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This week I have been writing every day about how you have until March 21, 2016 to earn and burn American Airlines miles on its positively cheap award chart before the airline devalues many of its best award prices. You can get in on the fun if you start today, even if you currently have zero American Airlines miles, but you need to get the American Airlines credit cards this week.

I’m talking about booking awards at prices like:

  • 20,000 miles each way in economy to Brazil or Argentina
  • 55,000 miles each way in Cathay Pacific Business Class to Southeast Asia
  • 32,500 miles each way for flat bed First Class from New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco
  • 62,500 miles each way in Business Class to Australia or New Zealand
  • 62,500 miles each way in First Class to Europe
  • 50,000 miles each way in Business Class to Japan, Korea or Mongolia

Below are specific examples of these awards and the availability forecast in 2016 for each of them.

Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro

It currently costs 20,000 miles to fly Economy one way from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro during the off peak window from March 1 – May 31 and August 16 – November 30. Award space is wide open from March through May, and August through November. You can search for this route at aa.com.

LAX to RIO aug-sep

Because off peak awards are being completely axed from the United States to Southern South America, starting March 22, the cheapest you’d be able to book this award is 30,000 miles one way–a 50% increase.

New York to Los Angeles

It currently costs 32,500 miles to fly one way in First Class from New York to San Francisco, a route which features an international-style flat bed. Award space is open nearly every Friday through Monday, mid August thru mid December. You can search for this route at aa.com.

NYC to SFO aug-sept

That price will rise to 50,000 miles one way for bookings made after March 22–a 53% increase.

San Francisco to Sydney

It currently costs 62,500 miles to fly one way in Business Class from San Francisco to Australia or New Zealand. There appears to be an average of five days a month available. You can search for this route at aa.com.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 11.46.14 AM

That price will rise to 80,000 miles one way–a 28% increase.

Chicago to London

It currently costs 62,500 miles to fly one way in First Class to Europe. From mid-March all the way through the rest of the year, there is availability nearly every day! You can search for this route at aa.com.
ORD to LHR may

Much of this award space is in British Airways First Class with big fuel surcharges, but there is also plenty of American Airlines First Class award space to Paris and Madrid.

That price will rise to 85,000 miles one way–a 28% increase.

New York to Hong Kong/SE Asia

It currently costs 55,000 miles to fly Cathay Pacific First Class one way from New York to Hong Kong and everywhere else in Southeast Asia. Cathay Pacific releases tons of Business Class award space 11 months in advance, so this is an award you can lock in for most of 2016. You can search for this route at ba.com.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 6.05.11 PM

 

That price will rise to 70,000 miles–a 27% increase.

Chicago to Tokyo

It currently costs 50,000 miles to fly Japan Airlines or American Airlines Business Class from Chicago to Tokyo. Availability is open pretty much every day from the beginning of April until the end of November. You can search for this route at ba.com to see award space from American Airlines and Japan Airlines. To just see American Airlines space, search aa.com.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 6.17.48 PM

 

That price is rising to 60,000 each way–a 20% increase.

Bottom Line

If you don’t have any miles and you want to book at current prices, do not dally. The time to take action to beat the devAAluation is now. Even waiting a week will ruin this plan.

The  Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

 

Key Links:

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

11

This week I am urging people to get full value from the 50,000 bonus mile offers on both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® by getting and using their bonus miles by March 21.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Unless you live under a rock, you know that American Airlines is devaluing its award chart March 22, 2016. Book by March 21, and you lock in the current cheaper prices no matter when your trip is (with the standard rule that all travel must be completed within one year of ticketing.) Book March 22 or later, and you pay through the nose.

As I’ve mentioned many times, on March 21, you can book awards through about February 15, 2017. So if you know you want to go to Thailand or Australia next January, book it in the next two months to lock in the current price.

That’s all well and good if award space is bookable before the devaluation, but many routes only offer award space in the last few days or weeks before departure. With American Airlines miles, there are many routes/partners that offer much better award space at the last minute:

Say you want to book Cathay Pacific First Class to Hong Kong in September 2016. That award space probably won’t exist until September 2016, after the devaluation. Is there any way to lock in the better, current price for that trip?

Probably, maybe.

What will happen if you book an award on the current award chart and then change the award after March 22?

American Airlines has said: “We have advised our agents that voluntary changes to date/time only will be permitted without forcing new higher/lower award levels, and we’ll have more information once the new award levels are applicable. This means the origin and destination need to remain the same.”

American Airlines has also confirmed that you can change the routing as long as you keep the same award type, origin, and destination.

Changing an award type (eg from MileSAAver to AAnytime) will cause a repricing, but why would you do that?

Changing the cabin of an award will change the award price (eg from economy to First), however there are some nifty workarounds to this.

So what’s the plan to lock in the current award prices for awards you want to fly in late 2016 or early 2017 even if the actual award space won’t open until the last minute?

What to Do If You Can Book Distant Award Space Now

For instance, if you want to fly New York to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific First Class at some point before March 21, 2017 but don’t know when, you can book the route on March 21, 2016 for any random day with award space. Then when you know you want to travel, you can change the booking to your real travel date.

You will probably have to pay a $75 change fee for changes made within 21 days of departure when you change the award, but that’s worth it to pay 67,500 miles (current price) instead of 110,000 miles (future price) for the award.

Example

Book March 21 for your dream date:

  • JFK to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific First Class as far in the future as you can
    Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 6.46.49 PM

You will be charged the First Class price of 67,500 American Airlines miles one way.

Then whenever you figure out when you actually want to take the trip, change the date to your preferred date. If you are within 21 days of departure, you will pay a $75 change fee. If you aren’t, you won’t. In either case, you pay no extra miles because American Airlines said that mere date changes are allowed.

Things get trickier if the award space you want to book is only ever available at the last minute, like Etihad A380 First Class.

What to Do If You Can Only Book Last Minute Award Space Now

Method A:

Say you know you want to fly Etihad A380 First Class from New York to Abu Dhabi in October 2016. Etihad only releases this award space within 72 hours of departure.

If you can tack on another leg with First Class, you can book the big leg in a lesser cabin and change it to a better cabin in the future without repricing the award.

