Oh no – AAdvantage finally devalues award chart – but it is not as bad as I feared

Posted on November 17, 2015 by in American Airlines AAdvantage

Earlier this year I grew very concerned about the impeding AAdvantage devaluation. Fortunately it hasn’t happened until – TODAY!.

Here is the comparison for the oneworld and other partner airline award charts. Redemption levels on AA are similar – note that AA is introducing a 7,500 one-way redemptions for flights under 500 miles.

The off-peak discounted Economy tickets have been trimmed and now appear to work only to Europe and for 22,500 miles one-way.

This is the new award chart:

MightyTravels 2015-11-17 at 2.13.23 PM

For comparison purposes the old award chart which is applicable for bookings until March 22nd, 2016:

MightyTravels 2015-11-17 at 2.12.55 PM

First Class awards

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The bad news first – First Class has been hit badly with the new charts (here are the old charts in comparison) and in many instances is not a great value award anymore. First Class awards to South East Asia (Zone2 ) will almost double! The trip to Abu Dhabi with Etihad in First Class goes up by 25,000 miles and 90,000 miles with the old chart wasn’t great value to begin with.

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Note that Sri Lanka has moved to the Asia 2 zone from the Middle East, so you can’t fly there via Cathay Pacific anymore on one award (that’s what I did last year with Cathay Pacific all the way to Colombo).

Business Class Comparison

Business Class awards haven’t changed as much and have largely stayed the same. That’s fantastic news since many routes only had Business Class redemptions to begin with. Redemptions to South East Asia have become more expensive by 27% but that isn’t a crazy devaluation in my book. The miles needed for Mexico, Caribbean or Central America actually dropped by 8%. But it’s not a place where I would redeem for Domestic First recliner seats anyways.

Here is the comparison between the miles needed based on the new and old award chart in Business Class.

MightyTravels 2015-11-17 at 1.23.58 PM

The new award chart comes into effect for trips booked after March 22nd, 2016 (so you can book well into March 2017 using the old chart).

What is still great value after the devaluation?

– Business Class to Africa (like I just traveled with Qatar via Doha to Kigali) stays the same!!

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– Business Class to the Maldives (or anywhere in the Middle East zone) increases by a mere 3% and you can fly Etihad Business Class all the way on one award (and to Sri Lanka for the same price now too!)

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– Business Class redemptions to South East Asia increase by 27% – that’s a lot – but Cathay Pacific’s awesome route network and the great Business Class product is certainly worth 70,000 miles to me (especially when taking my kids), First Class awards have become incredibly rare for most Cathay Pacific routes anyways

– Awards to South America haven’t changed much, however United and Delta kept most rates the same there too and paid tickets are very cheap there anyways right now

Conclusion

It’s sad to waive most First Class awards goodbye but I’m somewhat happy with these changes – it could have been much worse!