They have a joint venture (or joint business), which means that they coordinate fares, scheduling and frequent flyer benefits on each other’s flights on routes between Australia/New Zealand and the US.
Recently, the US Department of Transportation approved the expansion of their joint venture—and Qantas Frequent Flyers will see improved benefits.
All changes came into effect on 1 October 2019.
American Airlines will also launch new services from Auckland to Dallas-Fort Worth, and for those on the ‘mainland’, seasonal flights between Christchurch and Los Angeles.
What do I think of American Airlines?
I rank American Airlines smack-bang in the middle of the 11 US domestic airlines, so they’re neither fantastic nor terrible (well, sometimes they can be).
How many Qantas Points will I earn on American Airlines flights?
American Airlines will soon offer three routes between New Zealand the United States:
- Auckland to Los Angeles (existing)
- Daily from now until 31 March 2020
- Daily starting October 7, 2020, through March 25, 2021
- Auckland to Dallas-Fort Worth (new)
- 3x weekly through November 29, 2020
- Daily starting December 1, 2020
- Christchurch to Los Angeles (new)
- 3x weekly from October 27, 2020, through March 26, 2021
Each of these flights will be available on AA flight codes, or QF codeshare.
Let’s look at the cheapest (Discount Economy) fares flying American Airlines to the US one-way. Points earn will more than double from 1,875 to 4,000 points. These points are worth $84, according to our valuation of Qantas Points at 2.1c each.
Those flying in Business Class will see their earn rate jump a much smaller 28%, from 9,400 to 12,000 points.
On domestic US flights
There are no changes to points earn rates on domestic flights within the US. However, SCs are doubling in most cases—and that’s explained below.
How many Qantas Status Credits will I earn on American Airlines flights?
Status Credits earn rates are simply returning to the levels seen before Qantas cut them in half in 2017. This was in response to the Department of Transportation rejecting the expansion of the joint venture at that time.
However this mainly affected flights from Australia, with SC earn on direct flights from New Zealand remaining similar to that earned if you were on Qantas metal.
On NZ-US flights
The only change to SC earn on flights from New Zealand will be on a one-way Economy ticket, which is boosted to 55 SCs (previously 40).
On domestic US flights
SCs earn rates for flights within the US are doubling in most cases.
For example, on a Discount Economy ticket from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, you’ll now earn 10 rather than 5 SCs.
On a Business Class flight from San Francisco to New York, you’ll earn 100 SCs instead of 50.
How do earn rates on American Airlines compare to flying on Qantas?
Qantas Frequent Flyers will now earn as many points when they travel to the US with American Airlines as they do when they travel with Qantas.
Which new American Airlines routes have become Qantas codeshares?
50 more American Airlines routes from Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago will now carry a QF flight number.
Passengers trying out Qantas’ new Brisbane – Chicago service from April 2020 will be able to connect onto a QF-codeshare American Airlines-operated flight to airports like Boston, Miami and New York.
Helpfully all flights from New Zealand to the US on American Airlines are offered with a QF codeshare already, which means no backtracking via Australia.
The biggest news here is the impressive addition of two new American Airlines routes to New Zealand.
This should see increased competition and cheaper flight pricing for all across the summer months when these routes operate. It also means that those in Christchurch no longer have to fly via Auckland, and are now only one-stop from most cities in the US.
We should also see more award availability, and less of a need to backtrack via Australia when using points.
Status Credits earn rates are increasing on most American Airlines flights, though with little benefit to us in New Zealand where they did not drop for most fare types post-rejection of the joint venture’s expansion in 2017.
You’ll now earn significantly more Qantas Points on American Airlines’ services from New Zealand to the US, especially in Economy Class. That’s a win.
However, there are no changes to points earn rates on domestic US flights. Given that, if I were someone who wasn’t worried about earning Status Credits, I’d aim to fly Alaska Airlines instead of American Airlines.
You can check the Qantas Points and Status Credits earn rates for your upcoming American Airlines flight on this page.