2016 AAdvantage program changes American Airlines American Airlines AAdvantage British Airways FinnAir - oneworld alliance Iberia Airlines oneworld alliance

AAdvantage Earn Miles Oneworld partner changes on January 1, 2016

One of the more nuanced changes announced by AAdvantage begins on January 1, 2016 when miles earned for Oneworld and partner airline flights are reduced. This post looks at AAdvantage changes for elite and redeemable miles earned for American Airlines operated, AA codeshare flights and Oneworld and partner airline operated flights, not ticketed as AA codeshares.

I cover Air Berlin, British Airways, Finnair and Iberia for Europe routes in this article. The main focus of this piece are changes in earn miles tables on partner airlines effective Jan 1, 2016 for earning elite miles and redeemable miles in American Airlines AAdvantage program in 2016.

I started writing this post and realized 25 airlines is way too many changes for one Loyalty traveler post. I think a logical way to look at partner airline changes is by region.

What are the 2016 changes for earning AAdvantage redeemable miles RDM and elite miles EQM?

The 2016 AAdvantage changes for flyers primarily on American Airlines operated flights are no significant disadvantage for economy class flyers seeking elite status of Gold, Platinum and Executive Platinum. Earning elite status improves for flyers on paid business and first class. The hit is reduced elite miles on Oneworld partner flights and even fewer redeemable miles.

Oneworld Airline operated flights that are not ticketed as AA codeshare flights earn miles based on flight miles and booking code. Most airline partners are reducing miles earned for discount economy class tickets.

Elite Qualifying and redeemable miles for American Airlines and AA codeshare as of January 1, 2016

Oneworld Airline and Partner Airline Flights ticketed as AA codeshares earn Elite qualifying miles EQM and redeemable miles RDM by American Airlines flight rules.

AAdvantage AA miles earned 2016

There are essentially no changes for Economy Class flyers flying American Airlines operated flights and AA codeshares, unless you purchase full-fare economy tickets. Few people pay full-fare.

In 2016 on American Airlines flights and AA codeshares:

1 flight mile = 1 elite mile = 1 redeemable mile for discount economy tickets.

All discount economy class fares for American Airlines/American Express operated flights and AA codeshare flights for airline partners earn 1 elite qualifying mile and 1 redeemable AAdvantage mile per flight mile.

AA codeshare example

aa.com codeshare explanation and example.

In the second half of 2016 there will be a change to AAdvantage tying the earn rate of redeemable miles to the price of your ticket. This will result in far lower amounts of redeemable miles earned for deep discount long-haul international flights.

How will award miles be calculated for AA marketed flights starting in the second half of 2016?

Starting in the second half of 2016, travel on any eligible purchased, published fare ticket on an American marketed flight (flights sold under an AA flight number) will earn award miles based on your ticket price (base fare plus any carrier-imposed fees) instead of distance flown, regardless of the date you purchased your ticket. Award miles will not consider government imposed taxes and fees, airline fees such as change fees, ticketing fees or charges for products such as seats or checked baggage.

aa.com 2016 changes – award miles

There will be no change in earning elite qualifying miles for discount economy class tickets for AA operated flights and codeshare flights.

Discount Business tickets in booking code ‘I’ earn 2 EQM per flight mile in 2016 for AA operated flights and AA codeshare flights on partner airlines. This is an area where it might be a good strategy to buy discount Business Class tickets. You can earn elite status even faster buying First Class tickets with 3 EQM per flight mile.

EQSs and EQMs

EQMs and EQSs will continue to be earned for eligible travel on American Airlines, oneworld® airlines, Alaska Airlines and American-marketed codeshare flights.

You’ll still earn 1 EQS for each eligible segment you fly.

You’ll continue to earn EQMs based on the airline and booking class purchased. Plus, Full-fare Economy, Business Class or First Class tickets on American-marketed flights will earn EQMs at a higher rate – getting you to elite status faster.

