AAdvantage Devaluation Repricing
On March 22, 2016 American Airlines will heavily devalue their award chart. This devaluation brings them in line with United and Delta who have already gutted their programs. Similar to what we have seen with the other two carriers, for the most part coach redemptions will stay reasonable while premium cabin redemptions will increase significantly for the most part.
American does have one policy that is quite generous. They allow you to change the date/time, airlines and routing of your award as long as the origin and destination remains the same. This is really handy when you find an award that sort of works, but you are hoping for something better or if you want to lock in a price before it goes up significantly.
How Repricing Will Be Handled
One of the fears with this devaluation was that making changes to awards booked before March 22, would trigger the tickets to re-price at the higher price. Thankfully Gary at View from the Wing is reporting that this isn’t the case. Gary quotes an AA spokesperson,”…As long as the origin and destination remain the same, the date/time changes can be made.”
Just to be clear, Gary clarified a few more points and tried to eliminate the grey areas. Here is what to expect.
- If the airlines and routing are the same, the date and time can be changed without repricing.
- If the routing changes but the airlines are the same, then the award won’t reprice. You do still need to change to a legal routing for the “primary carrier”.
- If you change award types (partner to American or saver to extra) then the award WILL re-price at the new rates.
I have a friend who is planning a trip in October and has been struggling to find flights that really work well for him. There are a couple of mediocre options, but at least now he can book one of those and switch as long as he follows the rules above. I also have a few trips that I am planning and it is good to know that there is some flexibility in changing the dates/times.
Locking In First Class Prices
One of the biggest increases on the new award chart is international first class. I highly suggest heading over to Gary’s post to study how you can lock in first class awards at old prices and then switch around the dates as you need them. He even highlights a brilliant strategy for putting a Cathay first class award on hold without any actual first class award space between the U.S. and Hong Kong! Lots of good stuff.
If you aren’t thinking about how to lock in your AA miles at the old rates, then you are really cheating yourself. For years American Airlines and Citi have been handing out AAdvantage miles like candy and now is the time to cash in before they are worth a whole lot less. I personally need to sit down and lock in some awards and plan to get that done sooner rather than later. With the knowledge that I have some flexibility, I’ll be booking as far out as possible!