Sweet Spots on New Devalued American Airlines Award Chart

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In November 2015, American Airlines announced a massive devaluation of its award chart effective for bookings made March 22, 2016 or later. See my original post for a side-by-side comparison of the current and future charts.

You should try to lock in your travel through February 15, 2017 at current prices by booking by March 21, 2016. (Or lock in prices for later bookings using these methods.)

But if you can’t, let’s take a look at sweet spots on the new American Airlines award chart that takes effect in 27 days.

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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.

Quick aside: Since November, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® have each offered 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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Both offers are scheduled to end on Monday the 29th, five days from now. If you have been thinking about getting these cards, act now!

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From the United States

To Mexico, Caribbean, or Central America

Starting March 22, you can book an off peak economy award to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for only 12,500 miles one way from April 27 to May 20 or September 7 to November 14 each year. That’s extremely cheap. It’s the same price American Airlines and competitors charge for domestic flights.

This is one award that’s actually getting better on the new chart. The dates to Mexico and the Caribbean were expanded, and the price to Central America (which is currently 15k miles on off peak dates) was dropped 17%.

During other dates, these awards are still cheap at 15,000 miles one way.

To Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador

Starting March 22, you can book Business Class to Northern South America for 30,000 miles one way. That’s also the current price.

To Peru, American Airlines flies some planes with flat beds in Business Class (and some with angled flat, check the seat map), and partner LAN flies all of its planes with flat beds in Business Class.

To Europe

Starting March 22, you can book Business Class to Europe for 57,500 miles one way. The current price is 50,000 miles, and this 15% increase is one of the smaller ones.

United and Delta charge 57.5k to 70k miles one way in Business Class to Europe, so this award stays competitive.

To Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay

Starting March 22, you can book Business Class to Southern South America for 57,500 miles one way. The current price is 50,000 miles, and this 15% increase is one of the smaller ones.

United and Delta charge 55k to 62.5k miles one way in Business Class to Southern South America, so this award stays competitive.

To Japan or Korea

Starting March 22, you can book Business Class to Japan or Korea for 60,000 miles one way and First Class for 80,000 miles. The current prices are 50,000 and 62,500 miles respectively. These will be the best value Business and First Class awards from the United States in terms of duration and partner product (Japan Airlines) on the new American Airlines award chart.

United and Delta charge 65k to 80k miles one way in Business Class and 80k to 120k in First Class to Japan and Korean, so these awards are cheaper than the main competitors’.

Awards that Don’t Touch the United States

These awards are most useful for Americans on big or round-the-world trips. All prices listed one way in economy/Business or economy/Business/First:

South America

South America 1 is Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. South America 2 is Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

  • Within South America 1: 10k/20k. International flights in Northern South America can be expensive and LAN has a good route network.
  • South America 1 to South America 2: 12.5k/25k. Singapore charges 12.5k/20k for a one way within South America, which is fantastic, and this is almost as good. Lots of routes on LAN and TAM.
  • Within South America 2: 10k/20k. These are silly cheap prices for an award like Ushuaia, Argentina to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Intra-Ecuador: 5k. Avios awards start at 4,500 Avios for the shortest flights
  • Intra-Peru: 6k. Avios awards start at 4,500 Avios for the shortest flights
  • Intra-Colombia: 6k. Avios awards start at 4,500 Avios for the shortest flights
  • Intra-Argentina: 6k. Avios awards start at 4,500 Avios for the shortest flights
  • Intra-Chile: 6k. Avios awards start at 4,500 Avios for the shortest flights
  • Intra-Brazil: 7.5k. Avios awards start at 4,500 Avios for the shortest flights

Europe, Africa

  • Europe to Africa: 35k/55k/80k. A long flight from South Africa to England on British Airways offers good value for miles if you can swallow the fuel surcharges. Qatar without fuel surcharges is also an option.
  • Intra-Russia: 10k/17.5k. This might be a good deal from extreme west to east with flights on partner S7.
  • Europe to Middle East/India: 20k/42.5k/62.5k. A good price for a long trip from India to England. Look to fly Qantas A380 First Class, Etihad A380 First Class, or British Airways Dreamliner