Example

Book today for your dream date:

  • JFK to Abu Dhabi in economy or Business
  • Abu Dhabi to Mumbai in First Class (which is widely available over the next 11 months)Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 6.34.11 PM

You will be charged the First Class price of 90,000 American Airlines miles one way.

Then within a few days of departure, when JFK to Abu Dhabi award space opens up in First Class, you can add it to the award. This does not change the cabin of the award–it was already a First Class award–so the award will not reprice.

Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Qatar, and British Airways all have a decent number of short First Class flights with good award space that you can add to an award to make it a First Class award. Or you can add American Airlines First Class on its three-cabin planes that fly between New York and San Francisco and Los Angeles.

However, adding two-cabin domestic American Airlines First Class to an award will not make it a First Class award because domestic First Class is really–and prices like–Business Class.

Fail:

Book today for your dream date:

  • Austin to JFK in American Airlines First Class
  • JFK to Abu Dhabi in economy or Business

This award will price at the Business Class price because First Class on two-cabin planes is really Business Class when it comes to award bookings. If you change the Etihad leg to First Class within a few days of departure, you are changing the cabin of the award from Business to First Class, and you will be bumped up to the price on the new chart–115,000 miles.

Method A could be an awesome method for you, but it only works in certain circumstances. Method B is more speculative but will work for more circumstances if it works.

Method B:

Say you know you want to fly Etihad A380 First Class from New York to Abu Dhabi in October 2016. Etihad only releases this award space within 72 hours of departure.

You could start searching the route daily for award space within 72 hours of departure. When you find some, book it for 90,000 American Airlines miles + taxes + a $75 fee for booking within 21 days of travel.

Then you could cancel the flights without redepositing the miles. There’s a button to do that on aa.com when you pull up your reservation. This should cost nothing, since you are not redepositing the miles, which would be a $150 fee.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 10.31.00 PM

Then when the date of travel comes up and you find award space for it, you can “change” the award because it still exists since your miles weren’t redeposited. Since it will be within 21 days of departure, you will have to pay another $75.

In this way, you get the trip for the current miles price + taxes + $150. That’s worth it to save the the tens of thousands of miles that some awards are going up in price.

If the award space doesn’t show up on the later date, you can redeposit the miles for $150, meaning you paid $225 in total fees, and don’t even get a trip out of it.

Will either or both of these methods work?

We can’t be 100% certain until the devaluation happens and data points start to come in from people who are making award changes. I am almost certain both plans will work based on American Airlines’ statements and based on our experience with changing United awards after the United devaluation.

What American Airlines says is only as good as their programmers’ skill at making the computer actually operate the way it is supposed to.

Luckily this uncertainty cuts both ways. Maybe their programmers are more generous than planned. We might get lucky and get the United post-devaluation rules: any award made before the February 2014 devaluation could be changed to any other award after the devaluation at the old prices. United said the rule would be like American Airlines says their rule will be, but in practice, the computer was much more generous.

Bottom Line

Plan intelligently by March 21, and you can lock in current American Airlines award prices for quite a big longer, though in all cases travel will need to be completed by March 21, 2017.

You can even use the methods in this post if you have zero miles right now. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

If you get both cards now and meet both minimum spending requirements on the first statement, your 106,000 miles should post in time to take advantage of the current award chart.

Hat Tip One Mile at a Time

Hat Tip Dan’s Deals

Hat Tip View from the Wing

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

  • Anatomy of an Award: India to United States in Etihad and American Airlines First Class for 90,000 AA Miles
  • Trip Report: Etihad Business Class from Chennai to Abu Dhabi
  • Trip Report: Etihad First Class Lounge, Abu Dhabi (Including Shave and Massage)
  • Trip Report: Etihad First Class Apartment from Abu Dhabi to New York: Seat, Suite, Vanity, Amenity Kit, Pajamas, Bed, Sleeping
  • Trip Report: Etihad First Class Apartment from Abu Dhabi to New York: Food, Drink, and Onboard Lounge
  • Trip Report: Etihad First Class Apartment from Abu Dhabi to New York: Shower and Bathroom
  • Trip Report: Etihad First Class Apartment from Abu Dhabi to New York: Service and Wrap Up
  • Trip Report: American Airlines A321 First Class from New York to Los Angeles

I have broken my 15 hour flight from Abu Dhabi to New York into four parts because I had over 200 photos and several videos from the flight. This section covers roughly the first half of the flight and my review of the suite and related amenities.

Etihad 103
Abu Dhabi (AUH) – New York (JFK)
Depart: 3:20 AM on January 27, 2016
Arrive: 9:10 AM
Duration: 14 hours, 50 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 2H (First Class)

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.25.33 PMThis is it. This was my palace for 15 hours from Abu Dhabi to New York.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.25.51 PMI was the last First Class passenger to board about 30 minutes before the scheduled 3:20 AM departure. I was met at the door with a smile and escorted to my seat in the second row of First Class.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.25.58 PM

Etihad has nine First Class Apartments on its A380s spread across four-and-a-half rows  in the front of the upper deck.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 8.08.03 PM

The other half of the first row, across from a First Class Apartment, is the living room of the Residence, which has its own bathroom with shower, and bedroom. The Residence was empty for my flight, so the living room was used for storing carry ons.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.34.27 PM
Residence Living Room, Filled with Carry Ons for My Flight

The nine First Class Apartments alternate between seats near the aisle or seats near the window and forward-facing seats or backward-facing seats. I had a forward-facing seat near the aisle. Next time I would choose a seat near the window for better views during take off and landing. Those seats are lettered A and K.

