Points, miles, and snide remarks.


AA: Book With a Third-Party? No Points for You!

American Airlines has announced some changes to its AAdvantage program that will affect how you earn miles and Loyalty Points on flights, depending on where you book.

Starting with tickets issued on May 1, 2024, you will only earn miles and Loyalty Points on flights when you:

  • 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.

This means that if you book through a third-party site like Expedia, Orbitz, or Priceline, you will not earn any miles or Loyalty Points on your flights. American says this is to “provide the best possible experience” and “reward our AAdvantage members”7. I say this is to discourage customers from shopping around for the best deals and to push them to book directly with American, where they can charge higher fares and fees.

Basic Economy fare tickets will only earn when booked directly with American and eligible partner airlines – the key distinction here from “normal” economy being that it seems even bookings made with an accredited corporate travel agency won’t earn miles or LPs.

Of course, for most of us, booking direct is the way to go anyway, unless you are forced to use a corporate travel agency. It’s so much easier in the event of irregular operations (IRROPS) to just work directly with the airline to fix things, rather than trying to work through a third-party. Which would you rather do… wait on hold for 6 hours to speak to a third party who may or may not be familiar with airline policies? Or stop by a ticketing/customer service desk (or even the Admirals Club)?

Until now, however, there hasn’t been any real penalty to booking flights with an OTA (so long as nothing goes wrong). Hotels have been a different story for a long time. None of the “majors” will typically grant any points or elite credit/recognition on a third-party booking, unless that third party is an accredited corporate travel agency. Back in 2018, Hyatt Place even experimented with restricting its complimentary breakfast only to World of Hyatt members who booked direct (though that’s hardly a loss given the breakfast quality at your typical neighborhood Hyatt Place). Hyatt suspended this policy during the pandemic, and there’s currently no reason to think it’ll be reinstated anytime soon; the mediocre breakfast product just isn’t worth the manpower to protect, I guess!

The message from AA is clear: book direct, or else. The major airlines tend to move in lockstep with each other, so time will tell if this is just an AA thing, or an industry-wide shift. What do you think of these changes? Will they affect how you book your flights with American?

3 thoughts on “AA: Book With a Third-Party? No Points for You!

  • Just to clarify, this is for tickets ISSUED on or after 5/1/24? What if I used Citi TY points to book an AA flight today (3/5/24)? Citi TY’s travel portal uses Priceline for their tickets. Will I get LP for the current status year this way? Thanks in advance!

    • Adam K01

      Yep, for tickets issues after.

    • Thanks! Love the site, your articles are always so much more clear and in depth than other sites!


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