Looks like AA has added quite a few fees for upgrades/awards. First of all is a $5 fee for booking awards on aa.com (Executive Platinum members are exempt). As minor as it is, this is the most ridiculous change in my opinion, since there’s absolutely no way to avoid this when redeeming for a “free ticket.” Still I understand the need to find revenue wherever they can, and this is pretty minor.
Next there are new co-pays to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.
Lastly, and what shouldn’t be surprising at all, is an increase in award levels. The premium rates, what I’m most interested in, are going up by about 10,000 miles on average, it seems. The new rates are effective October 1, so you still have some time to book awards at the old, lower rates, and quite frankly I’m burning as many miles as quickly as I can right now, since I don’t even want to guess what’s coming our way next from US carriers.
It also makes me wonder how long it’ll take UA to match some of these changes. US to Europe awards are now a real steal with UA at only 80,000, compared to AA’s 100,000. I’m guessing that won’t be the case for much longer, and I bet they’ll “enhance” the award levels to Asia too. If that’s the worst that’s going to happen, I’m still relatively happy considering the times the industry is in.