The American Airlines AAdvantage devaluation is just 4 days away so time is running out to book awards at the current levels. You have up to and including Monday 21 March to lock in awards at current rates and, after that, a lot of the more coveted awards will increase significantly in price.
For reference here are links to the award charts before and after the devaluation:
- AAdvantage Award Chart Pre 22 March 2016 – American Airlines Awards
- AAdvantage Award Chart Pre 22 March 2016 – OneWorld & Partner Awards (link no longer working)
- AAdvantage Award Chart Post 22 March 2016 – American Airlines Awards
- AAdvantage Award Chart Post 22 March 2016 – OneWorld & Partner Awards
Changes To AAdvantage Awards
This topic has been discussed widely and often so I’m not going to go into the finer details of the changes to the award charts. Instead I’m going to focus on some of the bigger changes coming as of 22 March 2016.
AAdvantage Economy Awards
Economy awards haven’t traditionally been the best use of AAdvantage Miles but they have had their moments. One of the better examples of this was the AAdvantage MileSAAver off-peak award between Europe and Hawaii which was available for just 20,000 miles each-way for travel between 15 October and 15 May.
As of 22 March 2016 Off-Peak awards will no longer be available for flights between Europe and Hawaii and, on top of that, the standard one-way award price is rising from 30,000 to 40,000 miles – a 33% increase.
Off-Peak awards will now also no longer be available for travel between Europe and:
- The Caribbean
Off-Peak awards from Europe will now only be available for travel to the 48 contiguous states.
As if that wasn’t enough, the dates for off-peak travel are changing too. From 22 March, Off-Peak Awards will only be available between 1 November & 14 December and between 10 January & 14 March. Compare that to the previous dates of 15 October – 15 May and you’ll see what a big hit this is – Christmas, New Year and Easter all no longer eligible for Off-Peak Awards.
AAdvantage Business Class Awards
Some of the best uses of AAdvantage miles are for travel on airlines other than American. While their Business Class cabins are definitely considerably better than they have been for years, the service is patchy (at best) and there isn’t much about the soft product that feels “premium”…at least not compared to a lot of American’s OneWorld partners.
Awards for flights on American Airlines, on the whole, see some of the smaller rises in miles needed for travel but some of the increases are still very significant:
- USA – Japan: Increase from 50,000 miles to 60,000 miles one-way (20% increase)
- USA – China/Hong Kong: Increase from 55,000 miles to 70,000 miles one-way (27% increase)
- USA – Australia/New Zealand: Increase from 62,500 miles to 80,000 miles one-way (28% increase)
- Europe – Hawaii: Increase from 50,000 miles to 70,000 miles one-way (40% increase)
- Europe – Canada/Alaska/Caribbean/Mexico: Increase from 50,000 miles to 62,500 miles one-way (25% increase)
Awards for flights on Partner Airlines is where some of the real hurt comes in and where we start to see the more coveted awards increasing sharply in price:
- JAL Business Class USA – Japan: Increase from 50,000 miles to 60,000 miles one-way (20% increase)
- Cathay Pacific Business Class USA – Hong Kong: Increase from 55,000 miles to 70,000 miles one-way (27% increase)
- Qantas Business Class USA – Australia: Increase from 62,500 miles to 80,000 miles one-way (28% increase)
- Etihad Business Class Europe – Middle East: Increase from 30,000 miles to 42,500 miles one-way (42% increase)
AAdvantage First Class Awards
I’m not even going to bother going through the changes to First Class awards on American Airlines as they’re really not very interesting or, in my opinion, what you should be spending your hard-earned miles on. Instead here’s a look at some of the more desirable awards you can book with AAdvantage Miles.
- British Airways First Class USA – Europe: Increase from 62,500 miles to 85,000 miles one-way (36% increase)
- Cathay Pacific First Class USA – Hong Kong: Increase from 67,500 miles to 110,000 miles one-way (63% increase)
- Qatar Airways USA – Middle East: Increase from 90,000 miles to 115,000 miles one-way (28% increase)
- Etihad First Class: Europe – Middle East: Increase from 40,000 miles to 62,500 miles one-way (56% increase)
- Qantas First Class Europe – Australia: Increase from 80,000 miles to 115,000 miles one-way (44% increase)
As I posted last week, I’ve been very busy booking all sorts of awards on products and airlines that I haven’t tried in the past and I’m blowing through my stash of AAdvantage Miles like there’s no tomorrow! But I’m still working on a couple of ideas I have that I’m hoping to have booked before D-Day.
We have 4 days (including today) before we see a good number of highly coveted awards increase in price by over 30% (some by over 60%) so make the most of some free time over the weekend to make sure there isn’t anything you need or would like to book before Tuesday.
On Tuesday AAdvantage Miles will be worth quite a lot less than they are today so make sure you put them to good use before then if you possibly can.