American AAdvantage 2016 Award Chart Devaluation
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Hilary Stockton
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American AAdvantage Award Chart Devaluation


An American AAdvantage award chart devaluation goes into effect March 22, 2016. I'd predicted an AAdvantage award chart devaluation late 2015 or early 2016, which is why we redeemed about 350,000 AAdvantage miles last year and ~250,000 AAdvantage miles this year (see Redeeming 800K Miles and Points: Why We Don't Save Our Miles) for awards in Qantas First Class on the A380, Etihad First Apartment on the A380 and Air Tahiti Business Class.

Those of you sitting on several hundred thousand AAdvantage miles may want to start redeeming them, before the award chart devaluation goes into effect, as it's not pretty. 

Update: Also see American Airlines AAdvantage Revenue Based Earning: Winners, Losers and FAQ for more on AAdvantage revenue based earning that goes into effect August 1, 2016

Here are the biggest devaluations, for U.S. based flyers:

1. First Class to Canada / Alaska: 32,500 to 55,000 AAdvantage Miles (69% Increase)

This means that even with the New British Airways Avios Devaluation, the AAdvantage award chart devaluation will make it more expensive to book Cathay Pacific First Class between NYC JFK and Vancouver YVR--55K AAdvantage miles vs. 50K British Airways Avios.

 

2. First Class to Asia Region 2: 67,500 to 110,000 (63% Increase)

It helps to know the regions; basically, all of Asia except for Japan, Korea and Mongolia falls into Asia Region 2. That means Cathay Pacific First Class to Hong Kong, or Cathay awards that connect from Hong Kong onward to China. So on a roundtrip award to Asia, you're looking at paying 85,000 more AAdvantage miles per person for Cathay First Class.

 

3. First Class to Australia and South Pacific: 72,500 to 110,000 AAdvantage Miles (52% Increase)

It's incredibly rare to be able to book Qantas First Class nonstop between the U.S. and Australia, so this award increase will affect very few travelers, but it is a huge increase worth pointing out nonetheless. If you were able to find award availability in both directions, this first class roundtrip would cost you 75,000 more AAdvantage miles.


4. First Class to Japan: 62,500 to 80,000 AAdvantage Miles (28% Increase)

We really enjoyed flying JAL First Class on the 777-300ER, so it's sad to see this award increase by 17,500 miles each way = 35,000 more AAdvantage miles roundtrip per person.

 

Note that I've ignored the 54% increase for partner first class within the U.S., since due to cabotage laws you can't fly foreign carriers from one U.S. destination to another solely for that flight. For example, Qantas' flight between LAX to NYC is only for passengers who are connecting to or from a flight to Australia.

Here's the current AAdvantage award chart for travel on oneworld and other AAdvantage partners:

To:Main Cabin
Off Peak
Main CabinBusiness / FirstFirst
Contiguous 48 U.S. states 12,500 25,000 32,500
Canada and Alaska 12,500 25,000 32,500
Hawaii 17,500 22,500 37,500 47,500
Caribbean 17,500 30,000 40,000
Mexico 17,500 30,000 40,000
Central America 17,500 30,000 40,000
South America Region 1 17,500 30,000 40,000
South America Region 2 20,000 30,000 50,000 62,500
Europe* 20,000 30,000 50,000 62,500
Middle East / Indian Subcontinent* 45,000 67,500 90,000
Africa* 37,500 75,000 100,000
Asia Region 1^ 25,000 32,500 50,000 62,500
Asia Region 2^ 35,000 55,000 67,500
South Pacific^ 37,500 62,500 72,500

 

And here is the NEW AAdvantage award chart as of March 22, 2016, from the U.S., flying oneworld or AAdvantage partners:

To:Main Cabin
Off Peak
Main CabinBusiness / FirstFirst
Contiguous 48 U.S. states+ 12,500 25,000 50,000
Canada & Alaska+ 15,000 30,000 55,000
Hawaii+ 22,500 40,000 65,000
Caribbean+ 17,500 27,500 52,500
Mexico+ 17,500 27,500 52,500
Central America+ 17,500 27,500 52,500
South America Region 1+ 20,000 30,000 55,000
South America Region 2 30,000 57,500 85,000
Europe* 22,500 30,000 57,500 85,000
Middle East / Indian Subcontinent* 40,000 70,000 115,000
Africa* 40,000 75,000 120,000
Asia Region 1^ 35,000 60,000 80,000
Asia Region 2^ 37,500 70,000 110,000
South Pacific^ 40,000 80,000 110,000
 
 
Separate Award Chart for American Airlines Awards
 
Taking a page from United's Award Chart Devaluation, AAdvantage awards on American Airlines flights will be cheaper than the above partner awards, because let's be honest--who really wants to fly American Airlines First Class, if they could fly in a Etihad First Class Apartment on the A380, Cathay Pacific First Class or JAL First Class instead?
 
