
  • "V" and "M" fares saw no changes other than them now earning 1x EQMs instead of 0.5x.

Here's a complete look at the new award chart for travel on or after March 31, 2021:

Bottom line

Alaska's entrance into Oneworld will come with some changes to how you earn miles when crediting to American. The biggest news is that American will no longer award any elite-qualifying credit for Alaska basic economy tickets. If you frequently book Saver fares and want to earn elite-qualifying credit, you'll be better off crediting your flights to Alaska's Mileage Plan program, which will continue to offer award and elite-elite qualifying miles based on 100% of the distance flown.

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023