I’ve been predicting it for months…years actually…and the time has finally come: AA announced a huge devaluation of its AAdvantage award chart today. The only question has been how bad it would be and for those who like premium cabin redemptions the answer is simple: the changes are absolutely brutal, matching similar changes United and Delta have already made.
AA Award Chart Devaluation Applies to Bookings Made On or After 22 March 2016
The bright spot, if there is one, is that the changes do not take effect immediately. We’ve been given a lead time of over four months so you do have time to plan and burn your miles. The new chart goes into effect on March 22, 2016.
New AA Award Chart for North America (Lower 48) Departures
Here’s the new award chart for domestic and worldwide departures from North America:
Click through the link above for other regions.
AA First Class Redemptions Will Dramatically Increase in Price
Discerning travelers who appreciate coaxing the greatest value from their miles know that first class redemptions are the way to go — luxury for less. Currently AA charges much less for first class redemptions than its main competitor United — in some cases nearly 50% less. That all changes as AA will virtually match United starting in March.
After the changes, I am not sure whether spending the extra for first class will still be worthwhile – you tell me:
- First class between the US and Asia 1 increases from 62,500 miles to 80,000 miles one-way (17,500 mile increase)
- First class between the US and Asia 2 increases from 67,500 miles to 110,000 miles one-way (42,500 mile increase)
- First class between the US and Europe increases from 62,500 miles to 85,000 miles one-way (22,500 mile increase)
- First class between the US and Middle East increases from 90,000 miles to 115,000 miles one-way (25,000 mile increase)
- First class between the US and South Pacific increases from 72,500 miles to 110,000 miles one-way (37,500 mile increase)
Other Key Takeaways of AA Devaluation on Redemption Side
- It is not just departures from the United States that take a hit, but first class redemptions worldwide
- Europe to Middle East rises from 40K to 65K one-way
- Middle East to Australia rises from 60K to 100K one-way
- Economy and Business see more modest changes
- No region changes or changes to routing rules
The changes are brutal — I am not exagerrating — but they are expected. You have plenty of time to redeem your AA rates at prevailing rates and Award Expert is ready and willing to help you do so. I will have further analysis on these changes in a subsequent post.