An American Airlines Airbus A321 plane takes off from Los Angeles International airport
American Airlines has also changed its checked-in baggage structure | Photo: AFP Reuters

American Airlines is set to come up with changes that will make it tougher for travellers to collect miles and loyalty points. Passengers travelling with the carrier will not be able to earn miles and loyalty points if they make their reservations with unauthorised travel partners.

American Airlines announced earlier this week that its customers would soon have to make their ticket purchases from selected travel partners, including travel agents or online booking platforms, to earn AAdvantage miles and loyalty points.

The rule will be imposed from May 1, 2024, while American Airlines is expected to reveal its full list of select travel partners in April. However, the popular carrier did give out three booking methods that will be eligible for earning miles and status credits, including:

  • If a passenger books their ticket directly with American Airlines and eligible partner airlines
  • If a passenger travels anywhere as an AAdvantage Business member or as a contracted corporate traveller
  • If a passenger books through accepted travel agencies

This move would mean American Airlines is aiming to limit paying commissions to third-party vendors while forcing its customers to book directly through its website.

A passenger will earn miles and Loyalty Points exclusively if they book basic economy tickets directly with the airline. It has also been reported that this rule won't be applicable for corporate travellers and AAdvantage Business members as they will continue to be eligible to earn points regardless of where they book their flights.

In an interview, Scott Chandler, American's senior vice president of revenue management and loyalty, said that the company wants to "make sure that customers understand what they're getting when they book with their specific agency".

"So it's really for the customer so they understand that there is a better way to find products and understand what they're buying," added Chandler in the interview.

American Airlines' new baggage structure

Meanwhile, American Airlines has also raised its fees for checked-in baggage, with the rule coming into place on Feb. 20.

The new baggage fees for domestic flights are:

  • First checked bag purchased online - $35 (£28)
  • First checked bag purchased at the airport - $40 (£32)
  • Second checked bag purchased online or at the airport - $45 (£36)

The new baggage fees will vary for short-haul international flights, including Canada and Mexico routes:

  • First checked bag purchased online or at the airport - $35 (£28)
  • Second checked bag purchased online or at the airport - $45 (£36)

American Airlines is now offering the most expensive checked-in baggage fees among all major airlines in the US. Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines increased its baggage prices from $30 to $35.