American Airlines

Is the AAdvantage Program Devaluing on November 1, 2015?

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:

Japan Airlines One World Award Chart changes will set in on November 1, 2015
Japan Airlines One World Award Chart changes will set in on 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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  1. Hmm. Thanks for the heads up. I hope this is just JAL updating their chart. I’m sitting on almost half a million AA miles, and I’m concerned about the (certain) devaluation that’s coming. I need to find 3 r/t tickets from LAX to Dublin traveling in May of next year. The only non-stop flight I’m aware of between LAX-DUB is on Ethiopian Airlines (a 5th freedom flight from LAX to Addis Ababa, which stops in Dublin to refuel). But Ethiopian is not a oneworld partner. Any thoughts on what AA partners offers non-stop flights from West Coast to any entry point in Europe in Business Class? We’re hoping to avoid huge fuel surcharges and hefty taxes.

  2. Certainly compelling proof an AA devaluation is due soon. But if you want even more, eviscerate a squirrel and, for all with eyes to see, the certain answer will be found in its fresh entrails.

  3. I really hope this isn’t the case and we’re all going to be fine after the new year. However, I’m going to be using my stash in a few weeks to book a couple trips for autumn 2016. I just need AA to hold off for a bit so I can do this!

  4. Between my wife and I, we’re sitting on just under 400,000 AA miles, I’ve kinda debated just booking 2 flights in Cathay First as far out as possible and then changing the dates later on to something that would work. I would assume that even if there is a devaluation that once the flights are purchased, I’m able to reschedule for no additional cost. Thoughts?

    • As a warning Brenton, my understanding is that the award ticket cannot be moved out past 1 year the date it was issued.

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