Tuesday, April 8, 2014

American AAdvantage Changes: AAnytime Awards Move to Three Tiers, oneworld Explorer Awards and International Gateway Stopover gone

Earlier in the day we posted the good news from IHG and said most of the news today was. Here is the first of the bad news.

Without advance notice, although now emails are starting to trickle out, American AAdvantage has made some changes to their award charts and other redemption options. The concerning changes are those to the award charts which the email dances around by simply stating you can redeem less miles for the lowest level AAnytime Award but fails to mention the addition of new AAnytime Award levels that will cost more miles. The AAdvantage Award chart is now 5 levels deep Mile Saver 1 and 2, which have not changed and that is good news as most of us redeem at those levels while AAnytime Awards have 3 of their own levels with the third being reminiscent of Aeroplan's Market Fare awards as their is no set redemption amount but rather the amount will fluctuate dependent on how full a flight is and/or how high revenue tickets are pricing out at.

Here is a snippet of the new AAdvantage award chart that takes affect on June 1st:

Here is an example for Canadians who redeem AAnytime award flights to Europe between the old and new rates:

Economy 60,000 (old)  vs. 45,000 to 65,000+ (new)
Business 100,000 (old)  vs. 110,000 to 135,000+ (new)
First 125,000 (old) vs. 140,000 to 170,000+  (new)
miles required are one way.  + symbol represents the new AAnytime level 3 as we don't know what those rates will be.

The complete new American AAdvantage Award chart can be viewed here. These changes only affect award travel on American Airlines, partner travel (ie oneworld) remain at saver levels.

Another change from American is the elimination of their distance based oneworld explorer awards. These were complicated to book but provided a great value if you took advantage of them.

The International Gateway stopover also appears to be gone, this is the feature where you could do a  stopover at the North America city where your International flight was departing from.

In general the changes aren't huge and given the fact the American AAdvantage has not touched their partner awards or their mile saver awards I believe most of us will not be affected by these changes. The biggest gripe that we have along with pretty much everyone else was the lack of advance notice for some of these changes.

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