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Late Monday night, American Airlines announced several small, yet still notable changes to its AAdvantage program. Along with adding the functionality to search for and book Malaysia Airlines and Fiji Airways awards on aa.com, the carrier has introduced three other changes AAdvantage flyers should note.

Mileage Reinstatement

While AA will continue to allow members to get their miles back for a canceled ticket, it’s now implementing a stricter timing policy in order to qualify. For tickets booked on or after November 1, 2018, AAdvantage members looking to get a refund and their miles reinstated will be required to cancel their award tickets prior to the scheduled departure.

The new mileage reinstatement policy took effect as of 11:00am ET on Tuesday. While not a huge change, it’s surely one worth noting for members who frequently find themselves cancelling award tickets — especially at the last minute.

Iberia Accrual Changes

As of Tuesday, American is also changing the way that AAdvantage members can credit Iberia flights. Beginning Tuesday, AAdvantage members traveling on flights marketed by Iberia and operated by British Airways or American and traveling in the main cabin (F booking code) will earn miles and elite qualifying credits. When traveling in the main cabin, members will earn 50% of the miles flown as award miles and EQMs. In addition, EQDs will be calculated at 10% of the miles flown.

Before, AAdvantage members traveling on flights marketed by Iberia and operated by either American or British Airways in first class (F booking code) earned AAdvantage miles and elite qualifying credits. However, those traveling in booking code F in the main cabin did not.

Moais in Ahu Tongariki, Easter island (Chile). (Photo by Getty Images)
Photo by Getty Images.

Easter Island Awards

Have a getaway to Easter Island on the mind? American is making the award booking process easier. Previously, the AAdvantage site had inconsistencies between booking awards into two, as well as pricing them inconsistently. However, for bookings made beginning Nov. 1, all award travel to Easter Island (IPC) will be required to be booked on a separate award.

As of Tuesday morning, the new award chart is live on AA’s site at the following rates as part of the South American Region 1 group:

  • Economy — 17,500 AAdvantage miles one-way (from Santiago or Papeete)
  • Business — 30,000 AAdvantage miles one-way (from Santiago or Papeete)

As a reminder, you’ll have to fly to Santiago (SCL) or Papeete (PPT) in order to get the above rates. One-way from the continental US to SCL will cost 30,000 miles one-way in coach or 57,500 miles one-way in business — a total of 47,500 miles one-way in coach from the continental US to IPC or 87,500 miles-one-way in business. The new structure is more favorable for travelers. The same itinerary would have cost 75,000 miles one-way in economy or 140,000 miles one-way in business.

Meanwhile, to get from the continental US to PPT, you’ll have to pay 40,000 miles one-way in economy or 80,000 miles one-way in business. When adding those levels to the new, flat rate for travel from PPT to IPC, you’ll pay a total of 57,500 miles one-way in economy or 110,000 miles one-way in business. These changes aren’t as favorable as those for SCL-routed flights — the old structure cost 55,000 miles one-way in economy or 110,000 miles one-way in business.

Of course, these three changes also come along with another change by AA, by allowing members to book awards with more of its partners on its website. None of the changes announced Monday are drastic — either positively or negatively. But if you know the policies and what you’re entitled to, these shouldn’t come across as too negative.

Know before you go.

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