REMINDER: Reevaluate Your AAdvantage Account Before March 22, 2016.
American Airlines announced specific devaluations of their AAdvantage program that go into effect on March 22nd. The changes include substantial increases in the number of miles required to redeem business and first class travel to Asia and Australia. For example, a partner award on CX (Cathay Pacific) from the USA to Hong Kong in international first class that is currently 67,500 AAdvantage Miles + taxes/fees will increase to 110,000 AAdvantage Miles + taxes/fees. As we all know, finding flight availability can often be a challenge especially for more than one person traveling on the same itinerary. Unfortunately, we now have to contend with “tricky” availability and a much higher number of miles necessary for award redemption. Combine that with future changes in the earning of redeemable miles and one can easily see that the once very valuable AAdvantage miles are quickly becoming worth less and less.
1. The Award Chart PRE-DEVALUATION: on or before 21 March 2016
2. The Award Charts AFTER-DEVALUATION: on or after 22 March 2016
You can find more details on this round of devaluations at View From the Wing.
If you are certain that you can use a reward ticket within 365 days of booking, now is the time to research travel dates for 2016 into the beginning of 2017. Now that the merger with US Airways is complete, American is curtailing some of the underpriced frequent flyer awards they offered, especially their premium class partner awards. Off-peak coach awards to Europe are also decreasing in value.
There are some value enhancements that will go into effect on March 22, including new short hop awards and economy flights to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. But, with the vague, “second half of 2016” timetable for American to go from a distanced based to revenue based earning program, you should assess whether or not you should book with cash or miles and whether you should book before or after March 22.
Planning your 2016 American Airlines travel now could significantly increase the value of your account before further devaluations.
Are you planning any redemptions prior to the 22nd of March?
Photo credit: American Airlines