Business lessons for 2016: Take a best-in-class product … and make it just as lousy as your competitors’.
That, apparently, is the logic behind the sudden devaluation of partner points at American Airlines, which startled members of its loyalty program with news that it would soon be heavily discounting points earned on “partner” flights almost immediately (as in: two weeks from now). Even if you've already bought your ticket.
Members of American’s loyalty program, called AAdvantage, will now earn many, many fewer miles on American’s partners, like Cathay Pacific or British Airways. Of course, the times being what they are, if you’re flying biz or first class, you’re good — and in some cases, may earn more points.
For the hoi polloi in economy, though, the situation is less advantageous. Say you booked an August trip to AirBerlin — cheap flights to Germany! Yay! You’ll now go from earning 100% of the miles … to 25%. In total? The Points Guy found 180 fare classes “negatively impacted” by the change.
The upshot: Airline “loyalty” is a fickle thing.