As you know AAdvantage is changing their award chart on March 22 – roughly one month remains to redeem using the old award chart. Several regions will require dramatically more miles than before – notably flights in premium cabins to Asia and the Middle East/ Central Asia.
Flights in Economy and flights to South America, Africa and Europe aren’t changing as much. If you have travel plans that will put you into Asia or Middle East you should book it now. AAdvantage allows free date changes (and route changes with certain limits) up to 21 days before departure. You can book 330 days out and use a ticket up to one year from date of issuance.
Here is what I booked for 2017 using my AA miles:
– a one-way to South East Asia on Cathay Pacific in Business Class
– a one-way using JAL and Malaysia Airlines from South East Asia in Business Class
– a one-way from Europe to India on Etihad Business Class (just 30k miles)
– a one-way from India to the US West Coast again on Etihad
– a one-way from the Middle East to the US in First Class on Etihad
For unknown reasons AA agents can’t see availability on Etihad right now but agents at the Australian call center can. Etihad has opened up a tremendous amount of award space suddenly on most long-haul routes. You can book anything that comes up as ‘GuestSeat’ on the Etihad Guest Redemption page. The contact number for the AA Australian call center (which is actually in Fiji) is +61-2-91011948.
For Cathay Pacific and JAL you can use ba.com and call the US Call center as usual.