American Airlines announces AAdvantage devaluation

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.

Services to San Francisco won't offer Qantas' flagship First Class product

Redeeming your American miles for a roundtrip ticket to the United States in Qantas first class will cost 220,000 miles from March 2016

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
Business First Business First Business First
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%
Hawaii 65,000 90,000 62,500 72,500 4.00% 24.14%
Caribbean 82,500 112,500 62,500 72,500 32.00% 55.17%
Mexico 82,500 112,500 62,500 72,500 32.00% 55.17%
Central America 82,500 112,500 65,000 75,000 26.92% 50.00%
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%
Europe 85,000 115,000 60,000 80,000 41.67% 43.75%
Middle East / Indian Subcontinent 80,000 100,000 45,000 60,000 77.78% 66.67%
Africa 80,000 100,000 50,000 75,000 60.00% 33.33%
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%
South Pacific 30,000 30,000 42,500 0.00% 0.00%
New Zealand 25,000 17,500 42.86%
Domestic Fiji 10,000 12,500 -20.00%
Domestic Australia 20,000 17,500 14.29%

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.

2 Comments on "American Airlines announces AAdvantage devaluation"

  1. Very comprehensive analysis MDU – and some fairly drastic adjustments (although to give AA credit, they did hold off on changes for much longer than anyone else). I’m pleased though the Etihad A380 First & Business class redemptions via AA have been equalised – it was rather ridiculous that redemptions via Etihad’s native program where multiple times higher than what AA was offering them for (and given there was no preferential access for Etihad Guest members, this also lead to a drought of reward seats, as AA redemptions for Etihad A380/B787 First and Business seats was massive).

    And kudos to AA for giving at least three clear months before implementing these changes (unless the sneaky very short notice change Qantas recently made, which was beneath them honestly), that is a reasonable period to in which to act/finalise before the changes come into effect.

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