AAdvantage Becomes First Frequent Flyer Program to Eliminate Mileage Credit for Bookings through Travel Agencies

American Airlines landing

In the major hotel chains, it has been standard practice for a while: Bonus points, elite nights, and status benefits are only available when booking through official channels. Those who book through (online) travel agencies such as Expedia, Booking.com, and others miss out.

This trend could now also spill over into the aviation industry. American Airlines, or rather its frequent flyer program AAdvantage, is leading the way. Starting May 2024, passengers will only get miles and loyalty points if the trip is booked directly with the airline, through selected travel agencies, or as a business trip.

The airline is trying to sell this as an advantage and announced today:

Starting with tickets issued on May 1, 2024, American will update the way customers earn AAdvantage® miles and Loyalty Points on flights, depending on where they book.

Customers will earn miles and Loyalty Points on flights when they:

  • Book directly with American and eligible partner airlines.
  • Book travel anywhere as an AAdvantage Business™ member or contracted corporate traveler.
  • Book through preferred travel agencies. American will share a list of eligible preferred agencies on aa.com in late April.

Basic Economy fare tickets will only earn when booked directly with American and eligible partner airlines.

There is currently no list specifying which preferred travel agencies will still qualify for mileage credit. Depending on how short this list is, the consequences could be significant.


In Europe, hardly anyone is likely to earn AAdvantage miles, as other programs like the BA Executive Club are more attractive in almost every aspect. However, it is conceivable that other airlines or frequent flyer programs will follow suit. Are we witnessing the beginning of a turning point?

Personally, I book trips, whenever possible, directly with the airline. I would not shed a tear for Opodo, Travelgenio, and the like. However, “real,” competent travel agencies still have their justification today. Eliminating mileage credit for all bookings through them would be a concerning development.

Translated by Ditmar

Cover Picture: Ditmar Lange

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Comment (1)

  1. Christine says:

    Unlikely the anti trust regulations of the EU will allow similar regulations if the ticket is sold within the EU and the flight originates or ends within.

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