American Further Devalues AAdvantage Awards Routed via Hawaii
Although American's award redemption amounts are quite reasonable compared with Delta and United's, the airline isn't known for its generous routing rules. Earlier this year, American announced that it would no longer offer award tickets between the US mainland and Hawaii on Hawaiian airlines, but in its latest changes to multi-region award travel, flyers will now have to change their award-ticket strategy when connecting in Honolulu.
As of September 1, it's no longer possible to combine American and Hawaiian flights on a single award ticket — meaning if you're flying to a destination in Asia or the South Pacific (or elsewhere) and you stop in Honolulu, you must book the trip as two separate awards. In other words, you'll pay many more miles than you would have just a few weeks ago.
For example, if you were to book an award ticket departing from Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane, Australia (BNE) with a connection in Honolulu (HNL), that trip would usually cost 62,500 miles on a business saver award ticket. Following this change, however, that flight now costs 100,000 miles — 37,500 miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu and 62,500 miles from HNL to Brisbane (or another destination in Australia).
If you're planning a trip to Australia, or another country that this change may effect, you can still fly nonstop and avoid shelling out the extra miles. For example, American is launching nonstop service between Los Angeles and Sydney later this year, which will be one of the cheapest ways to get to Australia on an award ticket — if you're able to find availability, that is. Rather than shelling out the 100,000 miles that the two flights demand, you'll pay 62,500 each way for a business saver award ticket on that nonstop flight, including connections from elsewhere in the US.
Ultimately, this isn't a significant program devaluation, although this specific change wasn't communicated when AA announced that it would be discontinuing awards on Hawaiian Air from the continental US. Still, connecting in Hawaii had been a useful way to get from the United States to Australia and New Zealand, with decent availability and the ability to stop in Honolulu (for up to 23 hours and 59 minutes) en-route to the South Pacific.