American Adjusts Some Award Costs To Hawaii & Canada

While I don’t think we’ll see a full blown award chart devaluation from American anytime soon (they’ve done enough damage to the program in the past few years), American has announced some (fairly minor) updates to their award pricing, which involve both Canada and Hawaii.

They’re both good and bad news, so let’s look at the details:

American is lowering some award pricing to Canada

Currently American has separate award pricing for travel originating in Canada. For tickets booked as of January 16, 2019, American will be aligning award pricing from Canada with award pricing from the lower US 48.

This will result in lower award costs in some cases, and no change in other cases. This seems logical enough. Redemption options to/from Canada are fairly limited, as American no longer has a relationship with WestJet.

The only oneworld destinations served in Canada are Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, so it doesn’t really make sense that they’d be a different award zone.

Just to give a couple of examples of the changes we’ll see:

  • Currently a Canada to Asia 1 one-way business class award costs 65,000 miles, while in the future it will cost 60,000 miles; it never made sense that a Japan Airlines award from Vancouver to Tokyo cost more than an award from New York to Tokyo
  • Currently a Canada to Asia 2 one-way business class award costs 72,500 miles, while in the future it will cost 70,000 miles; it never made sense that a Cathay Pacific award from Vancouver to Hong Kong cost more than an award from New York to Hong Kong

So this is a positive development, in my opinion, as we’re not seeing any price increases here, but rather just decreases in some markets.


The cost of Japan Airlines business class awards from Canada to Asia is decreasing

American is raising some award pricing to Hawaii

American is also adjusting premium cabin award pricing to Hawaii for tickets booked as of January 16, 2019.

American says that the demand for lie-flat seats to and from Hawaii is high, so they’re adjusting the award chart to reflect the demand increase and will be differentiating between lie-flat and non-lie-flat seats.

For travel originating in Hawaii, here’s their first & business class chart for tickets booked through January 15, 2019:

Then here’s their first & business class award chart for tickets booked as of January 16, 2019:

As you can see:

  • The cost of saver first class award tickets is increasing from 40,000 miles to 55,000 miles one-way
  • If the award includes travel on an aircraft with lie-flat seats in the US and Canada, the business premium cabin award pricing on a saver ticket will be 7,500 miles higher
  • If the award includes travel on an aircraft with lie-flat seats in the US and Canada, the business premium cabin award pricing on an AAnytime ticket will be 20,000 miles higher

So a roundtrip saver level first class ticket from the lower 48 to Hawaii with flat beds will go from costing 80,000 miles to costing 125,000 miles. While the AAnytime pricing isn’t increasing for non-flat beds, for flat beds you’re paying an extra 20,000 miles each way.


The cost of flat bed awards to Hawaii is increasing significantly

Bottom line

On balance I’d say these changes are a wash, at least for those looking to maximize miles.

It’s great for Canadians that some award prices will be decreasing, because the higher pricing never made much sense.

The Hawaii changes are no doubt negative, though at the same time American hardly ever makes saver level premium seats to Hawaii available. So while the price increase is unfortunate, between the lack of saver availability and the high standard pricing, it never struck me as a great deal. For those booking standard awards, the cost is increasing by 20,000 miles in each direction if you book a lie-flat seat.

What do you make of these AAdvantage changes?

Comments

  1. They have nearly zero ORD-HNL award availability so I’d say its a positive if it keeps people from using there miles and opens up award space to book with other programs (Etihad, BA, etc).

  2. The Aanytime awards at 67.5K for flights the same length as east Coast-LHR(like ORD/DFW-HNL) were a pretty good option, especially if you could get a lie-flat on the red-eye back. I think American figured that out.

  3. “As you can see:
    If the award includes travel on an aircraft with lie-flat seats in the US and Canada, the business premium cabin award pricing on a saver ticket will be 7,500 miles higher
    If the award includes travel on an aircraft with lie-flat seats in the US and Canada, the business premium cabin award pricing on an AAnytime ticket will be 20,000 miles higher”

    How to see the difference between flat beds or not? I don’t see an indicator in the charts

  4. There’s pretty much no Hawaii availability from DFW anyways. Cheaper just to pay $2000 or so for the ticket.

  5. I found lie flat for anytime award at 67,500 was too good to last. Delta one and United was quite a bit more miles for anytime awards. Just my two cents. Also, AA miles were easier to earn with Citi and Barclays applications and churner mailers on Citi cards.

  6. While I wouldn’t say saver first class space to/from Hawaii is easy to find, it is not nearly as hard to find as it used to be if your dates are flexible, even in lie flat. The key is that AA seems to be playing a lot of married segment games with these flights.

    For example I have booked 3x KOA->DFW->PHX and 2x KOA->DFW->RDU on a Tuesday next August for 40K miles each, with the first segment being a redeye on a lie flat 777. The key is that KOA->DFW had no saver space directly, but when I changed the destination to PHX or RDU there were >5 seats available on that same KOA->DFW flight.

    There also was quite a bit of saver first class space to and from KOA through LAX, though this of course is not lie flat.

    And, the married segment part means I don’t think it could be booked anywhere except through AA.

  7. Well glad we went to Hawaii in Oct on anytime level 1 award with 777 flatbed redeye home.
    It’s only a game for me. ✈️

  8. Edmonton, Ottawa, and Quebec City are also oneworld destinations in Canada. American Eagle flies to those three along with Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, Vancouver is served by mainline only.

  9. AA also has flights to Quebec (PHL; ORD starting in June), Edmonton (PHX), and Ottawa (PHL). There are also still some codeshares with AS that are still available to some Western Canada destinations with AA miles as well (i.e. SEA-Victoria/YYJ).

  10. Hawaii to Europe also went up 10,000.

    Now does the 7,500-20,000 more points ONLY affect Hawaii to mainland lie-flat seats? What about, lie-flat segments in the continental US? For example, if from Hawaii to Europe the lie-flat is LAX-PHL.

  11. I just booked 4 U savers DFW-KOA in 772 for spring break. I was amazed that availability was there given the upcoming devaluation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *