American AAnytime Standard Award Rates Increased

Update: American has now published the changes, adding two levels of AAnytime awards. Interestingly they’ve also added a third AAnytime award level, though haven’t added prices, so perhaps it’s something they’ll add in the future. The cost of saver awards is not changing as part of this, though they have renamed off-peak awards as “Level 1 MileSAAver,” so this sure is starting to look like a five tier award chart, a la Delta.

American has literally just destroyed their standard AAnytime award chart without any advance notice.

Why standard awards are so costly to airlines

I’ve only ever redeemed miles at the “saver” award level and almost always for first or business class, since I consider that to be the best use of miles. That being said, it’s certainly not the most costly redemption for airlines. The most costly award redemption you could potentially make is when you book a standard “rule buster” award, whereby you get the last seat on a plane.

For example, say a week before departure you redeem miles for the last seat in first class on a flight between Los Angeles and London. If the airline could have otherwise sold that last seat (especially if it’s in first or business class), that award redemption could be costing the airline a lot of money.

That’s why we’ve seen a steady increase in the cost of standard level award redemptions lately. Some airlines have actually eliminated standard awards — United doesn’t even offer last seat availability on standard awards anymore.

American has offered the most generous standard awards

Up until recently American has been the only US legacy carrier to offer last seat availability for double the cost of a standard award.

But it’s a trend they’ve been shying away from as of late. When American loaded award availability into the system for their new Dallas to Hong Kong flight, they charged 195,000 AAdvantage miles one-way for standard first class awards. Previously standard awards to Asia cost 135,000 miles, since saver awards cost 67,500 miles. So rather than charging double as much for a standard award, they began charging nearly triple.

However, up until now the “more than double” standard award rates have been limited to their routes to Hong Kong and Seoul Incheon. Not anymore, though.

American has hugely increased the cost of standard AAnytime awards across the board

In looking at standard AAnytime award space, American has massively increased the cost of AAnytime awards for travel starting June 1, 2014.

American’s award ticket chart still shows the old fixed redemption rates. In the event that they change them soon, here are the current award charts:

American-AAnytime-Awards-6 American-AAnytime-Awards-7

Instead of having fixed AAnytime award rates, they’re now variable, presumably based on the load factor and demand.

For example, take a look at standard AAnytime awards for travel between Los Angeles and London for July and August. Here are the old AAnytime award rates for travel between the US and Europe:

American-AAnytime-Awards-4

Previously the cost of a one-way economy class AAnytime award between the US and Europe was 60,000 miles. Now it’s 65,000 or 110,000 miles:

American-AAnytime-Awards-1

Previously the cost of a one-way business class AAnytime award between the US and Europe was 100,000 miles. Now it’s 135,000 or 180,000 miles:

American-AAnytime-Awards-2

Previously the cost of a one-way first class class AAnytime award between the US and Europe was 125,000 miles. Now it’s 175,000 or 215,000 miles:

American-AAnytime-Awards-3

So they’re going from charging double as much for AAnytime awards to in many cases charging more than three times as much.

Has American eliminated first class awards to South America altogether?

It’s one thing to hugely increase the cost of standard awards, but has American eliminated first class awards to South America altogether? For example, pulling up space between Miami and Sao Paulo, I don’t see any first class award space, be it saver or standard:

American-AAnytime-Awards-8

Has American eliminated standard AAnytime awards for domestic flights?

When looking at award availability for domestic flights, American doesn’t even show standard awards anymore — instead they just show saver awards. I’m not sure if this is a glitch, or if they’re actually cutting them completely domestically?