Middle East, Asia, South Pacific

  • Middle East/India to Europe: 20k/42.5k/62.5k. A good price for a long trip from India to England. Look to fly Qantas A380 First Class, Etihad A380 First Class, or British Airways Dreamliner
  • Middle East/India to Japan/Korea: 22.5k/40k/50k. Look to fly Etihad, Qatar, JAL.
  • Middle East/India to China/SE Asia: 25k/40k/50k. Look to fly Etihad, Qatar, Cathay Pacific.
  • Japan/Korea to China/SE Asia: 20k/30k/40k. Look to fly Cathay Pacific or JAL.
  • Japan/Korea to Australia/New Zealand: 30k/40k/60k. This is a steal for 10 hours in a world-class Japan Airlines First Class product.
  • China/SE Asia to Australia/New Zealand: 30k/40k/50k. Look to fly Cathay Pacific or Qantas.
  • Within China/SE Asia: 17.5k/22.5k/32.5k. Cathay Pacific has many short routes that feature its amazing international First Class.

Bottom Line

There aren’t as many or as good of deals on the American Airlines award chart that takes effect March 22, but there are still some sweet spots. Want 106,000 American Airlines miles to spend on the new award chart?

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.

Since November, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® have each offered 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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Both offers are scheduled to end on Monday the 29th, five days from now. If you have been thinking about getting these cards, act now!


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.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. The sweetest spot is actually for flights from New Zealand to Australia which include the entire continent, so if you fly Auckland to Perth you’re looking at 3323 miles for 10k in economy and just 17.5k in business. Much shorter flights between NZ and East coast cost as much as well as super short intra Australian flights.

  2. […] The cards offer an eye-popping 50,000 bonus miles each after spending $3,000 in the first three months. That’s enough for a roundtrip to Europe or Asia or anywhere nearer. For so little spending and no annual fee the first year, that’s a no-brainer. If you get the cards now, you’ll redeem the miles on the new American Airlines award chart. Here are the sweetspots on it. […]

  3. Looks like with the new chart 4 RTs from US to ME/I that I booked 8 months back, would have cost me 120,000 miles LESS 🙁

    Any way to get a refund on miles 🙂

  4. I tried to apply using your links, I got this error: “Error establishing a database connection” in another browser, worked on one though. Strange.

    Also, Cathay doesn’t list the specific aircraft, so you can’t tell if it’s one-cabin or not, you have to search for an actual paid F seat to see Cathay’s schedule for a 4-cabin plane. Check the info you supplied to Frank above.

  5. I have been trying to get business class from anywhere on the East Coast to Sydney on business class for two people for the last month. Woils go from the West Coast as well. I always see availability but when I called to get it they say they don’t have it. I’m finding this very frustrating any tips would be appreciated.

  6. I am calling because when I see it online and go to book it it says it’s no longer available. They said there’s a glitch with Qantas. I was really trying to get Tampa Dallas and Dallas to Sydney business class . I’m really only concerned about the Dallas Sydney part Being business. I could leave anytime in October. I am very flexible with this. I worry about the return after I get the outgoing flights. Any help would be appreciated

    • Hire my award booking service: milevalue.com/award-booking-service

      It sounds like this is phantom award space, though, that briefly appears online but doesn’t really exist and can’t be booked.

  7. […] The cards offer an eye-popping 50,000 bonus miles each after spending $3,000 in the first three months. That’s enough for a roundtrip to Europe or Asia or anywhere nearer. For so little spending and no annual fee the first year, that’s a no-brainer. If you get the cards now, you’ll redeem the miles on the new American Airlines award chart. Here are the sweetspots on it. […]

  8. Scott,

    Does your award winning booking service accept challenges? I have a friend who is pretty good at this, with open jaws and all. I have often wondered whether you could do better. If I provide you an itinerary with the default assumption of 2 cents a mile would you be interested in seeing if you can save enough miles/dollars to pay for your service? I would expect to pay if you could and not pay if you couldn’t.

  9. There’s a correction that needs to be made. Routes from Europe to Africa via Doha on Qatar Airways will price as two separate awards, unfortunately. It will not be priced as a Europe to Africa award. It will be priced as a Europe to Middle East award plus a Middle East to Africa award. The “Doha exception” does exist regarding the AA rule on transiting via a third region, but unfortunately, not on the Europe to Africa routing. Very stupid!

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