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:
|Main Cabin||Business / First||First|
|Contiguous 48 U.S. states||–||12,500||25,000||32,500|
|Canada and Alaska||–||12,500||25,000||32,500|
|South America Region 1||–||17,500||30,000||40,000|
|South America Region 2||20,000||30,000||50,000||62,500|
|Middle East / Indian Subcontinent*||–||45,000||67,500||90,000|
|Asia Region 1^||25,000||32,500||50,000||62,500|
|Asia Region 2^||–||35,000||55,000||67,500|
And here is the NEW AAdvantage award chart as of March 22, 2016, from the U.S., flying oneworld or AAdvantage partners:
|Main Cabin||Business / First||First|
|Contiguous 48 U.S. states+||–||12,500||25,000||50,000|
|Canada & Alaska+||–||15,000||30,000||55,000|
|South America Region 1+||–||20,000||30,000||55,000|
|South America Region 2||–||30,000||57,500||85,000|
|Middle East / Indian Subcontinent*||–||40,000||70,000||115,000|
|Asia Region 1^||–||35,000||60,000||80,000|
|Asia Region 2^||–||37,500||70,000||110,000|
Business / First
|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|
|South America Region 1*||–||30,000||65,000||90,000|
|South America Region 2||–||57,500||110,000||150,000|
|Asia Region 1||–||60,000||120,000||155,000|
|Asia Region 2||–||70,000||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?
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