American Airlines changes its rewards program

American Airlines announced on Tuesday that they have made changes to its AAdvantage loyalty program, adjusting how travelers can earn rewards miles and what it will take to redeem them. Under the new rules, which will take effect in March, certain types of flights, such as first and business class trips to Europe will require more miles than they did before.

After the merger between AA and US Airways was completed, these changes were probably expected by many that use the program.

So what does it mean for you?

One of the biggest changes is that customers will now earn rewards miles based on how much they pay for their flights and not how far they travel. In the move, American joins other major airlines including United, Delta and Southwest, which all issue rewards miles based on how much travelers spend.

The amount of miles needed to book economy class tickets has stayed the same to/from a lot of regions (especially the U.S) but travelers will generally need more miles to book coveted first-class or business class seats they might otherwise struggle to afford.

Australia to Europe is currently 120,000 miles return in Business Class and 150,000 miles in First Class. The new changes sees Aus/Europe jump up to 170,000 miles return for Business and a whopping 230,000 miles return in First Class.

Australia to Asia still will offer some decent value at 80,000 miles return for Business and 100,000/120,000 return in First (depending on what part of Asia you’re flying to).

The problem for us Aussie’s is that award availability in Business or First is becoming harder and harder to find (especially getting out of the country), so if you have any AA miles at the moment and you have a trip in mind, it would be best to book at the current award rate. I would also suggest buying up during their next promo and booking an award while the current chart is in place.

Travelers who want to redeem rewards miles under the current system need to book their trips by March 21st 2016. The actual travel can take place later.

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