The Suite

The First Class Apartment is huge and easily the best flying suite in the world. Broadly, it consists of a large seat facing a television, a couch that becomes your bed, and a vanity. The couch/bed takes up the entire width from aisle to window. The seat takes up about half that width.
Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.26.03 PM

The Seat

When seated, you can use the couch as an ottoman to kick up your feet.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.26.09 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.26.15 PMNext to the seat is a touch screen remote control and an area large enough to set a drink and some dates.
Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.26.21 PMOn the other side of the seat is another touch screen to control your seat and the suite’s lights. Below that are physical buttons, yet another way to control the seat’s position and windows.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.27.41 PMThe seat can be reclined, made softer or firmer, and even has a massage feature. I didn’t test any of this out because I spent most of my time in the bed.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.27.46 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.27.52 PMI was only in the seat for take off, landing, and my main meal. While it was very large and plenty comfortable, I prefer to relax and work lying down.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.32.51 PM

The Bed

The bed in the Etihad A380 First Class Apartment is 6’8″ long and 2’6″ wide. It is very large and comfortable. You can ask for a turndown service any time, including before take off. I knew I would want to sleep as soon as we took off, so I asked for and received a turn down while we were still on the ground.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.29.38 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.29.33 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.29.57 PMThe most unique feature of the bed is that you can remove part of the barrier between your apartment and the one next door if you are traveling with a companion.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.29.25 PM

While you cannot exactly snuggle, you can enjoy some pillow talk or a good night kiss. (Compare this to Suites Class on the Singapore A380 where the divider can be completely removed creating a double bed for two.)

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.33.36 PMThe bed has a mattress pad, bedding, a blanket, a large pillow, and a medium pillow. The bed was ideal for sleep, and I immediately conked out for the first half of the flight.

Because my bed was made at take off, I actually hopped in it during our ascent and tried to close the doors to fully enclose the suite. They wouldn’t stay shut, though, until we leveled off.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.31.22 PM

Even after I woke up, I spent most of my time in the bed, watching the television (which can swing out to be viewed in bed), using my laptop, and even getting breakfast in bed before landing.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.29.44 PM

While in the bed, there was another touch screen remote control within reach that I could use to control the television and call for service.

Storage

The suite has several storage areas, though none is big enough for a carry on bag. This is the main weakness of the suite.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.27.02 PM

For smaller, personal-item-sized bags like my laptop bag, there is ample storage under the couch/bed.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.27.08 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.27.28 PM

For other small things you want at hand like your computer or reading materials, there is storage within reach of your seat.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.28.42 PM

But your carry on will not fit in the suite for take off or landing, and there are no overhead bins. Instead, mine was taken and stored in the Residence’s living room since it was empty. When it was taken, I was asked whether I would need the bag back during the flight, and I didn’t. I assume if I had, it would have been brought back after take off to sit on the floor until landing. Certainly there was plenty of room for it there.

Amenties and Vanity

The Emirates A380 First Class Suite has a small vanity with a make up mirror. The Etihad A380 First Class Apartment has a full sized vanity, which is much more impressive. (So impressive in fact, that I had to feign indifference in this photo.)

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.28.21 PM

On one end of your couch, there is a small cabinet that you can open to reveal a three-part mirror. Inside is your amenity kit and some amenities.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.28.27 PMThe amenity kit actually contains only ear plugs and a sleeping aid that you are supposed to roll onto pulse points to relax yourself.

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The rest of the amenities you’d normally find in an amenity kit line the vanity.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.28.31 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.28.37 PMOther amenities of the suite include noise-cancelling headphones…
Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.28.02 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.28.15 PM

…which plug in via magnet not prongs…

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.32.02 PM

…pajamas, and slippers.

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The PJs and slippers were very comfortable. I put the pajamas on before take off and took them off about 30 hours later when I woke up from a nap in Los Angeles.

Bottom Line & How You Can Book Your Own Etihad Apartment

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Apartment 2H on the Etihad A380.
Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.35.32 PMThe Etihad First Class Apartments are without a doubt the nicest, largest flying suites. Everything is meticulously designed for extreme comfort.

I love that the seat and bed are separate, so that you can have both ready at all times. I was very impressed by how the television was easily visible from either spot, and how each spot had a touch screen remote control.

I would suggest selecting a window seat for better views on take off and landing and to select two adjacent suites if traveling with a companion, so you can remove part of the partition between the suites while you sleep.

In May 2015, I booked my suite for 90,000 American Airlines miles + $39 (including Business Class from India to Abu Dhabi and American Airlines First Class from New York to Los Angeles.). The same award will cost 115,000 miles if booked March 22, 2016 or later. If you can book by March 21, you can lock in the current price for travel through February 2017.

You can even book this award at current prices if you have zero miles right now.

Get both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, which are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

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Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement in the next three months to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Key Links:

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

25

Today is February 9, 2016. You have until March 21, 2016 to earn and burn American Airlines miles on its positively cheap award chart. You can get in on the fun if you start today, even if you currently have zero American Airlines miles.

I’m talking about booking awards like:

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.55.33 PM
Etihad First Class from 40,000 Miles
  • 20,000 miles each way in economy to Brazil or Argentina
  • 40,000 miles each way in Etihad First Class or Qantas First Class from Europe to the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, or Maldives.
  • 67,500 miles each way in Cathay Pacific First Class to Southeast Asia
  • 32,500 miles each way for flat bed First Class from New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco

All of these awards, and many more, go way up in price in just over four months, but you can earn the miles and book them before March 22, 2016 to lock in these incredible prices for travel in 2016 or early 2017. Here is the timeline:

  1. Today: Get the cards
  2. Next one month: Meet the minimum spending requirements to unlock the sign up bonuses
  3. By March 21: Book award travel at current rates for travel in 2016 or early 2017
  4. 2016 or early 2017: Take a dream vacation

Today: Get the Cards

I’d get both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, which are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement in the next three months to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Next One Month: Meet the Cards’ Minimum Spending Requirements

Although the fine print on the credit card applications say otherwise, the experience of people who have gotten American Airlines cards from Citi is that you get the bonus miles the day your statement closes on which you meet your minimum spending requirement or a day or two later.

That means if you get the cards today, you can take two months to meet the minimum spending requirements, and you should get your miles by mid-March 2016, which is a week or so before the devaluation.

March 2016: Book Award Travel at Current Rates

Once you have the miles, you must book your awards by March 21, 2016. Travel can be booked up to 330 days in advance, so you can travel through February 15, 2017 if you book on March 21, 2016.

Once booked, the flights are locked in at the price you paid. However, if you need to make later changes, American may charge you extra miles based on the price of the future award chart.

