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American Airlines loyalists have a date later this month circled in black ink on their calendars — as of March 22, AA’s AAdvantage program is undergoing a massive devaluation, with premium-cabin award rates skyrocketing for redemptions on both American and its partners. It is not going to be pretty, so if you have any AAdvantage miles to burn, now is the time to do it.
Fortunately, there are a few positive changes to speak of, but for the most part the changes here are negative — especially when it comes to business and first-class awards. One saving grace comes into play with the airline’s AAnytime awards, which will largely remain unchanged following the March 22 devaluation. Unfortunately we just got word that AA’s going to be increasing the miles required for AAnytime award flights to Australia and New Zealand specifically, however, with the following increases going into effect on the 22nd:
- First/Business Level 1 will increase to 175,000 one way (currently 140,000 miles)
- First/Business Level 2 will increase to 195,000 one way (currently 175,000 miles)
- First Level 1 will increase to 220,000 one way (currently 180,000 miles)
- First Level 2 will increase to 260,000 one way (currently 210,000 miles)
Here’s what AA had to say about the change:
Since the SYD route launched last December, we’ve taken a look at how we control our inventory for MileSAAver award bookings. It’s resulted in some changes to how and when some award fares become available to our customers. We will also be making changes to some international AAnytime Award levels. We’ll be updating our award charts today to reflect an increase to AAnytime Awards for premium seats between North America and South Pacific.
The good news is that these changes don’t go into effect until March 22, so you have two weeks to book AAnytime awards at current levels (if that’s something you want to do). It’s clear that demand has been high on these particular routes, and if American is able to sell seats rather than allow frequent flyers to book them for free, the airline would rather do that, of course.
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- Admirals Club® membership for you and guests with you*
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*