As I posted a reminder of yesterday, today is the last day to redeem American AAdvantage miles before the devaluation kicks in. Some of my favorite awards are going up in price substantially, while others are staying the same, while some awards are even going down in price.
Cathay Pacific first class awards between the US and Asia are going up in price by over 60%!
I know a lot of people still have awards to book today, and I’d expect hold times to be really long. Obviously if you’re wanting to book a first class award from the US to Asia, or a first class award from the Middle East to Europe, you absolutely should put in the effort to book today.
But I thought it would be interesting to talk about six awards you don’t have to book today, and in some cases shouldn’t book today. These are all for travel to/from the US, though there are certainly awards in other regions which aren’t going up in price either, and in some cases even going down in price.
1. Domestic Economy Awards
The single most popular award for AAdvantage members is a domestic economy award, which starts at just 12,500 miles one way. It’s not surprising that American isn’t raising the cost of this, given how popular it is with members.
The catch, however, is that availability at the saver level keeps getting worse. So airlines want to be able to keep dangling this carrot in front of members, even if in practice the cost keeps going up.
Keep in mind that the cost of shorthaul awards is even going down. Awards of under 500 miles on American in the US and Canada will cost just 7,500 miles one way starting tomorrow. So for those awards you’re even better off waiting until tomorrow.
2. Business Class Awards To Northern South America
American charges just 30,000 miles for one way business class between the US and Northern South America. The cost of that won’t be changing with this devaluation. This region includes Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Manaus (Brazil), and Peru. If you’re looking to travel to one of those places, there’s no rush in booking.
3. Business Class Awards To Africa
American also isn’t increasing the cost of business class awards to Africa. They cost 75,000 AAdvantage miles one way, and that will continue to be the cost after today. Keep in mind that American’s definition of regions isn’t that strict. For example, Egypt is considered to be part of the Middle East, even though it’s technically in Africa.
In practice American typically lets you route from the US to Africa via Doha on Qatar Airways, so that’s a great way to route between the two regions. I’m happy this award isn’t being devalued, since I really have been wanting to explore more of Africa, and this will probably contribute to me doing so.
4. Business Class Awards To The Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America
This award chart devaluation isn’t all bad news — American is actually decreasing the cost of business class awards between the US and the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. The cost is decreasing from 30,000 miles one way to 27,500 miles one way.
This isn’t personally how I’d typically choose to redeem my miles, given that most flights to these regions feature American’s domestic first class. But if you’re wanting to redeem miles to these regions, which is definitely popular among the “average” AAdvantage member, it’s actually advantageous to wait.
5. Business Class Awards To The Middle East
Business class awards to the Middle East are increasing in cost from 67,500 miles to 70,000 miles one way. So if you know exactly which flight you want to book, and there’s availability, then sure, book today and save 2,500 miles.
However, otherwise I don’t think it’s worth potentially spending a really long time on hold today, and also if you’re not Executive Platinum, potentially spending money on change fees later.
While the award price is going up, 2,500 miles is a very modest increase.
6. Upgrade Awards
I’ve frequently been asked whether American is also increasing the cost of upgrades with this devaluation. The answer is no. So if you’re planning on paying for a ticket and then redeeming miles with a co-pay for an upgrade, there’s no need to book before tomorrow.
Upgrade costs will remain the same, as follows:
There are some awards which are going way up in price, like the US to Asia in Cathay Pacific first class, which is increasing from 67,500 miles to 110,000 miles. However, the above are some examples of awards which aren’t being impact as negatively, and in some cases are even going down in price.
Hopefully everyone is finalizing the last AAdvantage awards they plan on booking for the day right now!