Here are my guides on redeeming American Airlines miles:

2016 or Early 2017: Take Your Dream Trip

Following the first three steps beats the devaluation and will allow you to enjoy a dream trip sometime in 2016 or early 2017, secure in the knowledge that you paid a much lower price than people who don’t follow my advice.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 1.42.22 AM
Cathay Pacific First Class from 67,500 Miles

Bottom Line

Do not dally. The time to take action to beat the devAAluation is now. Even waiting a week will ruin this plan.

Key Links:

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

8

For a few months, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® have each been offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Many MileValue readers have gotten both, met both minimum spending requirements, and banked a cool 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

I don’t know of any end date for the offers themselves, but I consider this the last week to get full value from the offers. Why?

If you get the cards right now, you can meet their minimum spending requirements in the first month and hopefully have your American Airlines miles post by March 21, 2016. If that happens, you can redeem your American Airlines miles on the current award chart for travel through February 15, 2017.

However, if you get your cards in a few weeks, your first statement won’t close until March 22, 2016 or later. You usually get the miles at the same time your credit card statement closes on which you met the spending requirement, so you’d get your miles after the big March 22 devaluation. While you’d still get 50,000 bonus miles per card, you’d have to redeem them on a way worse award chart, missing out on “full value” from the miles that you can get until March 21.

Here are some price increases from March 21 to March 22:

  • (Cathay Pacific) First Class to China and Southeast Asia: from 67,500 to 110,000 miles
  • (Etihad) First Class to the Middle East, Egypt, Maldives, and Indian Subcontinent: from 90,000 to 115,000 miles
  • Off Peak economy to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile: from 20,000 to 30,000 miles
  • (Qantas or American Airlines) Business Class to Australia or New Zealand: from 62,500 to 80,000 miles
  • First Class to Europe: from 62,500 to 80,000 miles

And there are many, many more examples.

I’ll have more posts on the topic of beating the American Airlines devaluation this week because I consider this the last week to get full value from two of my favorite credit card offers:

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

LAN Airlines is introducing a new nonstop flight between Los Angeles and Santiago, Chile three times per week between October 16, 2016 and March 25, 2017, the South American summer. Normally LAN is extremely stingy with Business Class award space, but right now there are up to seven Business Class awards per flight that you can book for only 50,000 American Airlines miles.Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.15.36 AM

There are great connection options to the rest of Chile and Southern South America.

  • How good is LAN Business Class?
  • Where does LAN fly?
  • How many miles do you need and why is this such a good deal?
  • How can you search for and book the award space?
  • How can you get American Airlines miles?

How good is LAN Business Class?

LAN Business Class on its 787 Dreamliner is a world-standard flat bed with six seats per row in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 10.41.29 AM

In that configuration, I always recommend a middle seat, so you and the person next to you both have aisle access without having to climb over each other.Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 10.41.37 AM

How Many Miles Does the Award Cost?

For awards booked by March 21, American charges only 50,000 miles one way in Business Class between the United States and Southern South America

These awards go up to 57,500 miles one way if booked March 22 or later.

How Can You Search and Book the Award Space?

Search on ba.com. For the moment–very likely to change very soon–there is excellent award space from October through December 2016 on nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Santiago in both directions.
Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.59.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.59.50 AM

Note that this post is about LA603. LA601 is a “direct” flight with a stop in Lima.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.00.01 AM

This flight operates three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday from Los Angeles and Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday returning to Los Angeles.

There are as many as seven Business Class award seats on the same flight.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.59.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.06.27 AMAs chance would have it, I am in Santiago at the moment. It is the cleanest, wealthiest, safest-feeling city in South America in my extensive experience on the continent. But it’s also a little boring, lagging way behind the culture of Buenos Aires or the food of Peru. So I don’t think I’ll be back any time soon. I’d use this award space to connect somewhere else in Chile or Southern South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia on AA’s chart.)

Here is a connection to Punta Arenas, the launching point for the best trek of my life: the W (not the hotel) at Torres del Paine.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.59.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.11.36 AMHere is award space to Puerto Montt, where I haven’t been.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.59.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.13.45 AM

You could also easily connect this award space to Sant Cruz, Bolivia (high on my list) or the in-town airport in Buenos Aires.

Note the date, cabin, and flight number of the award space you like. If necessary, pair it with American Airlines or Alaska Airlines domestic award space you search on aa.com as part of a segment-by-segment searching strategy. Once you’ve found all your space, call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 to book the award by feeding the agent the date, cabin, and flight number of each flight. There is no longer a phone booking fee to book awards that cannot be booked at aa.com, so you’ll just pay the miles plus about $100 in taxes for a roundtrip to Chile.

Alternatively, instead of booking now, you can put the award space on hold for five days for free when you call American Airlines.

How Can You Get American Airlines Miles?

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Bottom Line

Book–or put on hold–LAN Business Class award space to South America today with your American Airlines miles. LAN is normally very stingy with its flat bed award space to South America, so book it or put it on hold today, and plan your trip to South America for its summer 2016/2017 while your friends are stuck in winter.

Hat Tip One Mile at a Time

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

1

American Airlines starts flying between Los Angeles and Auckland daily on June 23, 2016 with a Dreamliner. The American Airlines Dreamliner has no First Class, but Business Class features flat beds in a 1-2-1 configuration so every seat has aisle access.

While American Airlines has sold tickets on the route for months, it hadn’t, until today, released any Saver Business Class award space.

Today it opened a ton of space, 2+ award seats in both directions for months at a time. Unfortunately that lasted about 30 minutes.

This is the current award space picture as of 10:10 AM ET.

Five total days of Business Class award space for 2+ people from Los Angeles to Auckland between June and December 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.07.13 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.07.25 PMFifteen total days of Business Class award space for 2+ people from Auckland to Los Angeles between June and December 2016. Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.08.17 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.08.26 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.08.35 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.08.46 PMHopefully the better award space from an hour ago returns, but at least this is something.

This fits American Airlines’ pattern from the last week of opening up a lot more international premium cabin award space on its own flights, something that hopefully continues through March 22, 2016 when award prices go way up.

