You Can Still Book on Old American Airlines Chart with Alaska or Etihad Miles

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Still alive two months later. How long will it last?

On March 22, 2016, the American Airlines devaluation struck.

However, you can still book American Airlines flight at the old prices if you use Alaska or Etihad miles. I don’t know how long this will last, maybe a few days or months, until they notice and ape American’s higher prices.

Let’s back up a little bit.

It just so happens that Alaska Airlines and Etihad Airways, partners of American Airlines, charge the same number of miles for American Airlines flights as American Airlines did until yesterday. Both airlines even allow the booking of off peak awards on the same off peak dates as American allowed until yesterday.

I say “it just so happens” because there is nothing expected or ordinary about this. British Airways, another American Airlines partner never charged the same number of miles for American Airlines flights as American Airlines did, nor did it have discounts for American Airlines off peak awards. As a general rule: different miles, different rules, different chart. But for whatever reason, Alaska and Etihad decided to copy American’s chart when using Alaska or Etihad miles to redeem American flights.

And those copied charts are still in effect today.

Using Alaska Miles

For instance, if you go to alaskaair.com and search for an award to Buenos Aires in May…

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.58.06 PM

…you see a lot of flights for 20,000 miles.Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.59.20 PM Those are the price you would have paid until March 21 for American Airlines off peak awards.Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.59.38 PMThat is particularly amazing because American Airlines did away with off peak awards to Southern South America today. The same award costs 30,000 American Airlines miles today.

Alaska has different charts for every airline to every region. You can find the charts for using Alaska miles to Europe here. American Airlines awards still show yesterday’s generous off peak dates and price instead of today’s less generous dates and 22,500 mile price.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 5.16.43 PM

Using Etihad Miles

Similarly, Etihad’s chart for flying American Airlines flights is the same as it was on March 21 when it matched American Airlines’ old chart.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 5.19.05 PM
EO = off peak, EP = economy, B/F = Business, P = First

Here is a full post on using Etihad miles to book American Airlines flights.

What This Doesn’t Mean

These are Alaska and Etihad charts for flying American Airlines airplanes.

You can NOT use these charts to fly other American Airlines partners. For instance, don’t expect to call Etihad and say, “Hi, I found great award space to Sydney in First Class on aa.com that flies Qantas, and I want to pay 72,500 Etihad miles to book it.” Qantas is a partner of American Airlines, not Etihad. (And if it were a partner of Etihad, it would have its own award chart. The chart in this post is for flying airplanes that say American Airlines on the side.)

Getting Alaska Airlines and Etihad Miles

Thank You Points and Membership Rewards transfer 1:1 to Etihad miles.

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 40,000 ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

SPG Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. Right now the SPG cards have their biggest bonuses ever. The Alaska Airlines credit cards from Bank of America are churnable.

How Long Will This Last?

Etihad and Alaska clearly made conscious decisions to copy American Airlines’ chart (for whatever reason, this is actually unusual.) Now that the AA chart has changed, I assume Etihad’s and Alaska’s charts will change. We will see how long that takes.

If you want to book American Airlines flights, for the moment, you should use Alaska and Etihad 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.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. I am new to this, so dumb question: I have a fair number of AA miles and I am looking into get from MKE to ORD to Barcelona, Madrid, or Bordeaux this July. Most of the dates that work well for me are not “low demand” and I quickly get priced out of the good dates. Is there a way using a partner airline that I could find more available dates at the lower mileage rates? I would appreciate any help.

  2. […] Prior to the their devaluation, American’s under-pricing of awards to Asia relative to its competitors was one of the main reasons that American miles were the best miles to Asia. Now I recommend using Alaska or Etihad miles instead if you have them (SPG and ThankYou Points both transfer 1:1 to Etihad Airways), because you can book awards to Asia with either of those miles at the same prices American had pre-devaluati…. […]

  3. […] The British Airways Visa Signature card comes with 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the card. British Airways Avios are perfect for short, direct, economy flights on British Airways partners that do not levy fuel surcharges like these partners. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card comes with 30,000 Alaska miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Alaska miles are awesome because you can still book pre-American Airlines chart devaluation  prices… […]

  4. […] Prior to their devaluation, American’s under-pricing of awards to Southeast Asia relative to its competitors was one of the main reasons that American miles were the best miles to Southeast Asia. Now I recommend using Alaska or Etihad miles instead if you have them (SPG and ThankYou Points both transfer 1:1 to Etihad Airways), because you can book awards to Asia with either of those miles at the same prices American had pre-devaluati…. […]

  5. If I’m looking to book a First/Biz seat, how can I search for Etihad’s availability of those seats if limiting my aa.com search to MileSAAver economy? What’s your technique for doing that?

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