AAirpass (AA)

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AAirpass

AAirpass is AA’s fixed-rate, prepaid travel program. In general, the program is only appropriate for those who book last minute and/or premium fares. AAirpass members receive AAdvantage EQP, EQM, and RDM for their flights according to the normal rules.

Accounts

The AAirpass program is available to both individuals and organizations.

Individual AAirpass accounts are currently offered for one or two-year periods. Account periods are based on the enrollment date, not the calendar year. Lifetime accounts have been offered in the past, most recently in 2004. Five-year accounts were also offered prior to 2004. Large corporations may receive substantial discounts ($0.25-0.40/mile) and each employee traveler will receive an individual AAirpass card.

Account pricing is determined by multiplying a Base Mileage Rate by 25,000 miles/year. However, because additional surcharges and taxes are also charged to the account, balances are denominated in USD. Additional blocks of 5,000 miles/year can also be purchased. Historically, the Base Mileage Rate for has ranged from $0.21-0.53/mile.

AAirpass account holders may purchase supplemental miles at any time during the account term, currently at the Base Mileage Rate + $0.02/mile, unless the purchase is over $7,500, in which case there is no surcharge. If an AAirpass account holder exceeds their available balance, miles are charged at an Excess Charges Rate, currently at the Base Mileage Rate + $0.25/mile

N.B.: AAirpass accounts can only be purchased by check or wire transfer, not credit card.

Historical AAirpass Pricing
(as reported on FlyerTalk)
Year Base Mileage Rate Miles per Year Term Total Cost Cost per Year
2013 $0.40 25,000 1-year $10,000 $10,000
2010 $0.40 25,000 1-year $10,000 $10,000
2009 $0.45 25,000 1-year $11,250 $11,250
2008 $0.45 25,000 1-year $11,250 $11,250
2007 $0.38 25,000 3-year $28,500 $9,500
2007 $0.39 25,000 2-year $19,500 $9,750
2007 $0.40 25,000 1-year $10,000 $10,000
2005 $0.40 25,000 1-year $10,000 $10,000
2004 $0.53 25,000 1-year $13,250 $13,250
2004 $0.51 25,000 2-year $25,500 $12,750
2004 $0.51 25,000 5-year $63,750 $12,750
2002 $0.51 25,000 2-year $25,500 $12,750
2000 $0.46 25,000 2-year $23,000 $11,500
2000 $0.50 addl 5,000 (≥5 blocks) 2-year $5,000 $2,500
1991 $0.28 25,000 5-year $35,000 $7,000
1989 $0.21

Perks

AAirpass membership comes with the following perks:

  • First-class checkin
  • No baggage fee for first or second checked bags
  • Priority AAccess security lines
  • Group 1 boarding (now Priority AAccess)
  • Upgrade priority (equivalent to GLD if non-status)
  • Free sticker upgrades for elites (for fares booked into Y)
  • Free YUP upgrades (for fares booked into A, D, I)
  • Admirals Club membership (not all corporate accounts include this rider)
  • Free in-flight drinks
  • Free headsets
  • Dedicated customer service line

Booking

AAirpass reservations can be made online at AA.com. Reservations generally book into full fare buckets (F, J, Y), and there are no cancellation fees or refunds necessary as the holder’s account is not debited until travel is completed. Unfortunately, account debits are subject to complex calculations (below) and are not provided at the time of booking. Thus, confirmation with a phone representative is recommended for itineraries not flown previously.

In March 2004, AAirpass began offering PlanAAhead bookings at a 25% discount off the normal mileage charge. These reservations can be made online and must be made at least 7 days in advance (originally 14 days), require H fare bucket availability, and are subject to $100 date change/no-show/cancellation fees. Changes to dates or destinations must maintain the 7-day advance purchase and available H inventory to retain the PlanAAhead discount.

Mileage Calculations

Although AAirpass Base Mileage Rates are often quoted on FlyerTalk, few recognize that accounts are generally debited based only on the origin-departure (O/D) distance, and not on actual flight miles. There are, however, exceptions to this to avoid bookings of complex, zig-zag routes. The routing must be applicable to a published fare and is subject to maximum permitted miles (MPM) limits. Furthermore, if any segment is longer than the O/D distance, the account will be charged for the longest segment instead. (It has alternatively been reported that at least one segment must be shorter than O/D to qualify for O/D mileage charge.)

