American has just introduced a new award scheme called “Dynamic Air Awards.”
Chances are it won’t be useful to most of you, since you most likely redeem your miles primarily for international premium cabin award tickets.
“Dynamic Air Awards” allows you to book coach award tickets within the lower 48 at a variable price based on the revenue cost of a ticket. Only elites can redeem for these, and they’re non-changeable/refundable, so even more restrictive than normal award tickets. One major benefit in theory is that there are no close-in ticketing fees, though that’s a moot point given that these are elite only awards.
What’s the potential upside in all this? The website lists the following:
You can now use your miles to book any Economy Class seat for travel within the U.S.* for fewer miles than what’s required for an AAnytime® award
In other words, the most a roundtrip award ticket will cost through dynamic awards is less than 50,000 miles.
I did a quick search and don’t see a fixed formula between the number of miles required and the revenue cost of a ticket, though there’s a general correlation. The cheapest ticket I found through this program was 10,000 miles one-way, while the most expensive roundtrip I found was 46,000 miles (4,000 fewer miles than a standard award).
Is this an opportunity for an aspirational award redemption? No. Is it something to keep in mind if you run into a situation where you’re stuck booking a last minute, $1,000 ticket? Yes.
AAdvantage chart comparing award types