American Is Increasing Standard Economy Award Rates To The South Pacific

Filed Under: American, Awards

American has just informed me that in February they’ll be adding additional AAnytime reward levels for travel between North America and the South Pacific. As some of you may remember, a few months back they raised some AAnytime reward levels for travel in premium cabins in this market. Here’s their statement regarding this change:

In February we’ll be adding additional reward levels to our AAnytime fares in the South Pacific. The levels will apply to the main cabin on flights to and from Sydney or Auckland. As you’ll remember in September we introduced higher levels in the premium cabins in the South Pacific. There will be no changes to MileSAAver.

We don’t yet know the exact dates these changes will kick in, though I’m told on some dates awards in economy will cost as much as 150,000 miles one-way. As it stands, American has the following award rates for travel in economy between the U.S. and South Pacific:


As you can see, one-way economy award rates are as follows:

  • Saver: 40,000 miles
  • Standard Level 1: 70,000 miles
  • Standard Level 2: 90,000 miles


What I’ve never really understood is that in practice American often has higher-priced standard awards than what’s published. For example, looking at travel between the U.S. and Sydney for December, here’s the pricing:


As you can see, some dates cost 120,000 miles one-way in economy, which isn’t even a published award price they have.


American’s standard level award pricing is too confusing for even me to understand, and I do this stuff for a living.

So while increases in standard level award costs impact many people with miles, I think a lot of us into miles & points do everything we can to redeem at the saver level. So selfishly I’d rather see more increases at the standard levels than the saver levels, though at the same time I realize that many people outside our community redeem differently.

Contrary to popular belief, standard award redemptions can actually be the most costly for airlines. That’s because they can be used to purchase the very last seat on a plane, which could very well otherwise be sold at a high cost.

Meanwhile, if an airline is opening up saver level award space, odds are pretty good that there would have otherwise been empty seats on the plane, or at least that they could manage inventory in such a way to avoid turning away high yield customers.

I’ll be curious to see how much more expensive American can make standard level economy awards to Australia. So if you are someone who is inclined to book an American standard level award to Australia (hopefully you’re not), you may want to book sooner rather than later.

  1. It is time for the FAA to step in and regulate mileage earning and redemption charts just like they would adjust interest rate to limit inflation.

  2. AA should remove Business/First Milesaver since many routes (South America) never have any availability. Advertising something that doesn’t exist usually results in expensive agreements with the FTC.

    This will be my last year as Executive Platinum. What’s the point of loyalty if I the number of SWUs is reduced and the few I get can’t be used? I’m finally joining the crowd that just pays for the best seat without regard to some promise from a loyalty program.

  3. Honestly it’s time everyone acknowledges there is no loyalty to any airline either way.
    Book a flight based on the time, cost, and what you expect from “that” flight.
    Forget the miles, the program, the hassle of asking for a upgrade, and playing their game.
    Then more and more you may find yourself flying on a non-US airline.

  4. 90K in economy to Australia? hahaha

    To put that in perspective, you can fly in economy from SIN-JFK for 31K miles on Singapore airlines.

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