Inventory Classes and Mileage Eligibility (AA)

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Inventory Classes and Mileage Eligibility

Why should I care about inventory classes?

This is one of the most important things to learn when flying with AA and partner airlines. Your inventory class (also called booking class, booking code, or fare bucket) is a single letter which determines:

  • How many elite qualifying miles (EQM) you may accrue.
  • How many elite qualifying points (EQP) you may accrue.
  • How many redeemable miles (RDM) you may accrue.

What are the most common pitfalls?

Before you purchase your ticket on an AA flight, make sure that you verify the tables at AA.com to ensure that the ticket you plan to buy earns miles/points and is eligible for upgrades.

Effective for travel as of October 15, 2008, the only fare that does not earn mileage credit are O class fares between North America and Latin America (including Central and South America). Previously excluded Q fares and O fares on other routes now earn full mileage credit.

Effective October 6, 2009, all published, purchased, fares are eligible for Mileage and Systemwide Upgrade Awards (including previously excluded I, O, and Q overseas fares).

Be especially careful when traveling with partner airlines when looking for EQM/EQP partner credit as they tend to be even more restrictive.

AA often uses arbitrary and inconsistent definitions of geographic regions for the purposes of determining mileage and upgrade eligibility. When in doubt, see the AA.com Airline Route page to verify the region of your destination.

Summary of Inventory Classes

Below is a list of the inventory classes on American Airlines and what they mean:

AA Inventory Class Summary
# Description Wait
List
Upgrade
OK
EQP EQM RDM
First Class (1.5 EQP + 50% RDM)
F Full fare. Yes N/A 1.5 1.0 100%+50%
A Discounted fare. YUP- fares, RTW fares, SWU and Award Upgrades. Yes N/A 1.5 1.0 100%+50%
P 3rd tier fare. KUP- fares (formerly YUPP). Yes N/A 1.5 1.0 100%+50%
X EXP and 500-mile Upgrades from Economy to First on 2-class domestic U.S. flights. Upgrades from Business to First on 3-class international flights using certain travel agency certificates. Operational Upgrades. Yes (int'l) N/A
Z Award Ticket, industry fare. No N/A 0 0 0%
Business Class (1.5 EQP + 25% RDM)
J Full fare. Yes Yes* 1.50 1.0 100%+25%
D Discounted and RTW fares. Y26nCUP-fares. Yes Yes* 1.50 1.0 100%+25%
I 3rd tier fare. YnCUP-fares. Lots of conditions, but upgradeable as of October 6, 2009. No Yes* 1.50 1.0 100%+25%
R
Transatlantic: Discount fare
Other: EXP, 500-mile, and some Passenger Sales ('kiosk') Upgrades from Economy to Business on 3-class transcons and 2-class short-haul international flights (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America). Operational Upgrades.
Yes (int'l) N/A
C SWU, Award, and some Passenger Sales ('kiosk') Upgrades from Economy to Business. Upgrades from Economy to Business on international flights using certain travel agency certificates. Yes N/A
U Award Ticket, industry fare. No N/A 0 0 0%
Economy Class (Full Coach - 1.5 EQP)
Y Full fare. Government fare Yes Yes 1.5 1.0 100%
B Discounted fare. No Yes 1.5 1.0 100%
Economy Class (Discount Coach - 1.0 EQP)
H 3rd tier fare. Yes (int'l) Yes 1.0 1.0 100%
K 4th tier fare. Military fares. No Yes 1.0 1.0 100%
M 5th tier fare. Visit Another Country fares (any carrier), Military fares. No Yes 1.0 1.0 100%
L 6th tier fare. RTW fares. No Yes 1.0 1.0 100%
W 7th tier fare. No Yes 1.0 1.0 100%
V 8th tier fare. Bereavement fares (?), Transatlantic consolidator 1st tier. No Yes 1.0 1.0 100%
Economy Class (Deep-Discount Coach - 0.5 EQP)
G 9th tier fare. Government fares. No Yes 0.5 1.0 100%
S 10th tier fare. Transatlantic consolidator 2nd tier and package tours fares. No Yes 0.5 1.0 100%
N 11th tier fare. Visit Another Country fares (alliance); Government and Military fares. No Yes 0.5 1.0 100%
Q 12th tier fare. Web specials. Consolidator fare typically issued in Europe.
  • 'North American' EXP and 500-mile Upgrades are OK.
  • As of October 6, 2009, eligible for Mileage and Systemwide Upgrade Awards.
  • As of October 15, 2008, ALL flights earn EQP, EQM, and RDM credit.
No Yes 0.5 1.0 100%
O 13th tier fare. Consolidator/Industry fares?
  • 'North American' EXP and 500-mile Upgrades are OK.
  • As of October 6, 2009, eligible for Mileage and Systemwide Upgrade Awards.
  • As of May 1, 2012, ALL flights earn EQP, EQM, and RDM credit.
No Yes 0.5 1.0 100%
T Award Ticket. No N/A 0 0 0%
Economy Class (Employee - 0 EQP)
E Employee. On A12 (or A9, family emergency). Also used to indicate seats available for Confirmed Flight Change within 12 hours of the flight (but passengers are rebooked in their existing inventory class). Yes Yes 0 0 0%
Notes:
* Business class fares are not eligible for 500-mile (sticker) or EXP upgrades to First on domestic 3-class routes. However, all published Business class fares are now eligible for Award (miles + copay) and Systemwide (eVIP) upgrades to First on all 3-class routes, including I fares.
† For upgrades, the EQM, EQP and RDM credit is based on the original fare purchased.
  • The rankings of the economy buckets are approximate, are based on domestic transcons, and can vary by market and at times season.
  • Warning: AA.com seems to indicate that fares for overall tickets, as opposed to individual segments, are used to determine earning eligibility for the entire itinerary. However, a FTer has reported that the domestic segments on a (previously ineligible) international O fare ticket do earn miles.
  • P class was used instead of F for first class full fare on domestic 3-class service until Sep 28, 2005.

Addenda to fare classes mentioned in the table you might see:

  • P - Discounted First Class tickets (YUP fares) booked in 'P' class have fare basis codes beginning with KUP or K26UP. Sample fare basis codes are KUPPMZ or KUPPMZN. These will earn 150% RDM (100% miles and 50% bonus miles) and 1.5 EQP per mile. (Though these fares begin with "K", they are P class fares; K coach fares only earn 100% miles.)
  • 7 - Upgrade from Deep Discount Coach to First (on two-class aircraft) or Business (on tri-class aircraft) earns Coach Class miles)
  • 8 - Upgrade from Business to First Class; earns Business Class miles~
  • 9 - Upgrade from Discount Coach to First (on two-class aircraft) or Business (on tri-class aircraft); earns Coach Class miles

Through irregular operations or sheer luck, flyers may get:

  • The elusive "double upgrade".
  • Mileage credit that they don't deserve.
  • An upgrade on an award ticket or from an ineligible booking class.

If any of the above happen, consider yourself lucky; they are exceptions to the rule, not a new rule.

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