On American-marketed flights:

  • 3 EQMs/mile – Full-fare First or Business

  • 2 EQMs/mile – Discount First or Business

  • 1.5 EQMs/mile – Full-fare Main Cabin

  • 1 EQM/mile – Discount Main Cabin

The amount of EQMs you earn on partner airlines will change. Earn rates will vary depending on the airline.

aa.com 2016 AAdvantage Changes – EQSs and EQMs

I am pretty sure I will be earning AAdvantage elite status on economy class flight miles in 2016. And hopefully enjoy some complimentary upgrades in 2016 as an AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite.

Oneworld Airlines EQM and RDM as of January 1, 2016

Oneworld and partner airline flights are where the AAdvantage 2016 changes are harder to detect since there are more than 25 partner airlines and each has its own miles earned booking code charts for January 1, 2016 changes.

oneworld airline partners

Additional airline partners


AAdvantage Air Berlin miles

  • Six discount economy booking codes drop from 1 EQM to 0.5 EQM per flight mile in Economy H, K, M, L, V, S booking codes.
  • Discount economy codes N, Q, O, G, P, E, W have no change since they were already 25% RDM and 0,5 EQM.
  • Business Class no changes.

British Airways

I wonder if AA kind of panicked when they released the British Airways charts earlier this month since all the other airlines are changing January 1 and British Airways has changes Jan 1, 2016 with one chart and more changes Feb 1, 2016 with another miles earn chart.

Current AAdvantage British Airways Earn Miles to December 31, 2015

AAdvantage BA earn current 11-18-15

AAdvantage British Airways Earn Miles Jan 1-31, 2016

AAdvantage BA Earn Miles JAN1-31-16

The immediate changes with British Airways operated and marketed flights is Discount Economy codes K, L, M, V drop from 100% EQM to 50% EQM. All Discount and Deep Discount Economy tickets earn 0.5 EQM per flight mile as of Jan 1, 2016. Fly British Airways SFO-LHR round trip on a discount BA flight  in January and you only earn 50% EQM per flight miles for 5,367 EQM.

Remember: These changes apply to BA flight numbers on your ticket. AA codeshare numbers for British Airways operated flights still earn 100% EQM for all discount economy class booking codes.

AAdvantage British Airways Earn Miles from Feb 1, 2016

AAdvantage BA miles Feb-1-16

The hammer drops on Feb 1, 2016 when BA operated flights in discount economy drop to 50% redeemable miles and 50% elite miles EQM for K, L, M, N, S, V booking codes. Deep discount economy codes G, O, Q drop to 25% redeemable miles and 50% EQM.

That San Francisco SFO-LHR London round trip on a $500 BA fare might only earn 2,683 redeemable miles in February 2016 and 5,367 EQM. That is a big drop from 10,734 RDM and EQM for flights this week in these same booking codes.


AAdvantage FinnAir earn miles 2016

Great news is there is no reduction in redeemable miles RDM earned for discount economy. Flights to Helsinki from the USA on FinnAir marketed flights still earn 100% flight miles as redeemable AAdvantage miles in 2016.

Main change to FinnAir is seven discount economy booking codes A, H, K, L, M, P, V drop from 100% EQM to 50% EQM. Full Fare Y and B fares drop to 1:1 flight mile to EQM.

FinnAir looks like a potential winner in discount economy ticket bookings. I recall FinnAir had some very low fare discount economy tickets under $500 to the Baltics on sale one day in 2015.


Iberia is as screwed up as British Airways with three different charts on the AAdvantage Oneworld partner airline earning webpage.

Current AAdvantage Iberia Earn Miles to December 31, 2015

AAdvantage Iberia Miles 11-18-15

AAdvantage Iberia Earn Miles Jan 1-31, 2016

AAdvantage Iberia Miles Jan-2016

The first issue with Iberia is two different award charts depending on TransAtlantic flights to North America or all other flights.

