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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

American Airlines AAdvantage changes - devaluation alert!

Received an email this morning from American Airlines, outlining several changes to their awards program.

As we integrate our two airlines, our goal is simple: restore American Airlines to its status as the greatest airline in the world. That's why we're taking delivery of two new aircraft every week, have given you access to the world's best network through a codeshare agreement, and now offer the ability to earn and redeem miles on both carriers.

As we continue to align our business, we have a few updates to share with you about our new award travel levels and checked bag policies:
Redeem for less. Effective today for travel starting June 1, 2014, a one‑way AAnytime award now starts as low as 20,000 miles plus applicable taxes and carrier–imposed fees. Plus we've lowered the minimum number of miles needed for AAnytime awards to popular destinations like Hawaii, the Caribbean and Europe. Our lowest AAnytime mileage levels are available for more than 50% of the year. Don't forget we still offer MileSAAver awards that can be redeemed for as low as 12,500 miles each way, plus applicable taxes and carrier-imposed fees.
No blackout dates! Continue to use your miles for any seat on any American Airlines flight using an AAnytime Award. Award levels vary by date and a few select dates throughout the year are now offered at higher mileage levels.

What I found the most interesting was the "change" to the award chart.  You can find it here.  Basically, the first round devaluation has occurred.  You can compare old and new award charts if you want, but the summary is that AAnytime awards, especially for first class awards, have seen significant increases.  Here are a few examples:

North American to Europe:

Previous levels in First Class:  62.5k, 125k
New levels in First Class: 62.5k, 140k, 175k (!)  *40% increase!

Within North America:

Previous levels in First Class: 32.5k, 65k
New levels in First Class: 32.5k, 85k, 95k   *46% increase!

No doubt the blogging world will be abuzz today with the changes, since AA miles tend to be the hardest miles to accrue among the carriers.  But I don't think anyone should be surprised about changes.  Since the merger occurred, I think it was just a matter of time.

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