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It’s been a while since there’s been a significant change to American Airlines’ AAdvantage mileage program. So, we were anxious to see new changes loaded to the AAdvantage award chart website Thursday morning. Turns out, it’s not a massive change — but still one that might limit travelers’ upcoming award redemptions.

Effective immediately, AA has capped the number of segments that you can fly on a one-way award booking. For domestic award flights, you’re limited to just three flights. For international awards, you can only book four segments to reach your destination. If your award booking requires more flights, you’ll have to split the booking into two different awards.

An airline spokesperson explained that this shouldn’t have much of an impact. AAdvantage redemptions already required that you take the most-direct routing available — even before these changes you weren’t able to book circuitous awards to get more out of your business or first-class award. These new changes “are in line with [AA’s] most direct routing rule and allows [it] to better support [its] partner airlines.”

For domestic flights, this new limitation is a fairly moot point. It’s tough enough to get AAward AAvailability on one AA flight, much less four.

However, we can see this limitation being an issue on international flights — especially if you’re starting in a non-hub city and heading to a more remote destination. If domestic award availability forces you to connect a couple of times domestically, you might be limited to only 1-2 flights to get from your international gateway city to your final destination. While we can’t think of any past award bookings that have required more than four legs, there could be travelers with upcoming bookings that might be affected by this change.

While relatively minor, this is a change that could impact your award booking plans. Make sure that you’re aware of this new segment limitation when searching for your next AAdvantage award booking.

Can you think of an AAdvantage award that’ll be limited by these new rules?

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