New Baggage Fees and Traveler Loyalty Program: American Airlines Announces

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American Airlines has announced certain modifications regarding baggage shipping fees and the accumulation of benefits according to the ticket purchase procedure, whether directly with the airline or not.

New Baggage Fee Structure

The new changes have already begun to be implemented since last Tuesday, February 20 of this year, and include specifics for customers who wish to earn points in their AAdvantage loyalty program – which will depend on where they book their trip – will be applicable starting May 1.

The official website has communicated that this update is adjustable to changes in maximum luggage weight and price rates, specifying that they are non-refundable and apply per person and per journey at each check-in location, even if you purchase or obtain an upgrade including free checked baggage.

The new updates establish an increased charge for the first piece of checked luggage of 40 USD and 35 USD if paid online, for travel within/between the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the charge for the second piece of checked luggage is 45 USD.

For travel to/from Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and Guyana, an increased charge for the first piece of checked luggage of about 35 USD is established, and a charge for the second piece of checked luggage is set at 45 USD.

Benefits for Elite and Premium Class Customers

Customers who have elite status in American’s loyalty program and who purchase premium class tickets or use an American-branded credit card will have the benefit of sending a suitcase at no cost.

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AAdvantage Program Updates

As of ticket issuance on May 1, 2024, the only trips that earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points are those booked directly with American Airlines, as well as oneworld airlines and other valid associated airlines and “preferred” travel agencies.

Trips booked through “non-preferred” travel agencies will not earn miles or Loyalty Points unless they have registration in AAdvantage Business or are part of a corporate agreement contracted with American.

To obtain the benefits, “valid trips” are considered those that are booked directly with the airline or with associated agencies through websites, apps, reservation teams, and airport and ticket sales offices, as well as flights booked as part of an American Airlines Vacations package.

Preferred Agency Program

All agencies with an incentive agreement contracted for 2024 issued by the airline are eligible to qualify in the preferred agency program at the exclusive discretion of American, enabling travelers who make reservations through the agency to continue earning AAdvantage miles and loyalty points.

Agencies that qualify in preference are evaluated according to certain criteria focused on the use of Modern Retailing technology to provide a better customer experience in their reservation and ticket management process.

Background and Impact

The modifications applied by American Airlines respond to new strategies for travel management aimed at improving practices. The increase in price rates comes as the airline notes that no cost elevation changes had been applied since 2018, and the first baggage charges were in response to the increase in fuel in the year 2008.

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From that date to the present, the procedure has become a constant and effective source of revenue, as American led the sector in the year 2022 by charging 1.4 billion dollars in baggage fees according to statistics offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Haymé Santoya Rodríguez

Licenciada en Historia del Arte por la Universidad de Oriente. Investigadora en Casa de la Nacionalidad Cubana. Se especializa en estudios sobre artes visuales y cine cubano. Ha realizado trabajos de curaduría de arte así como conferencias, presentaciones de libros, conversatorios y disertaciones sobre su especialización. Se ha vinculado al periodismo digital desde el 2018.