American-AAnytime-Awards-5

Comparing American’s old and new standard award rates

Here’s a table a friend was nice enough to put together outlining the old and new standard award redemption rates:

RouteAAnytime EconomyAAnytime BusinessAAnytime First
Within Continental US/CanadaOld: 25,000
New: ????
Old: 50,000
New: ????
Old: 65,000
New: ????
Between Continental US/Canada and Mexico/Caribbean, Between Mexico and Caribbean, Wholly within the CaribbeanOld: 35,000
New: 27,500 or 37,500
Old: 60,000
New: 50,000 or 60,000
Old: 80,000
New: 90,000 or 100,000
Continental US/Canada/Mexico/Caribbean and HawaiiOld: 45,000
New: ????
Old: 75,000
New: ????
Old: 95,000
New: ????
North America to Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, or VenezuelaOld: 35,000
New: 35,000 or 50,000
Old: 60,000
New: 65,000 or 90,000
Old: 80,000
New: ????
North America to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, or UruguayOld: 60,000
New: 55,000 or 75,000
Old: 100,000
New: 110,000 or 150,000
Old: 125,000
New: ????
North America to EuropeOld: 60,000
New: 65,000 or 110,000
Old: 100,000
New: 135,000 or 180,000
Old: 125,000
New: 175,000 or 215,000
North America to South KoreaOld: 75,000
New: 60,000 or 80,000
Old: 135,000
New: 120,000 or 155,000
Old: 160,000
New: 170,000 or 200,000
North America to JapanOld: 65,000
New: 60,000 or 80,000
Old: 100,000
New: 120,000 or 155,000
Old: 125,000
New: 170,000 or 200,000
North America to ChinaOld: 70,000
New: 65,000 or 85,000
Old: 110,000
New: 140,000 or 175,000
Old: 135,000
New: 180,000 or 210,000
North America to Hong KongOld: 80,000
New: 65,000 or 85,000
Old: 175,000
New: 140,000 or 175,000
Old: 195,000
New: 180,000 or 210,000

 

As you can see, the lowest cost standard award rates have gone down in a few cases, but in a vast majority of cases they’ve gone up.

Not providing any advance notice is the biggest sin here

I almost have to wonder whether American is meaning to roll out these changes. Something seems glitchy about it, and American has a history of accidentally rolling out changes prematurely and then taking them back. So it could be that American isn’t intending to roll this out yet, which I hope is the case, or else I’d really disappointed they made this change without notice… or even an announcement!

This sure is starting to look like a Delta SkyMiles-esque three tier award chart…

(Tip of the hat to Matt and Chris)

Comments

  1. I realize they are still flying 3-class planes currently, but with the announcement today that they are moving even more planes to 2-class configurations does it really surprise you that they are no longer selling F to Latin America? They have to stop promising it at some point to not have a downgrade situation.

  2. @ AdamH — Sao Paulo is only one of two destinations in the world they’re currently flying the 777-300ER to, on which they’ll continue to offer a first class cabin.

  3. American is having difficulty meeting the low standards it has set for themselves………

  4. Well well well.

    As a Delta flyer because of a work contract, I’ve had to make peace with loads of bad rules and short notice on changes.

    Glad to see I’m not alone anymore.

  5. @ Justin — Hah, no matter which route you search, the last date on the calendar always seems to show zero miles, but it corrects itself on the results page.

  6. Just called American and they said it’s official. The rep said I should be receiving an email soon with the announcement.

  7. sukn on FT says International Gateway city stopovers are gone, to be announced tomorrow. No Sources, but, might be time to book some tickets tonight!

  8. I knew something was up when they removed the mileage numbers from the top of the colored availability boxes a week ago. Makes perfect sense if awards are now going to be tiered. You have to assume that this is not going to be limited to Anytime Awards, though, as they’ve removed the numbers from all the boxes.

  9. Hey Lucky, are International Gateway City stopovers going away as well? Reading rumors abt itā€¦ stings!!

  10. iahphx, that’s assuming that MileSAAver availability will remain the same and that the N.American international gateway stopovers stay….

  11. @Lucky: There’s a button with a right arrow in your South America picture showing no F availability for “saver or standard.” If you click on it, at least for a random selection of dates that I looked at, AAnytime availability is still alive and well, albeit more expensive.

    This is just a UI issue?

  12. Reading your update (which evidently happened sometime after I hit submit on my comment above), is it really fair to critique the existence of MileSAAver level 1? We already had off-peak awards and that tier looks no different than it was in the past?

  13. @ Chris — I’m not at all meaning to critique it, but rather am just pointing out that it seems they’re *intentionally* trying to make this the way Delta markets their SkyMiles charts. Like, they’re doing everything they can to make this look like a five tier system.