Want to go to Australia or New Zealand with American Airlines miles? Here’s the bible on that.

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Japan Airlines has released incredible First Class award space from the United States to Tokyo and beyond that you can book for only 62,500 American Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 5.29.36 AM

Between Chicago or New York and Tokyo, two First Class suites are available with miles on most flights for the next six weeks.

  • How good is Japan Airlines First Class?
  • Where does Japan Airlines fly?
  • How many miles do you need and why is this such a good deal?
  • How can you search for and book the award space?
  • How can you get American Airlines miles?

How good is Japan Airlines First Class?

Japan Airlines First Class on its 777-300ER is a world class flat bed enclosed in a suite.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 5.29.48 AM

The 777-300ER is the plane on Japan Airlines’ New York and Chicago routes, which have the great award space.

How Many Miles Does the Award Cost?

For awards booked by March 21, American charges only:

  • 62,500 miles one way in First Class between the United States and Japan or Korea
  • 67,500 miles one way in First Class between the United States and the rest of East and Southeast Asia

These awards go up to 80,000 and 110,000 miles one way if booked March 22 or later.

You cannot book this award space as part of a single award to India. That violates American Airlines routing rules, so your trip would be two awards: United States to Japan and Japan to India.

How Can You Search and Book the Award Space?

Search on ba.com. For the moment–very likely to change very soon–there is excellent award space for the next six weeks on the Japan Airlines flights to and from the Chicago and New York in First Class.

These calendars are Award Nexus searching ba.com. “NRT-JFK” means there is award space that day for two people in First Class on the listed route.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 8.06.27 PMAward space is pretty good on the New York route (above) and really good on the Chicago route (below.)Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 8.06.40 PM

While the calendars show all days with at least two seats available, many days have more seats available like this day with four First Class seats available.
Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 3.20.39 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 3.20.44 PM

Note the date, cabin, and flight number of the award space you like. If necessary, pair it with American Airlines or Alaska Airlines domestic award space you search on aa.com as part of a segment-by-segment searching strategy. Once you’ve found all your space, call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 to book the award by feeding the agent the date, cabin, and flight number of each flight. There is no longer a phone booking fee to book awards that cannot be booked at aa.com, so you’ll just pay the miles plus about $50 in taxes for a roundtrip to Japan.

Alternatively, instead of booking now, you can put the award space on hold for five days for free when you call American Airlines.

How Can You Get American Airlines Miles?

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Bottom Line

Book–or put on hold–Japan Airlines First Class award space to Asia today with your American Airlines miles. Japan Airlines First Class suites are world class, American Airlines’ chart to Asia is way underpriced, and 2-4 First Class award seats on most flights for the next six weeks between the Chicago/New York and Japan will not last.

Hat Tip View from the Wing

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6

In Where to Search Award Space for All American Airlines Partners, I suggest searching Qantas award space on aa.com because aa.com displays Qantas award space.

Don’t search Qantas award space on aa.com, at least for the moment.

For a month or so, Qantas award space has not displayed properly at aa.com. I noticed this today and then found several FlyerTalkers talking about it in a thread about redeeming American Airlines miles for Qantas flights.

Proof

Right now, you can go to ba.com and see that Los Angeles to Brisbane on December 13 has one Business Class award seat.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 6.56.57 PM

That seat does not appear on aa.com. In fact, no award space from Los Angeles to Brisbane on the direct Qantas flight is showing up for the month around December 13. We know that because the ability to filter results for non-stop only isn’t even available on the left side of the calendar where it normally is.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.17.32 PM

You can put on hold and book the space that is on ba.com. For instance, I put this space on the hold that didn’t appear on aa.com.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 6.55.10 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 6.55.16 PM

What FlyerTalkers Say

Here is the pertinent part of the Using / Redeeming AA miles on Qantas (QF) thread:

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.25.40 PM

Congrats to them for uncovering it first. FlyerTalkers usually do.

The bottom line is that the proof above is not an isolated incident. There is a major problem with aa.com not displaying Qantas award space. However American Airlines phone agents can book Qantas award space, and you can search it properly on other websites.

Bottom Line

Don’t search Qantas award space on aa.com for the time being. Search it on ba.com, qantas.com, or Expert Flyer and call American Airlines to book the award space. Ask that the phone fee be waived since the award space wasn’t bookable online.

Now is a great time to book Qantas premium cabin award space to Australia or New Zealand. It is relatively plentiful (compared to how it has been in the past), and is going way up in price on March 22. So lock in your Summer 2016/2017 travel to Australia or New Zealand before then.

Current prices to Australia:

  • 37.5k AA miles one way in economy
  • 62.5k AA miles one way in Business
  • 72.5k AA miles one way in First

Book March 22 or later to Australia:

  • 40k AA miles one way in economy
  • 80k AA miles one way in Business
  • 110k AA miles one way in First

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

0

American Airlines is offering a 10% discount and 42,500 bonus miles  on the purchase of miles through February 8, 2016.Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.05.56 PMYou can now buy 142,500 American Airlines miles including bonus for $2,884 or 2.02 cents each.

The bonus miles are tiered, based on how many miles you purchase. The best deals are to buy 75k + 30k or 100k + 42.5k.Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.06.00 PM

 

American Airlines miles cost 2.95 cents each plus a 7.5% excise tax, and every purchase has a $30 processing fee. The cheapest per-mile price comes from purchasing 100,000 American Airlines miles + 42,500 bonus miles for $2,884.Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.07.20 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.07.13 PM

That works out to getting 142,500 miles for 2.02 cents each. Last year we saw a sale that offered American Airlines miles for 1.81 cents each.

Of course instead of spending any money to buy miles you could get the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, which are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Math

The cheapest miles cost 2.02 cents each during this promotion, and that requires shelling out $3,200+. I value American Airlines miles around 1.8 cents each, so there is no way I would buy these miles speculatively for 2.02 cents. The only way it could possibly make sense to buy miles at these prices is if you had an immediate high value use for them.

Possible high value uses are off peak international awards like 20,000 miles one way to Europe and partner First Class awards like Cathay Pacific First Class to Southeast Asia for 67,500 miles.

