American Airlines have announced sweeping increases to redemption prices for members of its AAdvantage frequent flyer scheme. A new redemption chart will become effective on 22 March 2016.
Of particular note is the substantial increase in rates for first class. For example, one-way rates for awards between Australia and the United States in first class jump 52 percent to a whopping 110,000 miles, while business class sees a 28 percent increase to 80,000 miles.
Other major jumps include journeys between Australia and:
the Middle East: increase 78 percent from 45,000 to 80,000 AAdvantage miles in business class. First class jumps from 60,000 to 100,000, a 67 percent increase. These are popular with Etihad redemptions to Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways redemptions to Doha.
Chile: climb 65 percent from 50,000 to 82,500 AAdvantage miles in business class (there is no first class cabin on Qantas flights to Santiago).
South Africa: business class increases 60% to 80,000 (there is no first class cabin on Qantas flights to Johannesburg).
Due to the zone-based system adopted by AAdvantage, these increased rates also apply to those connecting onwards to other countries within the zone.
On the positive side, rates for domestic awards with Fiji fall 2,500 miles and American have shaved 5,000 miles off the cost of a business class award from Australia to Japan / Korea / Mongolia. The flipside, is that the cost of business class awards from Australia to the rest of Asia have increased 5,000 miles.
Our full analysis of the charts ex-Australia is below.
oneworld awards ex-Australia: one-way pricing
|New rates||Old rates||Increase|
|Contiguous 48 U.S. states||80,000||110,000||62,500||72,500||28.00%||51.72%|
|Canada & Alaska||82,500||112,500||62,500||72,500||32.00%||55.17%|
|South America Region 1||82,500||112,500||65,000||75,000||26.92%||50.00%|
|South America Region 2||82,500||112,500||50,000||75,000||65.00%||50.00%|
|Middle East / Indian Subcontinent||80,000||100,000||45,000||60,000||77.78%||66.67%|
|Asia Region 1||40,000||60,000||45,000||60,000||-11.11%||0.00%|
|Asia Region 2||40,000||50,000||35,000||45,000||14.29%||11.11%|
Other changes to AAdvantage
American have also announced other changes to AAdvantage, which broadly speaking:
Make it easier to qualify for status.
Reduce elite qualifying earning for travel on a number of partner airlines.
Halve the number of system-wide upgrades earned by an Executive Platinum member from next year (unless they double qualify for the tier).
Signal a shift to revenue-based earning of AAdvantage miles in the second half of 2016 (a system much like how Virgin Australia use for points accrual on domestic flights in Australia).
Extend the 2015 bonus miles for American marketed (American flight number on the ticket) flights in first and business class into 2016.
Bottom line: now is the time to spend your AAdvantage points. They will never be worth as much as they are now.