To combat rising fuel costs, American Airlines is increasing the number of miles required to qualify for some reward tickets, and it is charging new fees to redeem its frequent flier rewards.
In an announcement e-mailed recently to program members, the AMR Corp. unit said the mileage increases will take effect Oct. 1 and will affect mostly upgrades and tickets for business and first class seats. Also starting Oct. 1, the airline will charge a $150 fee for upgrades on discount economy tickets between North America and Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, or Venezuela.
The airline also said it would start charging most consumers a $5 fee June 21 for booking reward tickets on its Web site, AA.com. (It charges $20 to book tickets by phone.)
American gives AAdvantage Miles for flying on the airline or doing business with its partners, including Citigroup Inc., which issues its cobranded reward cards.
Marcy Letourneau, a spokeswoman for American, said in an e-mail Friday that increasing mileage requirements was "necessary to ensure equal value for American Airlines and for our customers" and was "just one way to help offset the rising business costs due to fuel and other expenses." American's "most popular" frequent flier reward, a free domestic coach ticket, still requires 25,000 miles.
Ms. Letourneau also said that Citi is "obviously a valued AAdvantage program partner, and AMR recently signed a new, multiyear contract with them."
A Citi spokesman would not discuss the matter.