American Updates Reduced Mileage Awards for Flights 500 Miles or Less

Apr 1, 2016

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As part of its massive March 22 devaluation, American Airlines introduced a new permanent redemption level for flights 500 miles or less, letting AAdvantage members redeem 7,500 miles (rather than the usual 12,500) each way for short-haul options. The problem there is that AA offers monthly Reduced Mileage Awards (RMAs), in which co-branded credit cardholders can get up to 5,000 miles off a flight.

While 2,500-mile one-way flights sound fantastic in theory, American (understandably) wasn’t prepared to let awards go at that rate — so it temporarily suspended RMAs for these 500-mile flights. Now, RMAs are back for short-haul flights, albeit with a unique (and less generous) discount.

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As you can see above, cardholders will receive either a 2,000-mile discount (with cards like the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard) or a 1,000-mile discount on flights that clock in at 500 miles or less. The same fixed discount (rather than a percentage-based adjustment) applies to flights booked in first class, so you won’t see much savings there.

As a reminder, airports will need to be included as part of AA’s monthly Reduced Mileage Awards in order to qualify for the discount, as small as it may be.

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