There are no changes to redeemable miles RDM earned and few changes to EQM in January, except full-fare and discount Economy class flights earn fewer EQMs. Discount Economy B, H, K, L, M, V, W, Z, A drop from 100% EQMs to 50% EQMs on January 1, 2016.

The big AAdvantage changes for Iberia flights come in February 2016.

AAdvantage Iberia Airlines Earn Miles from Feb 1, 2016

AAdvantage Iberia Earn miles Feb1-2016

Iberia transatlantic flights booked in discount economy codes: A, G, K, L, M, N, S, V, W, Z drop from earning 100% redeemable miles to 50% RDM for flights flown from February 1, 2016.

Iberia Airlines Deep Discount economy codes O, P Q earn only 25% RDM.

OneWorld Airlines miles earning may look better after AAdvantage goes revenue based for RDM in late 2016

When flying to Europe on European OneWorld partners, remember to look for AA codeshare flights, or see if FinnAir fits in your routing. British Airways and Iberia operated and marketed flights will earn far fewer miles in discount and deep discount economy when flying those $400 to $700 fares to Europe in 2016.

After AAdvantage goes to ticket revenue based earning for redeemable miles in late 2016, these Oneworld airline partners may look better than American Airlines and AA codeshares for budget travelers who don’t care about elite status and want to maximize AAdvantage award miles earned.

Loyalty Traveler – American Airlines AAdvantage 2016 changes with new award charts on aa.com

Loyalty Traveler – AAdvantage 2016 Business and First Class American Airlines Award Chart changes

Loyalty Traveler – AAdvantage 2016 Changes to Off-Peak Seasons for discount economy awards

Loyalty Traveler – Table with AAdvantage OneWorld and Partner Airline Award Changes March 22, 2016


  • Victor November 18, 2015

    The least AA could have done was to increase EQM in premium cabins for their alliance partners as they decrease EQM for discount economy. For folks based outside of the USA (such as me based in SYD) it will not become easier to obtain status, only harder in fact.

  • Ric Garrido November 19, 2015

    @Victor – So many bloggers have commented how it will be easier to reach elite and the ranks will swell in 2016.

    I disagree.

    You explain one reason why. Travelers flying Oneworld carriers will have a harder time reaching elite.

    Economy ticket flyers in USA will have little reason to prefer American over other airlines with redeemable miles earned comparable to Delta and United.

  • […] AAdvantage Earn Miles Oneworld partner changes on January 1, 2016 […]

  • Kurt November 21, 2015

    I want to know if I have this thing straight… Taking your BA example of San Francisco SFO-LHR London round trip on a $500 BA fare might only earn 2,683 reward miles in February 2016 and 5,367 EQM.

    IF the same flight were AA marked flight the $500 fare, and once AA go revenue-based, will that same ticket only get you 2500 reward miles (5miles per $) BUT 10,734EQM (1 EQM/mile discount main cabin) i.e fewer reward miles but a lot more EQMs?

    So whether you want more reward miles or more EQMs kind of decides which operator to pick

    Is that correct?

  • Ric Garrido November 21, 2015

    Kurt – looks correct. American Airlines flights will earn 100% EQM so 1 EQM per flight mile on all discount economy codes, even for oneworld airline partner operated flights like British Airways when they are ticketed as an American Airlines AA codeshare flight.

    The big change in 2016 is most economy class tickets marketed by Oneworld Airline partners will earn fewer EQM, like a British Airways flight number on your ticket rather than AA codeshare number. This really comes into play when flying partner airlines in other regions of the world, where there is not the option of booking the flight as an AA codeshare flight.

    Here is the table I made today showing all the Oneworld Alliance partner airline booking codes and reductions in EQM as of Jan 1, 2016.


    We will have to see the rules when AAdvantage goes revenue-based in the second half of 2016. At that point, it may favor flying Oneworld partner airlines for more redeemable miles than AA-operated flights and AA codeshares.

    That is how it is with United Mileage Plus now for long-haul flights. Many tickets earn more redeemable miles buying from the Star Alliance partner airline or an OTA rather than through United Airlines.

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