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American Airlines Announces Increased Bag Fees and Updates to Mileage Program

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

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Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
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Juan Ruiz

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Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...

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American Airlines just announced changes to how customers will earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points. Unfortunately, the announcement doesn’t have all the details laid out, so it’s unclear if and how these changes will impact you going forward.

Plus, there are some new fees for American Airlines baggage — with some going up and others going down.

Let’s dive into all of these changes.

Changes to Earning Miles and Loyalty Points

American Airlines is continuing to update its AAdvantage loyalty program. The airline already made changes earlier this year, and today, more were announced.

The first big change American Airlines announced is how you’ll earn miles and Loyalty Points going forward. The good news is that if you are used to booking your flights directly through American Airlines, not much will change for you.

However, if you book through online travel agencies (OTAs), you’ll want to pay close attention.

American Airlines Premium Economy
American Airlines Premium Economy. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

Beginning in May, only these types of tickets will earn American Airlines miles and Loyalty Points:

  • Tickets purchased directly through American Airlines (and eligible partners)
  • Tickets booked by AAdvantage Business members or contracted corporate travelers
  • Tickets booked through preferred travel agencies, not including Basic Economy fares

The one crystal clear thing is that Americans want customers to book directly with them rather than through third-party websites.

These changes begin with tickets issued on May 1, 2024, and after, so any reservations you have booked or will book through the end of April won’t be affected.

Here’s where some of the confusion begins — American Airlines isn’t publishing its list of preferred travel agencies until the end of April.

That means we don’t know how extensive that list will be. If it includes popular flight booking websites like Expedia and Orbitz, this change won’t matter to most travelers.

However, if American’s preferred travel agencies don’t include those popular and often-used websites, this change will affect many travelers, encouraging them to book directly rather than via these OTAs.

Hot Tip:

Other ways American Airlines AAdvantage members earn miles and Loyalty Points, including through AAdvantage eShopping, American Airlines Dining, Simply Miles, and American Airlines Vacations, won’t be affected by these changes.

Regardless of what travel agencies end up on American’s preferred list, a significant change will affect travelers who book Basic Economy tickets. Only Basic Economy fares purchased through American Airlines will earn redeemable miles and Loyalty Points. This is disappointing, considering the earning rate on Basic Economy tickets was already slashed down to 2 miles per dollar in early 2023.

The airline wants to present these changes as a benefit for passengers. “We want to make it more convenient for customers to enjoy the value and magic of travel,” said Vasu Raja, American Airlines’ chief commercial officer. “Not only does booking directly with American provide the best possible experience, it’s also where we offer the best fares and it’s most rewarding for our AAdvantage members.”

While it’s true that it often makes the most sense to book airline tickets directly with the airline, it’s never great when additional options are taken away from the consumer.

Bottom Line:

American Airlines is changing how customers earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points. The good news is that nothing is changing for those who book directly through American or for AAdvantage Business members. For those who book through travel agencies, the future is unclear.

Beginning on May 1, 2024, only tickets issued through American Airlines’ preferred travel agencies will earn miles and Loyalty Points. We won’t know what travel agencies are considered “preferred” until late April, so we still don’t know how big of a change this will be.

American Airlines Increased Bag Fees

American Airlines announced another modification that passengers will not be pleased with — increased baggage fees. These new fees will apply for flights booked beginning February 20, 2024.

Here’s what’s changing:

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 First bag (previous cost)First bag (cost for flights booked on or after February 20, 2024)Second bag (previous cost)Second bag (cost for flights booked on or after February 20, 2024)
Domestic flights$30$40 ($35 if purchased online)$40$45
Short-haul international flights$30$35$40$45

Furthermore, if you travel with a furry friend, the charge for bringing your pet inside the cabin has increased from $125 to $150.

Hot Tip:

If you fly American Airlines and check bags even just once or twice a year, it makes sense to get an American Airlines credit card, as most of them come with free checked bags as a benefit. American Airlines elite members are also eligible for complimentary checked baggage.

There’s some good news, however — some fees for overweight and oversized baggage are decreasing. These new fees go into effect on April 17, 2024, regardless of when the ticket was purchased.

SCROLL FOR MORE
 Current priceTravel beginning on April 17, 2024
Overweight bags: over 50 lbs to 70 lbs$100 to $200

Over 50 lbs to 53 lbs: $30        

53 lbs to 70 lbs: $100 to $200 

Oversized bags: over 62 linear inchesOver 62 inches to 126 inches: $200 to $450

Over 62 inches to 65 inches: $30

Over 65 inches to 115 inches: $150 to $200

Items that are both oversized and overweight (over 50 lbs to 70 lbs)$250 to $400$30 to $200
Items that are both oversized and overweight (over 70 lbs to 100 lbs)$350 to $650$200 to $450
Bottom Line:

American Airlines is making changes to baggage fee charges. The fees for first and second checked bags on domestic and short-haul international itineraries are increasing for flights booked beginning February 20, 2024. It’s not all bad news — some overweight and oversized bag fees are decreasing beginning April 17, 2024.

Final Thoughts

American Airlines is making changes to how some tickets earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points. While the good news is that nothing will change for travelers who book directly with American, the future is less certain for those who use online travel agencies.

For tickets booked on or after May 1, 2024, only those booked directly with American, by AAdvantage Business members or contracted corporate travelers, or through preferred travel agencies (excluding Basic Economy) will accrue miles and Loyalty Points. We’ll know more about which travel agencies are included at the end of April, so stay tuned.

Additionally, there will be higher baggage fees for tickets booked on or after February 20, 2024, and some overweight/oversized bag fees will be reduced starting on April 17, 2024.

Katie Seemann's image

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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