American Airlines has announced massive changes to AAdvantage Program.There are changes to Elite status requirements, Upgrades, Mileage earning and more..
For leisure travelers like us, changes to Award chart is the key thing. We are mostly focused on earning miles through credit card signup bonus, occasional paid travel and then redeem for award tickets to India.
New award chart will go in to effect on March 22, 2016, you can book until Mar 21, 2016 as per the current award chart.
Here is the analysis of how the award prices are changing and what it will cost us going forward. Before we review the changes, here is the definition of regions per AAdvanatge program. This will help you visualize the changes.
AAdvantage Region Definitions:
Here is the comparisons of economy awards from/to India (Transatlantic routes only – British Airways, Etihad, Qatar ..)
As you could notice – Economy redemption’s between USA (48 states) and India will go down from 45,000 Miles to 40,000 Miles.
The major hit in the economy awards is for traveling between India and South pacific. If you are planning to redeem AA miles for award tickets between India and Australia/New Zealand – you should make every attempt to book before March 22, 2016
Here is the comparison of Business class awards from/to India (Transatlantic routes only)
Business awards are getting expensive to all of the regions (except to Central America). Business Class awards will only increase by 2,500 miles between India and USA (48 states) which is not bad.
My favorite redemption of AA Miles is business class awards between India and Australia/New Zealand which is increasing by 78% and business awards between India and Europe are also going up by 42%.
Here is the comparison of First class award from/to India(Transatlantic Routes only)
First Class award chart really took a hit. Effective, Mar 22, 2016 you would need 115K AA miles for a one way first class award between India and USA instead of 90,000 AA miles.
Awards from India to Europe & South Pacific have taken a major hit.
What about Cathay Pacific awards?
Above analysis does not apply to Cathay Pacific award tickets to India as this is transpacific route. When redeeming award tickets to India on Cathay Pacific – Miles needed will be calculated based on USA to Asia 2 and Asia2 to India.
Here is summary of changes if you are redeeming AA miles for traveling to India on Cathay Pacific. Below table lists the number of combined miles from USA to Asia 2 (HKG) and then Asia 2 (HKG) to India (Refer zone definitions above)
Business and First class on Cathay Pacific will also require more AA miles from Mar 22, 2016.
American Airlines has introduced several changes to AAdvantage program for 2016. One of the major impact for leisure travelers is the changes to AAdvantage award chart.
Effective Mar 22, 2016, economy award ticket between USA and India will need fewer miles – 45,000 AA miles instead of 40,000 AA miles. Business class awards will need an additional 2,500 miles (70,000 AA miles instead of 67,500)
You could still book the awards per the current award chart until Mar 21, 2016, which means you could book your early 2017 travel per the current award chart (schedule opens approximately 11 months ahead)
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Editorial Note: Opinions, analysis and any calculations shown are authors alone. Information in this post is not reviewed, approved and endorsed by any airlines, frequent flyer programs or financial institution