Photographer: Mark Elias/Bloomberg

American Ready to Join Rivals in Basing Flier Awards on Fares

American Airlines will match Delta and United in basing loyalty awards on the amount paid for a ticket instead of distance flown, rewarding travelers who spend the most.

The shift will occur on Aug. 1, American Airlines Group Inc. said Monday in a statement. Travelers who are elite members of American’s AAdvantage frequent-flier program will earn more for each dollar spent based on their status, with bonuses of as much as 120 percent. 

“We determined that the changes we are announcing today are the best for us to compete,” Bridget Blaise-Shamai, American’s managing director of customer loyalty and insights, said on a conference call. “The more you spend in travel, the more benefits you will be offered.”

American’s loyalty program is the largest in the industry, with about 100 million members. The carrier had delayed the change, made earlier by Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc., while it focused on integrating operations with merger partner US Airways. 

Starting later this month, American’s website will display estimates of miles and elite-qualifying credits that would be earned for specific trips. American first announced the change in the loyalty program in November.

On Jan. 1, American will add a new Platinum Pro level and “elite qualifying dollars” to requirements for earning a higher AAdvantage awards status.

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