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The American Airlines AAdvantage program is emailing members to let them know that it will be ending its partnership with three significant hotel chains from later this year and, although members are being given 2 months’ notice of the changes, some will still find this a disappointing move by the airline.
As of 1 April 2020 American Airlines will no longer partner with Hilton, Best Western or Choice hotels and this means that members of the AAdvantage program will not be able to earn miles on their stays or convert points issued by the three hotel chains to AAdvantage miles.
As things stand, AAdvantage members will continue to be able to earn miles for stays made with Marriott and IHG and the program’s new partnership with Hyatt is still going strong, but 31 March 2020 will be the last day on which Hilton, Best Western, and Choice will be AAdvantage partners.
Any time a loyalty program cuts ties with one or more of its partners is bad news for that program’s members and this is no different.
I suspect that the loss of Hilton as an AAdvantage partner won’t be too big of a hit as most people will almost certainly be crediting their Hilton stays to the Honors program (and getting a lot more value that way), but the loss of Choice Hotels and Best Western is disappointing.
While Choice Hotels and Best Western both have their own rewards programs neither is particularly lucrative so a significant number of miles & points fans don’t go out of their way to stay with these chains. Instead, they choose to favor the bigger hoteliers like Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and Hyatt where the points earned can be put to more impressive use and where stays can earn elite status which offers greater rewards…but that doesn’t mean that they won’t ever stay with Choice or Best Western.
Sometimes choosing to stay at a Choice or Best Western property makes more sense than choosing to stay at one of the bigger chains and on occasions like that it’s nice to have the option to earn a currency other than the one the hotelier is offering – why earn a small number of points in a hotel program you rarely get the chance to use if you can earn miles or points in a bigger program that you use on a frequent basis?
I, for example, have chosen to earn AAdvantage miles for numerous one-night Best Western stays over the years as a small number of AAdvantage miles is of more use to me than infrequent small credits to Best Western rewards…but now that option is about to disappear.
Yes, stays at Best Western and Choice will still earn credit in other airline programs (e.g Choice stays can be credited to United’s MileagePlus) but that’s not going to be of much use if you’re a staunch American Airlines loyalist.
I don’t know why the AAdvantage program’s associations with Hilton, Choice and Best Western are being cut (perhaps the contracts with these three hoteliers were up for renewal and negotiations went badly) but the loss of these programs as AAdvantage partners is disappointing – it will be interesting to see how long the other hoteliers (other than Hyatt) remain AAdvantage partners.