AAirpass mileage calculations are also subject to multipliers, which may be greater or less than 100%. Generally, bookings in First or Business Class are charged higher rates while some international bookings are charged lower rates. Short flights (<900 miles) are also charged higher rates.

Domestic Mileage Rates 2010-2013
Mileage Flagship F Domestic F /
Flagship J
Coach PlanAAhead
1-500 315% 216% 180% 135%
501-1000 262% 180% 150% 112%
1001-1500 210% 144% 120% 90%
1501-9999 158% 108% 90% 68%


Domestic Mileage Rates 2009
Mileage Flagship F Domestic F /
Flagship J
Coach PlanAAhead
1-900 n/a 156% 130% 98%
901-1500 n/a 120% 100% 75%
>1501 n/a 90% 75% 56%
3-Class 145% 125% 75% 56%


International Mileage Rates 2010-2013
Zone (N. America – ) First Business Coach PlanAAhead
Europe 250% 200% 100% 75%
Asia 200% 150% 100% 75%
Deep S. America 200% 150% 100% 75%
C. America 120% 150% 100% 75%
Northern Rim 150% 150% 100% 75%


International Mileage Rates 2009
Zone (N. America – ) First Business Coach PlanAAhead
Europe 240% 180% 100% 75%
Asia 190% 100% 85% 64%
Deep S. America 180% 120% 85% 64%
C. America / Northern Rim n/a 150% 100% 75%
India 155% 120% 85% 64%


Taxes and Fees

In 2002, AA began charging security fees for AAirpass reservations, deducted from the holder’s account according to the Base Mileage Rate. Taxes and fuel surcharges were also added in 2003. This is a source of controversy, particularly among Lifetime AAirpass members, as it represents a change from the original terms of the program.

Upgrades

Because most AAirpass Coach reservations book into Y, AAirpass account holders who are also AAdvantage elites qualify for complimentary upgrades and do not have to use stickers. Non-elite account holders are eligible to use stickers. Upgrade priority is still determined according to the standard protocols, except that non-elite account holders are afforded GLD priority.

Further, AAirpass Coach bookings can be made using YUP fares where available, providing instant upgrades at no additional cost.

AAdvantage Credit

AAirpass members receive AAdvantage EQP, EQM, and RDM for their flights and can qualify for elite status according to the normal rules. Since almost all AAirpass travel books into 1.5 EQP/mile fares, status can be attained on EQP rather than EQM.

Companions

AAirpass members may book travel with one companion at a time, although it does not have to be the same companion on each trip. The primary account holder must travel for the companion to be booked using the AAirpass account.

Importantly, AAirpass members receive credit for their companions’ flights, provided that the flights are paid from the AAirpass account using the holder’s AAdvantage number. As a result, one can qualify for EXP after traveling only 33,334 miles with a companion: 33,334 x 1.5 EQP/mi = 50,001 EQP x 2 pax = 100,002 EQP

Lifetime AAirpass

Lifetime accounts were last offered in 2004 and come in two versions. Unlimited versions come at higher cost and allow unlimited mileage per year. Regular versions come at a lower cost with a fixed amount of mileage available per year (25,000 miles + blocks of 5,000 additional miles); unused miles can be rolled over to subsequent years.

According to some reports on FlyerTalk, early versions of Lifetime AAirpass may have also included lifetime Admirals Club membership for a companion and may have been eligible for travel in any class without surcharges.

Historical Lifetime AAirpass Pricing
(as reported on FlyerTalk)
Year Type Total Cost
2004 Unlimited $3,000,000
1994 Unlimited $1,000,000
1994 25,000 miles/year $85,000
1994 addl 30,000 miles/year $60,000
1991 Unlimited $380,000 (age 40)
1991 25,000 miles/year $85,000
1989 Unlimited $650,000
1987 25,000 miles/year $85,000
1981 Unlimited $250,000

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