American Airlines Will Give Extra Bonus Miles To Frequent Fliers Buying Its Priciest Fares In 2015

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If you’re a first- or business-class traveler who’s willing to shell out the big buck on the priciest fares in the sky, American Airlines says it’s got just the right new bonus mileage program for you. The airline announced today that it’ll be rewarding those travelers with extra mileage that works out to as much as 24,000 more miles per round trip.

The bonus miles are part of a yearlong AAdvantage Loyalty Program and Dividend Miles promotion that starts Jan. 1, 2015 and applies to all travel through Dec. 31, 2015, the company says in a press release.

The extra miles will only be added on to passengers who fly either business- or first-class, and will be based on both the distance flown as well as which fare was purchased and the member’s elite status level. It depends on the length of the flight:

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The Wall Street Journal points out that this will make American more competitive with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, both of which will start to award miles based on the dollar cost of the ticket rather then the distance traveled, as most airlines have done up until now.

Whether you’re flying domestically or a longer flight can make a difference in which method will reap more rewards for travelers.

For example — an American Airlines top-tier customer who pays $6,000 to fly business-class from New York to London would get 66,000 miles for the trip on either Delta or United, as each rewards 11 frequent flier miles per mile flown.

On American, that top-tier customer walks away with 41,260 miles under the 2015 program — after adding in those additional 24,000 miles for the round trip, which isn’t quite as good but it’s not bad, either.

But on a shorter trip, American’s payout is better: The WSJ makes the case of a New York to Los Angeles trip that would garner 36,306 miles for an American customer in the top tier in 2015, while Delta would pay out just 28,600 for a $2,600 business class ticket on that route.

American previously said it wouldn’t switch to a fare-based frequent flier program until after its merger with USAirways is all said and done.

American Bolsters Frequent-Flier Bonuses [Wall Street Journal]