Direct Booking-only Points and Baggage Fee Changes Are the Next Parts Of the AAdvantage 2024 Update

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In line with prior declarations, American will persist in advancing the AAdvantage scheme, ensuring that members’ fidelity to American yields even greater benefits.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a series of updates aimed at enriching the travel experience of its members. At the center of these changes are revised conditions for earning miles and loyalty points, as well as expanded benefits related to booking practices, baggage fees, and additional services. This analysis delves into the practical implications of these updates.

To Earn Loyalty Points, Book Tickets Only Through Direct Official Sales Channels

Starting May 1, 2024, AAdvantage members will see a shift in how miles and Loyalty Points are accrued, with a clear bias towards direct bookings with American Airlines and its eligible partners. This initiative encourages members to utilize American Airlines’ platforms or those of its partners, ensuring that loyalty is rewarded more transparently and directly.

  • Direct Booking Channels: Websites, apps, and sales centers of American Airlines and partner carriers are designated avenues for members to book flights and earn rewards.
  • Eligible Partners and Travel Agencies: Preferred travel agencies and business memberships continue to facilitate earning opportunities, albeit with a curated list of agencies qualifying for the same.
Book an AA flight on the website
Book an AA flight on the website | Image source Screen website AA

Exclusivity in Basic Economy

Basic Economy fares now come with a caveat; earnings are exclusive to direct bookings with American Airlines and its partners, sidelining third-party agencies unless specific corporate or business arrangements exist.

You can find more details about the changes to points for bookings here.

Benefits of Using Direct Booking

Problem Resolution

Direct engagement with American Airlines and its partners ensures that any issues, be they related to flight changes, cancellations, or customer service inquiries, are addressed promptly and effectively.

Tailored Promotions

Booking directly allows members to receive real-time updates, promotional offers, and tailored deals that are often not available through third-party platforms.

Simplified Access to Member Benefits

Direct bookings are seamlessly integrated with the AAdvantage program, ensuring that members have immediate access to their benefits, such as priority boarding, complimentary upgrades, and same-day standby options. 

Adjustments in Baggage Fees

Bag fees
Bag fees | Image source AA

A noticeable adjustment comes into effect for baggage fees. The nuanced changes, effective from February 20, cater to different flight routes and introduce a tiered fee structure based on the booking and check-in medium.

Overview of the New Baggage Fee Structure

Domestic and International Adjustments

  • Domestic Flights: For tickets purchased on or after February 20, the first checked bag’s fee is set at $35 when purchased online and $40 at the airport. The second checked bag incurs a fee of $45, irrespective of the purchasing medium.
  • Canada and Short-haul International Flights: A similar fee structure applies, with the first and second checked bags costing $35 and $45, respectively, when the transaction is completed online or at the airport.

More details about the changes to bag fees can be found here.

Benefits for AAdvantage Status Members and Premium Cabin Customers

Continuation of Complimentary Baggage Privileges

  • AAdvantage Status Members: The continuation of complimentary baggage for all AAdvantage status members serves as a reaffirmation of the airline’s commitment to rewarding loyalty. This perk significantly enhances the value proposition of attaining and maintaining status within the AAdvantage program.
  • Premium Cabin Passengers and Military Personnel: The exemption of premium cabin passengers and active-duty U.S. military personnel from the adjusted baggage fees ensures that these customer segments continue to enjoy enhanced benefits, reflecting the airline’s recognition of their importance.

Implementation and updating of auxiliary services

Simplified Fee Structure for Oversized and Overweight Bags

The revamped fee structure for oversized and overweight baggage is poised to offer significant savings, with a more lenient approach towards items marginally exceeding standard limits. This restructuring not only simplifies the cost calculation but also enhances the customer experience by reducing the financial burden associated with travel.

Fee change table for oversized and overweight items
Fee change table for oversized and overweight items | Image source News AA

Other Updates

American Airlines promises to continue improving the AAdvantage loyalty program.

What recent improvements:

  • Reduced Cost for Mile Transfers: Now, transferring AAdvantage® miles to another member’s account is significantly cheaper, with costs cut by two-thirds.
  • Miles for Wi-Fi: Later in the year, the option to use miles for Wi-Fi access on selected flights will be introduced.
  • Partner Upgrades: In 2024, members will have the opportunity to use miles for seat upgrades on flights operated by certain partner airlines.
  • Flexibility with Basic Economy Tickets: AAdvantage® members now have the flexibility to cancel non-refundable Basic Economy tickets, receiving a partial Trip Credit for a specified fee.
  • Complimentary Same-day Standby: From March 1, members can standby for an earlier domestic flight without incurring any extra cost.
  • Extended Validity for Trip Credit: Starting March 11, members who cancel travel online will benefit from an additional six months to utilize their Trip Credit compared to non-members.

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