To figure out if you have a high value use, use this simple expression:

(A – B) / (C + D)

  • A: Value of the award. Important: this is the lesser of the cash price and your subjective value.
  • B: Taxes on the award
  • C: Miles used on the award
  • D: Miles you would earn if you purchased the award ticket with cash

This will spit out the dollar value you are getting for your miles. If that number is greater than 0.0202, put your dream award on a free five day hold with American Airlines, then buy miles during this promotion, and book the held award. Otherwise, don’t buy.

Devaluation

I really don’t see much need to add a special note about the upcoming hugely negative changes to American Airlines’ award chart on March 22. They shouldn’t affect mileage purchasers, since I just mentioned in the last paragraph to only buy miles for an award you have on hold and are ready to book.

But for the sake of thoroughness, definitely make sure you use any purchased miles by March 21. (“Use” means “book.” You can fly the booked award any time in 2016 or early 2017.)

Buy AAdvantage Miles with These Credit Cards

AAdvantage miles purchases are processed directly by American Airlines. That’s great news!

It means you can buy them with your Citi Prestige® Card, and its $250 Air Travel Credit will refund you the first $250 of the purchase price of the miles (plus you’ll earn 4x ThankYou Points on the first $250 of the miles purchase.)

It means you can purchase American Airlines miles with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, then use your Arrival miles for an offsetting statement credit.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 5.54.18 PM

Bottom Line

You can buy 142,500 American Airlines for $2,884 or 2.02 cents each. That’s too high to buy speculatively. Hopefully cheaper sales come along.

The American Airlines miles sales are processed by American Airlines itself, so you can get category bonuses on cards that bonus airline or travel purchases like my latest card, the Citi Prestige® Card which offers 3x on purchases from airlines, or you can use your Arrival Plus to get American Airlines miles for zero cash.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

American Airlines is releasing a ton of flat bed Business and First Class award space to Paris for two people for Summer 2016. American flies from seven cities to Paris daily over the summer, with easy connections to the seven cities.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.51.34 PM

Act Now to Save Miles

Right now the awards cost 50,000 miles per person per direction in Business Class or 62,500 miles in First Class. Business Class awards go up in price to 57,500 American Airlines miles one way on March 22, 2016, and First Class goes up to 85,000 miles one way. But you can lock in your Summer vacation now at the current price. United and Delta charge 57,500 to 70,000 miles for a Business Class award to Europe. United charges 80,000 or 110,000 miles one way to Europe.

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement in the first month to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles before the devaluation. That’s enough for a roundtrip in Business Class to anywhere in Europe on a flat bed.

Product

Philadelphia and Charlotte use US Airways A330s, which have a nice flat bed Business Class in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone.

New York and Chicago have refurbished 777s and 767s respectively with flat bed Business Class in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Miami and Dallas have un-refurbished 777s with angled Business Class, but flat bed First Class that I’ve reviewed before.

 

Boston is the route to avoid. It is served by an old 757 with angled seats in Business Class and no First Class.

Award Space

 

All the calendars below show award space for two people on direct American Airlines flights. There are no fuel surcharges and the roundtrip taxes are $124 per person.

New York to Paris

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 1.55.42 PM

Paris to New York

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 1.55.10 PMChicago to Paris

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.00.31 PMParis to Chicago

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.01.18 PM

Philadelphia to Paris

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.05.47 PMParis to PhiladelphiaScreen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.05.52 PM

Miami to Paris

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.15.35 PMParis to MiamiScreen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.15.39 PM

Dallas to Paris

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.08.35 PMParis to DallasScreen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.08.39 PM

Boston to Paris (avoid, not flat bed)
Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.10.30 PMParis to Boston (avoid, not flat bed)Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.10.33 PM

Charlotte to Paris

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.13.28 PMParis to CharlotteScreen Shot 2016-02-01 at 2.13.37 PM

 

Connections

If you don’t live at an American Airlines hub, you can still take advantage of this space. You can tack Economy, Business, or First Class MileSAAver award space onto these international flights for zero extra miles.

If you don’t want to go to Paris, or you want to fly an open jaw award, this space is still useful. American Airlines partners British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, and S7 have tons of flights from Paris to the rest of Europe.

Booking the Award

You can book these awards right on aa.com. Pay the taxes and surcharges with your Citi Prestige® Card.

The Citi Prestige® Card offers a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year that offsets your first $250 in spending on airlines with the card. Taxes on an award ticket definitely count.

The card also comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, which can be transferred to 12 types of airline miles or used like cash toward the purchase of any ticket.

Getting the Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Bottom Line

Book your Summer 2016 trip to Paris or anywhere else in Europe with fantastic flat bed award space in American Airlines Business or First Class.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

I tweeted this deal first from @MileValueAlerts. Follow @MileValueAlerts on Twitter and follow these directions to get a text message every time I tweet from that account. I tweet from @MileValueAlerts only a few times a month because it is designed to be used only for the best and most limited-time deals–like mistake fares–so that you aren’t bombarded by text messages.

Award space on American Airlines flights has been terrible for months if not years. However, in the last 24 hours, international Business and First Class award space has increased by at least 10 times on routes to all parts of the world.

Act now!

Search the routes that interest you and either book the award space or put it on a free five day hold.

Why now?

I don’t expect award space this good to stick around, although I am hopeful that it won’t go back to the lack of award space we saw before yesterday.

If you don’t have any American Airlines miles, right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement in the first month to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles before the March 22 devaluation. On March 21, 2016, you can book travel through February 15, 2017 that is “locked in” at current prices and will not be affected by the subsequent devaluation.

Selected Charts

These are just to give you a sampling of the award space, which is greatly improved on every chart I checked.

Los Angeles <-> Sydney

This route used to have no Business or First Class space, then just space in the last few days. Now it has available space. It is flown by American’s best plane (the 777-300ER.)

