Ever since American Airlines announced the merger with US Airways, there has been speculation about when the program will devalue. After all, less competition means the world’s largest airline no longer needs to be quite as generous to maintain customer loyalty. Readers Hugo and Tim passed some information along that may hint at exactly when American Airlines may implement changes to their award chart. It comes from an unexpected source: The Japan Airlines One World award chart. The chart shows two different redemption rates for business and first class travel to select regions before and after November 1, 2015:
The changes apply mostly to short-haul awards with distances of up to 14,000 miles. Now the question is whether Japan Airlines is raising premium award rates in response to planned increases to the AAdvantage award chart. It could well be that Japan Airlines is solely making changes that won’t affect any other program. Or perhaps AA will make similar adjustments, but only to JAL awards. All of this is speculation at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if American Airlines devalued their program by the end of the year. Sometimes devaluations happen without warning, so it’s best not to hoard miles if you can help it.
Following my most recent award redemption, I still have over 200,000 AAdvantage miles left, which makes me slightly nervous. Over the past few years, I’ve seen my unused Club Carlson, Hyatt, and United accounts devalue. I don’t intend to let that happen again and am already looking at ways to burn my remaining miles – perhaps on another trip to Asia to give JAL’s famed suites a try, or a trip back to Germany, this time in Air Berlin’s much more comfortable Business Class. Either way, these miles will get burned by November 1 or sooner, if I can help it.
What are your thoughts? Do you think JAL’s award changes are indicative of an upcoming AAdvantage devaluation?
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