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With the new year, changes are everywhere. American Airlines has some changes they have recently announced, too. Most of the travel rewards programs make regular changes to their programs, so this doesn’t come as a surprise. While some may not affect many people, there are others that may change the way you use your rewards, and for others the changes may be more insignificant. Either way, it’s important to learn about the changes so that you are not surprised when you try to redeem your miles for airline travel rewards.
Changes to Domestic Flights
The major changes to the American Airlines rewards program come in the form of award flights for domestic travel. American Airlines is now offering a low-mileage redemption option which allows travelers to redeem miles for a one-way economy flight for only 7,500 miles. Business class travelers will need to use 15,000 miles for their one-way travel, but this still allows for a great redemption option. Standard flights are going to remain the same, at the current rate of 12,500 miles for a one-way ticket. First class travelers will take the biggest hit, since their flights will go from 32,500 for a one-way ticket to a whopping 50,000 miles one-way.
Going to Hawaii is still a pretty good deal, with a redemption of 20,000 one-way during off-peak travel, and 40,000 miles for anytime travel. For those who have earned sign on bonuses and earn regular miles with spending and other travel earnings, this is still a pretty economical way to get to the Big Island!
There’s Still Time!
These changes will not take effect until late March 22, 2016, so there is still time for you to redeem your miles at the current rate if you are ready to travel. Review the current reward chart and check your account to see if it makes sense for you to take advantage of the current rates before the increases kick in.
Bigger Changes for International Travel
The biggest change that American Airlines AAdvantage members will see will be with international travel. Currently, a business class ticket to Europe will cost 50,000 miles one way, but this will increase to 57,500 miles one way. While this may seem like a big jump, it does match the current market and is pretty competitive with the other programs available.
One of the nice perks that will come with the new American Airlines rewards chart is that getting to Central America and the Caribbean will be easier, because the redemption is actually decreasing by 2,500 miles each way for economy class, and 5,000 each way for business class.
Trips to Asia may be less economical than other travel destinations, as these flights are going from 55,000 to 70,000 miles each way. This is a pretty big increase, and you may want to explore your options if this is where you are trying to go.
American Airlines AAdvantage rewards are still pretty valuable, and the program does still offer terrific travel partners and great flexibility. You can still earn great mileage through travel and everyday spending, so you do have options for earning high mileage numbers to redeem. It will just cost you more to get where you are going. Take advantage of the special deals, off-peak travel opportunities, and airline partner rewards in order to get the most out of your miles. Getting used to the changes takes some time, but, overall, the program is still a good one and still worth using if you are looking for reasonable travel rewards.
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