500K AAdvantage & Counting
March 22, 2016 was the big day. It was the long feared AAdvantage devaluation. Many of you no doubt cleaned out your accounts in a spree of last minute bookings. Since American is fairly generous with their award change rules, a lot of people locked in routes and days with space in the hopes that they can change their bookings later if need be.
I personally burned hundreds of thousands of miles, but left so many more to devalue in my wife’s account. Why? There is one rule that American is fairly strict about. All travel has to be completed within a year on award tickets regardless of changes. This means that tickets booked before the devaluation would have to be used by March 21, 1017. The unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate) thing is that all of my travel is accounted for between now and then. I even have a bonus ticket booked for a trip that probably won’t happen.
Cathay First Fun
Of course like many of you I did have a little pre-devaluation fun. I booked two Cathay Pacific First Class tickets from LAX-HKG-MNL for a trip I am planning later this year with my dad. There wasn’t any first class space from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, but I was able to get a first class segment from Hong Kong to Manila. Since this award is priced as first class, if first class space opens between LAX-HKG, I can book us into it. I’m saying my prayers since I know my dad will really enjoy the experience.
Some Awards Are Still Good
There are also some upcoming trips that I did not book. Tentatively early next year we are considering a visit to Costa Rica. American didn’t really do much to those awards (actually they lowered the cost of Business to Central America) so it wasn’t a priority to book. Similarly I want to jet down to Mexico and while I would probably use Southwest anyway, American didn’t really devalue there a lot either. In other words, I really didn’t worry about locking in flights where the new redemption costs are similar to the old ones.
Etihad First Apartments
One area that I struggled with was Etihad First. I know those awards jumped up, but I will be flying Emirates First later this year and can’t see myself flying halfway around the world again before next March. While booking all of my miles and forcing myself to take trips sounds nice, it isn’t really a possibility given my current situation with work and my family. I didn’t book one of these awards, because I wanted to leave the space for others and also because I didn’t want to be tempted to force it.
Having Some Left Over
Of course, there is another main reason I left some miles in our accounts. We are a family and thus will have a need for these miles in the coming years. Plus, from time to time I am definitely willing to fly coach, which is still a good value in many cases with American. I also like that we have a nice stash of miles sitting around for future trips and there are some redemptions that are decent even in business class. With that said, I can’t see myself paying 110,000 one-way in Cathay first class so I am glad I got one last award locked in!
If you didn’t burn all of your AAdvantage miles then don’t worry you are not alone. Yes, AAdvantage miles are worth less than they were previously and in some cases significantly less. With that said, there is still value and having a nice balance of these miles will serve me and my family in the future so I’m not worried. I am sure many of you are in a similar situation.
What awards did you get locked in before the devAAluation and how many miles did you keep? Let us know in the comments!