  14. Stopovers might already be shut down? Am trying to book an international one-way and it is pricing each leg separately (12.5k + 20k miles) instead of just charging 20k. No free stopover.

  15. If your ticket was issued already, then you can get an international gateway stopover; if you haven’t you can’t.

    Zero notice. I had LAX-HKG-HAN booked one way but only HKG-LAX on the RT. I needed to add both SGN-HKG to the return and an MIA-LAX out; LAX-MIA return. I could add the LAX-MIA to the return only if I didn’t add SGN-HKG (because that required reticketing).

  16. @Lucky

    Let’s assume this is Delta’s approach. And assume Saver awards are scarce like Deltas.

    Still think USAir miles are worth buying at 1.1 cents/apiece?

  17. @Lucky

    Sorry for the multiple posts, but I wanted to give you props for me seeing it here first!

    I haven’t seen it mentioned in other blogs yet.

  18. Was it just a cowinky they were approving 100K Exec cards like they were candy? And selling US for 1.1c?

  19. The death of stopovers is a far more significant event to me than a change in AAnytime prices. Assuming I can continue to book partner flights at the same prices (I’m looking at you, United.), I’m not as concerned about the award chart change.

  20. Just got off the phone with AAdvantage, apparently even if you have an award ticket with an international stopover booked before today, from now on if you want to change the dates of flights on either side of the stopover, you’ll be asked to pay the difference in miles for two seperate awards.

    This seems like quite a bit to spring on people at once, no?

  21. @ beachfan — Another post coming with my overall thoughts shortly, but I do still think US Airways miles are worth it at 1.1 cents each.

  22. @Eric: Wow, UA has had the decency to let us modify post-devaluation awards somewhat freely.

    What if you’ve already started to fly on your ticket?

  23. Getting Parkered left and right. I guess Doug is feeling confident that he need not get the airline integrated and settled from an ops perspective before he starts taking a hammer to the customer friendly aspects of the loyalty programs.

  24. I always felt Dougie should have been allowed to run DL
    free upgrades, 3 level charts and so on were common to DL and US
    with terrible saver availability

    Now we have given this guy AA to run?
    Who are the guys who started save skymiles?
    now it is all miles that are useless pesos

  25. It is a DL 5 level chart! nothing else – Note 3 levels for AAnytime
    Having 3 ia bad enough; keeping an empty level3 suggests to me that is is going to be last seat with PWM (at 1c each) and based on market price for that seat.

    I never thought UA would become better
    Now to unload the AA miles

  26. I have started using standard awards for one ways on long weekends, Hawaii over Christmas etc. Can easily get 3 cents or more per mile value.

  27. I am actually most devastated by the removal of stopovers on one-ways. My hub is DFW and we ALWAYS do one domestic and one international a flight a year thanks to this. Therefore, this just devalued my AA miles by 50%. I am terribly disappointed especially with the lack of notice. This year we have booked BZE-DFW-OGG, OGG-DFW-MAD, MAD-DFW-ANC. SOOO disappointed about not being able to book my return from ANC first.

  28. I love the email that was sent out at 9 CDT, spinning everything as though these are nothing but positive changes, and completely glossing over the negatives.

  29. I怀feel so sick of this women trying to twist words and that letter was just so wrong

  30. So what is the best way to complain about no notice?
    where to complain?
    This year I was FINALLY planning to actually use and book an explorer ticket AND two free one ways!!

  31. I wrote 3 e-mails to Ms. Tejada Bell in AA Customer Service requesting an explanation about the unbelievable increase in AA’s mileage levels with no response whatsoever. Is there something we can do? I’m feeling they are striping me off my mileage, which I accumulated using the means they enticed me with.

  32. I continue to get only Saver awards even when I ask for Anytime awards. Has anybody determined if this is a bug, or how to get Anytime awards on domestic flights?

  33. Folks: Why is anyone surprised? The airlines will continue to screw their best clients until they really need them again. The moment they see an impact on their bottom line, or after the next disaster ( a la 9/11) ONLY THEN will they begin to honor their promises when we bought miles or flew with them or exchanged points. The airlines are acting like the monopolistic cartels that we permit them to be. @$%^&
    the frequent flyer or any consumer.

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