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.57.07 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.57.19 AM Hong Kong <-> Dallas

Also flown by the 777-300ER, also used to have little space. Now there is space nearly every day in Business and First Class over some months.Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.58.32 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.58.37 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.58.43 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.58.48 AM Miami <-> Buenos Aires

This route used to have no space until the last month before departure. Now space is wide open, and this route also gets the 777-300ER starting in April.Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.59.33 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 7.59.37 AM Los Angeles <-> London

Another route with the 777-300ER showing great award space in flat bed Business Class.Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 8.17.17 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 8.18.14 AM

 

Bottom Line

There is a deluge of award space on American Airlines’ international flights in premium cabins. This started yesterday, and no one knows whether it is permanent or temporary. Hedge against it being a glitch by putting award space on hold right now.

The timing couldn’t be better, since we have only 52 days left to book awards at current awesome prices for travel through February 2017. On March 22, awards go way up in price.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Let’s talk about how to use American Airlines miles for awards to Australia and New Zealand. American Airlines miles have access to incredible economy award space to Australia and New Zealand and to some of the best First Class space in the world that flies down under.

Fireworks in Sydney over NYE. Source:
Fireworks in Sydney over NYE

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

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Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles. You can earn these miles to redeem on the current chart with the current rules, which are in effect until March 21, 2016. On March 21, 2016, you can book travel through February 15, 2017 that is “locked in” at current prices and will not be affected by the subsequent devaluation. Starting March 22, American Airlines will have a new worse award chart.

If you find this guide to redeeming the most valuable miles in the world to be useful and want to apply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, please use my links. The commission is what allows me to dedicate the time to writing this series.

“Redeeming American Airlines Miles” Series Index

Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are part of the South Pacific region on American Airlines’ award chart. This post only focuses on Australia and New Zealand. Some of the Pacific Islands will be covered in a future post. Here are all the places in the South Pacific:

  • Australia
  • Easter Island
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Republic of Tonga
  • Republic of Vanuatu
  • American Samoa
  • Samoa

The Partners for Australia and New Zealand Awards

As I noted in the post on American Airlines award routing rules, awards to Australia and New Zealand must fly directly from North America to the South Pacific region. They cannot transit East Asia. That would break the trip into two awards and increase the miles price.

American Airlines partners with direct flights to the Australia and New Zealand from North America:

  • American Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Hawaiian

Other American Airlines partners with on which you can reach Australia and New Zealand on a single award:

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Fiji Airways

Air Tahiti Nui and Fiji Airways aren’t all that useful to Australia and New Zealand because no connections of longer than 24 hours are allowed on American Airlines awards. If you want to stop in Fiji on the way to Australia, use Alaska miles instead.

Award space on American, Qantas, and Hawaiian is searchable on aa.com. Here’s how to search aa.com.

Award space on Air Tahiti Nui is searchable on Expert Flyer. Here’s how to search Expert Flyer.

Award space on Fiji Airways is searchable on alaskaair.com. Here’s how to search alaskaair.com.

Pricing

From North America to the Australia and New Zealand, American Airlines charges:

  • 37,500 miles one way in economy
  • 62,500 miles one way in Business Class
  • 72,500 miles one way in First Class

Compared to competitors, American charges much cheaper prices!

  • Economy: United charges 40k, Delta charges 45k or 50k depending on the date
  • Business: United charges 70k or 80k, Delta charges 80k or 95k
  • First: United charges 80k or 130k, Delta miles cannot book First Class

Routes & Award Space

American flies from:

  • Los Angeles to Sydney
  • Los Angeles to Auckland (starting June 23, 2016)

Qantas flies from:

  • Los Angeles to Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne
  • Dallas to Sydney
  • San Francisco to Sydney
  • Honolulu to Sydney
  • New York-JFK to Los Angeles to Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne

Hawaiian flies from:

  • Honolulu to Auckland, Sydney, and Brisbane
Award Space on Hawaiian

The Hawaiian Airlines routes have uniformly excellent availability in economy for two passengers. However American Airlines no longer allows you to book from the United States mainland to Asia or Australia on a single award that flies Hawaiian Airlines from Hawaii to Asia or Australia.

You will have to pay two awards: your home to Hawaii plus Hawaii to Australia. That will be very expensive, so ignore Hawaiian award space unless you live in Hawaii.

 

Award Space on Qantas

Qantas runs three-cabin planes with economy, Business (trip report), and First. Economy award space for two passengers is excellent on all routes for most of the year except the San Francisco to Sydney route at the moment. I never see Business or First Class space for two passengers on the same Qantas flight between the United States and Australia. Occasionally there is one award seat in Business or First Class, but even these are extremely rare.

Los Angeles to Melbourne typifies the excellent award space on Qantas flights in economy for two passengers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.19.38 AM

 

Business Class award space on Qantas between the United States and Australia is rare, but it exists if you’re traveling solo.

 

First Class award space is even rarer. I sometimes see it like these seats that were available for booking in February 2015 for October 2015 travel, but I don’t see any at the moment.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 1.37.44 AM

It is a shame because Qantas First Class looks awesome!

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.33.16 PM

Award Space on American

There is literally zero MileSAAver award space in any cabin in either direction on the Los Angeles to Auckland flight from American Airlines that launches in June.

 

From Los Angeles to Sydney, there is decent economy award space.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.28.43 AM

We also see American Airlines release Business Class award space within a week of departure, and now even some days where you can book it in advance.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.26.31 AM

Another American Airlines Option to Australia

I can’t mention Australia with American Airlines miles and not mention Etihad’s First Class Apartments from Abu Dhabi to Sydney.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.27.11 PM

For only 60,000 American Airlines miles, you can get about 14 hours in the world’s nicest First Class. Getting to Abu Dhabi would require a different award.

Read my full write up in Amazing Award Space for Two on Nicest First Class in the World? 14 Hours in Etihad A380 First Class for 60,000 Miles.

Bottom Line

American Airlines are fantastic to get to Australia and New Zealand in economy. There is almost zero premium cabin award space.

Awards to Australia are cheap, especially in Business and First Class if you can snag those rare seats.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

1

American Airlines is releasing a ton of flat bed Business Class award space to Europe for two people for Summer 2016.

Act Now to Save Miles

This award space is easy to connect to from anywhere in the United States. Right now the awards cost 50,000 miles per person per direction. Business Class awards go up in price to 57,500 American Airlines miles one way on March 22, 2016, but you can lock in your Summer vacation now at the current price. United and Delta charge 57,500 to 70,000 miles for a Business Class award to Europe.

