Changes to American Airlines Off Peak Awards Coming March 22, 2016

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In November, American Airlines announced a massive devAAluation of its award chart for awards booked on or after March 22, 2016,  negative changes to status, and revenue-based award mile-earning on paid flights.

Let’s take a close look at the changes coming to off peak awards.

What are Off Peak Awards?

American Airlines offers discounted economy Saver awards to many regions of the world during seasons of low demand.

American Airlines does not offer discounted awards in premium cabins or discounts on “AAnytime” (non-capacity controlled) awards.

What Changes Are Coming?

Here is a chart of the changes. The off peak dates that you can book through March 21, 2016 are in the first column. The new off peak dates for bookings from March 22, 2016 are in the second column. The third, fourth, and fifth columns list the changes in the number of days, which partners you can book at the off peak price, and price of an off peak award.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.15.46 PM

Most regions actually see more off peak dates added. The big exceptions (other than Southern South America which had its off peak awards completely eliminated) are Central America and Europe, which saw huge drops in the number off peak dates. Since Europe is where most MileValue readers want to go, I’d call the changes in off peak dates a net negative.

The ability to book partner award space at the off peak price will be gutted on March 22. The only partner off peak awards that will remain will be to Europe. Losing Alaska Airlines award space to Hawaii and Japan Airlines award space to Japan and Korea are important losses.

Most off peak award prices are going up, with the notable exception that off peak awards to Central America are getting cheaper. Here will be the new one way off peak award prices, for bookings made March 22 or later.

  • Caribbean, Mexico, Central America: 12,500 miles
  • Northern South America: 17,500 miles
  • Hawaii: 20,000 miles
  • Europe: 22,500 miles
  • Asia: 32,500 miles

Finally one negative change that didn’t make the chart is that starting March 22, off peak awards must begin or end in the continental United States. Currently they have to start or end in “North America,” which includes the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean. Probably not a huge loss for most, but you will no longer be able to book an off peak award like this.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.36.16 PM

Here is the award chart for American Airlines flights from March 22, 2016 on. Click “Details on award travel” to get the off peak dates.

Bottom Line

Until March 21, 2016, you can book American Airlines off peak awards at their current price under their current rules for travel through February 2017.

On March 22, the rules change. Some regions get more generous dates and prices. Some get less generous dates and prices. Check the chart above to plan to book your dream award.

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

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. You can earn these miles to redeem on the current chart with the current rules.


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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10 COMMENTS

    • I am assuming that if you book under current rules and change under future rules, the future rules will hold.

  1. Living in Mexico, *I* sure didn’t miss the change that limits it to/from the continental US. Planning our Christmas 2016 trip to Japan before the deval hits (25k each way from Vallarta!).

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