NEW AAdvantage award chart as of March 22, 2016, from the U.S., flying American Airlines (NOT Partners)
 

Business / First

To:MileSAAver
Off Peak
MileSAAverAAnytime
Level 1
AAnytime
Level 2
Contiguous 48 U.S. states* 25,000 45,000 55,000
Contiguous 48 U.S. states & Canada (≤ 500 miles)^ 15,000 45,000 55,000
Canada & Alaska* 30,000 50,000 65,000
Hawaii* 40,000 67,500 90,000
Caribbean* 25,000 50,000 60,000
Mexico* 25,000 50,000 60,000
Central America* 25,000 50,000 60,000
South America Region 1* 30,000 65,000 90,000
South America Region 2 57,500 110,000 150,000
Europe 57,500 110,000 135,000
Asia Region 1 60,000 120,000 155,000
Asia Region 2 70,000 140,000 175,000
South Pacific 80,000 140,000 175,000
 
 
 

Some Region Changes

There are also some region definition changes, including Sri Lanka moving from Asia 2 to the Middle East/India, a slightly more expensive region for first class awards:

  • Sri Lanka and Bhutan move from Asia 2 to the Middle East/India
  • Guam moves from Asia 2 to South Pacific
  • Venezuela moves from South America Region 1 to South America Region 2
  • Bolivia and Manaus in Brazil move from South America Region 2 to South America Region 1


Is There Any Good News?

As a consolation prize, AAdvantage is introducing MileSAAver awards as low as 7500 miles each way, though I'm not exactly hurrying to fly American Airlines again (see American Airlines: "Preferred" Seat Doesn't Work But No Refund of Fee).

Which AAdvantage awards do you hope to book before the March 22, 2016 AAdvantage award chart devaluation?

Related Posts

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment Award Availability

Cathay Pacific First Class Awards: Earn Asia Miles or AAdvantage Miles?

60K Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select (Targeted)

50K CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Offer Returns

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Comments
Picture?type=large Doug B. commented 17 Nov 2015
Now that all three major domestic carriers have gone to a revue based award system, where would you recommend crediting your miles to on future flights?
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 17 Nov 2015
I can't speak for everyone, but personally I would credit AA flights to Alaska. I credit any paid Star Alliance flights to Singapore KrisFlyer. I don't fly Delta or Skyteam, but if I did, I'd credit to Alaska. I do have a few clients that still credit to Delta since they're near a Delta hub.
Picture?type=large Anthony K. commented 17 Nov 2015
If you book trips to say Europe/Asia before the 3/22/16 change takes effect, do you get the old mileage rates or will it automatically require the higher mileage amounts? Thanks
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 17 Nov 2015
You can book awards through March 21, 2016 at the current mileage rates, but note that if you make any changes to the awards starting 3/22/16 the award would be repriced at the higher award chart rates.
Picture?type=large Asif S. commented 22 Nov 2015
Hilary, I was just checking AA award availability past March 22, 2016 and realized that AA has extremely few MileSaver awards anywhere. I would ask members to drop their CITI AA credit cards in large numbers. I am very frustrated knowing AA unilaterally devalues by >50% award travel. Bad enough that the devaluation takes place then AA reduces or almost eliminates any Mile Saver awards.
Picture?type=large Cheryl H. commented 24 Mar 2016
We are looking to fly to Australia in 2017 from Charlotte, NC. Any credit cards we should get now in order to use the miles for two free flights, preferably at least "business class" since it's a long trip? We cruise Royal Caribbean and use their credit card for on-board credit but don't have an airlines card anymore. Had a United for years but never got anything...
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 24 Mar 2016
Some of the best availability will be via Asia. Even after the AAdvantage award chart devaluation and accounting for using two awards (U.S. to Asia and Asia to Australia) you could fly business class on JAL via Tokyo for 100K AA miles each way, so 200K roundtrip and 400K miles for two. If you don't already have a stockpile of AA miles you'll likely need to supplement Citi AA cards (see the Best Travel Rewards Cards page at http://travelsort.com/blog/best-travel-credit-cards-for-sign-up-bonuses-and-everyday-spend) with buying AA miles, ideally when there's another buy miles bonus offer.
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