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

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Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement in the first month to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles before the devaluation. That’s enough for a roundtrip in Business Class to anywhere in Europe on a flat bed.

Product

The award space I will focus on is from Los Angeles and Charlotte to London.

The Los Angeles route flies American Airlines’ new 777-300ERs, which have only four seats per row in Business Class in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout.

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 7.15.52 PM
777-300ER Business Class Bed

The Charlotte route flies the old US Airways’ A330s, but they also only have four seats per row in Business Class in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout.

The Los Angeles product is marginally nicer, but both are great flat beds.

Award Space

Award space is good from Los Angeles <-> London and Charlotte <-> London on American Airlines flights this Summer. The calendars in this section are for two award seats on direct American Airlines flights.

I wanted to isolate American Airlines flights to avoid the nasty fuel surcharges you pay when redeeming American Airlines miles for British Airways flights. I did that by selecting “American Airlines and American Eagle” at the bottom of the search page.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 6.57.04 AM

Los Angeles to London

The best award space is mid-July and September.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 6.57.30 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-28 at 6.59.28 AMIf you are willing to connect, there is award space on even more days.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 6.57.37 AM

London to Los Angeles

The best award space is in May.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.00.16 AMCharlotte to London

The best award space is in July and August.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.05.46 AMLondon to Charlotte

The best award space is in late August.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.06.19 AM

Connections

If you don’t live in Charlotte or Los Angeles, you can still take advantage of this space. Those are two huge hubs for American Airlines with flights to most of the country. You can tack on Economy, Business, or First Class MileSAAver award space onto these international flights for zero extra miles.

If you don’t want to go to London, or you want to fly an open jaw award, this space is still useful. American Airlines partners British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, and S7 have tons of flights from London to the rest of Europe.

Award Prices (Including Taxes and Fees)

When you see “London,” your first thought should be about taxes and fuel surcharges. The big taxes are for departing London. The big fuel surcharges are for flying British Airways across the Atlantic. Both things are easy to avoid to limit the out-of-pocket cost of travel to Europe.

A one way Business Class ticket from the United States to London on American Airlines costs 50,000 miles + $5.60.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.14.48 AMA one way Business Class return from London costs 50,000 miles + $284.Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.15.54 AMIf you want to connect in London to a British Airways flights, taxes and fuel surcharges stay reasonable. Connecting to Munich has $60 in taxes and a $40 fuel surcharge for $100 total.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.33.11 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.33.16 AMThis should give you an idea for how to lower the taxes in your trip. Do an open jaw and see two or more cities in Europe. Start the return on the continent. Even if you fly from a high tax country and fly British Airways to London, you save about $100 in taxes and fees.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.44.22 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.44.26 AMIf you start in a low tax country, like Helsinki, and fly a no-surcharge partner, like Finnair, you’ll save over $200.

Booking the Award

You can book these awards right on aa.com. Pay the taxes and surcharges with your Citi Prestige® Card.

The Citi Prestige® Card offers a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year that offsets your first $250 in spending on airlines with the card. Taxes on an award ticket definitely count.

The card also comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, which can be transferred to 12 types of airline miles or used like cash toward the purchase of any ticket.

Getting the Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Bottom Line

Book your Summer 2016 trip to London or anywhere else in Europe with fantastic flat bed award space in American Airlines Business Class.

Hat Tip View from the Wing

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

One of the main reasons why people who don’t know how miles work think that miles are a scam is because they searched award space in the wrong place! For instance, they wanted to use American Airlines miles and searched AA.com. While that sounds logical, that’s often the wrong place to search. BA.com is often the better place to search.

Knowing how to use BA.com is crucial for making award bookings with British Airways Avios and American Airlines AAdvantage miles. As I noted in Where to Search Award Space for All American Airlines Partners, there are many AA partners that are searchable on ba.com but not aa.com.

BA.com shows space on airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, S7, SriLankan, and TAM, which is all of Oneworld. Note that BA.com does not show its non-Oneworld partners like Aer Lingus and Alaska Airlines.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 8.23.23 PM

How Do You Search BA.com for Award Availability?

First, you need to sign up for the British Airways Executive Club to be able search. The link is on the top right of ba.com.

ba.com

Next, you must log in.

After logging in, you will be taken to a page that displays your account information. Along the left side of the screen is a box with a drop down menu where you must select “Book with Avios.”

drop down british

Directly below this box is another box where you type in the details of your potential award trip. The Class dropdown doesn’t matter much because award space in three cabins is shown on the results screen. Segment-by-segment searching is often the best way to yield positive results.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 8.36.45 PM

If you’ve selected a route British Airways flies, a screen will pop up asking if you want a stopover. Always select “no.” Because of the way Avios awards price, there is never an advantage to booking a stopover.

no stopovers

Once you select “no” or if you’ve queried a route not served by British Airways, you’ll be brought directly to results.

british results

The results are displayed by airline. British Airways is at the top. Next are direct flights on any airlines. Finally, connecting itineraries are shown.

If your day comes back with no results, you can click on the nearby dates one at a time on the tab at the top of the results screen or move one week at a time.

week ba

To get more info on a flight, click the linked flight number, and a new window will open with pertinent info including the aircraft and flight duration.

ba pop up

To see the price of an award including taxes and fees, bubble in the class you want to fly in.

ba select

The price in Avios plus the cost of all taxes/fees/fuel surcharges will be displayed in red. Underneath will be a link to see more pricing options if you would like to pay fewer Avios in exchange for more cash.

pricing options

For more information and analysis on Cash & Avios options available on Avios award bookings, see Cash & Avios Analysis.

The old version of BA.com used to show you price breakdown of the dollar amount, but the updated site does not. You can put your desired award flight info into ITA Matrix for those details instead. Read this prior post to learn how to use ITA matrix to view and translate the price breakdown of a ticket.

If you want to book the award you found with Avios, enter your credit card info, and you are all set. If you want to book the itinerary with American Airlines miles, note the flight dates, numbers, cabins, and taxes. Call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 and feed the agents the flights you found.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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