American Devaluation – What You Need to Book Now…and what can wait till tomorrow

by Adam

It’s here…pricing for several American Airlines AAdvantage awards will change tomorrow. Below is a recap once again of awards that are worth booking today as well as a few you can wait to book post-devaluation.

1. First Class Awards to Europe

You could argue that business class is good enough for travel to Europe. While that is true, at only 62,500 miles, first class AA awards to Europe are among the best values around. On March 22, the rate for first class awards to Europe will jump to 85,000. That is an awful lot of miles for flights that are mostly under ten hours long.

2. First Class Awards to Asia 2

You can currently book a first class award to the Asia 2 Region (which includes Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar, among other popular destinations) for only 67,500 miles. In my opinion, this is currently the best use of AA miles you can make. Unfortunately, tomorrow a first class award to Asia 2 will require 110,000 miles. Ouch!

3. Business Class Awards to South Pacific

While it is not easy to find business class availability with AA and their partners to Australia and New Zealand (thanks in great part to routing restrictions that prohibit connections in Asia for these awards), award availability with non-alliance partners Air Tahiti Nui and Fiji Airways to French Polynesia and Fiji, respectively, is relatively easy to find. But, if you want to book a business class award to either of those two wonderful destinations (or any other South Pacific country) it is going to cost you an extra 17,500 miles each way to do so tomorrow.

4. First Class Transcontinental Awards

AA’s A321 transcon first class is the best way to fly from coast to coast (though reports are mixed see this post). You can currently book such an award on a stand-alone basis for only 32,500 miles, which is a bargain considering that is only 7,500 more miles than business class. Tomorrow, the rate for this award goes up to a ridiculous 50,000 miles, making it arguably the worst value in the post-devaluation AA award chart.

5. First Class Awards to Middle East/Indian Subcontinent

If you want to experience Etihad’s First Class Apartments you better book it soon. With a post-devaluation rate of 115,000 miles (compared to 90,000 miles now), such a booking will be difficult to justify despite its extraordinary reputation.

Bottom Line

These are far from the only awards that should be booked before the March 22 devaluation, but they are five popular awards for which everyone should definitely make an effort to complete a booking pre-devaluation if such a trip is in the plans.

Those awards that can wait…

Business Class Awards to Africa

Much to my surprise, the award rate for business class awards to Africa will stay the same after the devaluation: 75,000 miles. This is extraordinary news considering how good award availability is to Africa with AA oneworld partner Qatar Airways and the number of U.S. and African destinations served by Qatar. I would argue that booking an AA business class award to Africa post-devaluation will be the new “best use” of AA miles.

Business Class Awards to Middle East/Indian Subcontinent  

While the award rate for a business class AA award to the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent is going up tomorrow, it is only increasing by 2,500 miles (from 67,500 to 70,000 miles). Of course, if you have a trip to the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent already in mind and plans are at least close to set in stone, by all means make sure to book your award before March 22. However, I would not book such a speculative award just to potentially save 2,500 miles.

Business Class Awards to the Caribbean & Mexico  

The award rate for a business class AA award to the Caribbean and Mexico will actually decrease by 2,5000 miles tomorrow (from 30,000 to 27,500 miles).


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1 comment

DaninMCI March 21, 2016 - 1:16 pm

I would add partner travel on Asia-Europe in business should be booked now.


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