Last night, American Airlines aligned their frequent flier program with US Airways in eliminating two things:
- Oneworld explorer awards (distance based)
- Free stopover at an international gateway (SFO, MIA, ORD, JFK, LAX), thus essentially eliminating free one-ways from award tickets
In addition, American Airlines has introduced a third tier of AAnytime awards which includes higher mileage redemption. The worst part of all? – This was all done without notice which is really bad for business. Even Delta recently gave us a heads up about their Medallion changes which makes Delta Air Lines look like a good guy. With this said, we can’t argue with American Airlines since their Terms and Conditions does state that “American Airlines may, in its discretion, change the AAdvantage program rules, regulations, travel awards and special offers at any time with or without notice.”
So, what can we learn from the recent American Airlines AAdvantage devaluations?
The simple answer is to earn and burn. Don’t hoard your miles since frequent flyer miles can devalue at any time, even without notice. We’ve seen this with many frequent flier programs changes including Delta, United, and American Airlines.
Instead of hoarding frequent flier miles, save up valuable transferrable point currencies such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints. These three point currencies are consistently holding their value.
Two months ago, I wrote my Predictions for American Airlines Executive Platinum Elites in 2015. I’m afraid that this is the beginning of American Airlines gutting their AAdvantage program. Use your miles quickly and wisely.