American AAdvantage “Fully Dynamic” Award Pricing Coming 2023

American AAdvantage “Fully Dynamic” Award Pricing Coming 2023

27

Earlier I wrote about major American AAdvantage program changes coming in 2023. There’s one matter I didn’t address in the previous post, as I wanted to write about it separately, given that it potentially has major implications.

American’s award pricing will go fully dynamic

On the page outlining the AAdvantage program changes, American announced a (theoretically) major change to award pricing:

Introducing fully dynamic mileage awards

In 2023, award travel on American becomes fully dynamic with a new, simplified award chart.

American AAdvantage is introducing dynamic award pricing

As you can see, the details here are very limited. Here’s all we know as of now:

  • These changes are happening at some point in 2023, though we don’t know when
  • This only impacts award redemptions for travel on American, and not for travel on partner airlines
  • American pricing will be “fully dynamic”
  • American will have a “simplified award chart”
  • American will eliminate the concept of MileSAAver and AAnytime award levels
  • American will continue to offer last seat availability on awards
Expect AAdvantage award pricing to change in 2023

What could this look like? Should we panic?

Some might be surprised to hear this, but I’m not instantly panicking, and am not necessarily assuming this is going to be terrible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s probably not good, but I’m not convinced that a lot will change either?

First of all, the good news is that these changes only apply to travel on American, and not to travel on partner airlines. The best way to redeem American miles is on partner airlines, and that award pricing isn’t going fully dynamic. So unlike Delta SkyMiles, there’s no indication that American AAdvantage is going to be punitive with partner awards just for giggles.

I find it interesting how American says that award pricing will be going “fully dynamic,” and at the same time says that there will be a “simplified award chart.” As much as I’d love to clutch my pearls and claim that American eliminating MileSAAver and AAnytime award pricing is bad news… have you seen the current state of American’s award pricing?

The reality is that the AAdvantage award chart for travel on American doesn’t really tell you a whole lot about how much you’ll pay when redeeming miles on American. That’s because a vast majority of American awards are already priced dynamically, either below or above current award pricing.

For example, below is American’s economy class award chart for travel originating in the United States.

AAdvantage award chart

Then below is the calendar showing the actual pricing between Miami and Los Angeles. As you can see, in most cases at least one flight each day is cheaper than the lowest price listed.

AAdvantage award calendar

As another example, below is American’s business class award chart for travel originating in the United States

AAdvantage award chart

Then below is the calendar showing the actual nonstop pricing between New York and Tel Aviv. While the highest AAnytime Level 2 cost is 155,000 miles, award pricing in this market for many months is 180,000-300,000 miles, which no signs of even the highest published award cost.

AAdvantage award calendar

If the award chart has no resemblance to actual award pricing and what you can expect to pay, then is there even a point to the award chart? I’d argue not.

There are two ways American could go with these changes in 2023:

  • American could essentially just be more transparent in the sense that it will no longer have an award chart that doesn’t reflect what people are currently paying, since award pricing is already dynamic
  • American could be going the direction of Delta SkyMiles, and essentially pegging each mile to one cent toward the cost of a ticket

Personally I think the former is more likely than the latter, but only time will tell. Why do I believe that? Because if pricing were strictly tied to the revenue cost of a ticket, American wouldn’t even bother with having a “simplified award chart.”

I don’t necessarily think the implications will be huge

Bottom line

American AAdvantage is expected to introduce “fully dynamic” award pricing in 2023, and will also introduce a “simplified award chart.” While that sounds scary, American already has dynamic award pricing, and the award chart doesn’t actually reflect how much most people pay for award tickets.

I tend to think that for all practical purposes, American already has dynamic award pricing and doesn’t actually have a useful award chart for travel on its own flights, so I don’t necessarily view this as a huge deal. Only time will tell how this plays out.

What do you make of these AAdvantage changes?

Conversations (27)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Max Guest

    The only correct response is to make your loyalty also 'fully dynamic'. Book other carriers when they have the better offer.

  2. Nick C Guest

    How do you know that it only affects award travel on American Airlines, and not partner airlines? Where does it say that?I’ve been saving up AA miles to get a trip on Japan Airlines business class and got a little worried with this news.

  3. NT22 Guest

    I fly mostly on business class and international. Used to stay loyal to AA since it offered many perks like systemwide upgrades & ability to use miles for my family travels + direct flights from DFW. What I have realized this year it is better (for me) to use Delta, United and AA for my business travels and not care about loyalty anymore - I saved approximately $5,700 in 2022 by doing this which is...

    I fly mostly on business class and international. Used to stay loyal to AA since it offered many perks like systemwide upgrades & ability to use miles for my family travels + direct flights from DFW. What I have realized this year it is better (for me) to use Delta, United and AA for my business travels and not care about loyalty anymore - I saved approximately $5,700 in 2022 by doing this which is more than enough to make up for mileage lost with a possible degraded AA status (made Exec Platinum this year, but next year I think I wont). I can use this saved money for family related travels (and they too now can start earning status). Plus now I have status with Delta and United, which is good for domestic travel since it includes free checked bags. And the systemwide upgrades dont matter anymore since there isnt going to be a first class anymore!

    26yrs at AA Exec Platinum (including during COVID 2020 when I was able to still do the 100K qualification); will be sad to see it go. But the price of loyalty is no longer worth it.

  4. dwondermeant Guest

    AA program is going up in smoke and burning the house down no problem happy to fly someone else buh bye
    Farewell I am not desperate at all.No value no business at all is my strategy

  5. Trey Guest

    What will this do for Avios redemptions though?

    1. AA70 Diamond

      I imagine they're probably just getting rid of what the sAAver awards are called, they'll likely come out of the same bucket as before which means probably no change to avios redemptions. But I have been wrong before

  6. Sam Guest

    The 30,000 ft value prop is still the same for international partner redemptions. The status requirements were "needed" based on how easy it was to achieve via cards, portals, etc. Now AS has a soft landing for the impending devaluations.

  7. Too Many Guest

    The real question not addressed is what happens to AA award inventory when you use 1World and partners? How will this change (if any) the approach Etihad takes to AA awards, or Avios? For those that are distance based, and multipliers based on cabin, what is that going to do?

    I suspect that AA may very well restrict whatever they feel their partners to see or use, while still giving just enough to say they...

    The real question not addressed is what happens to AA award inventory when you use 1World and partners? How will this change (if any) the approach Etihad takes to AA awards, or Avios? For those that are distance based, and multipliers based on cabin, what is that going to do?

    I suspect that AA may very well restrict whatever they feel their partners to see or use, while still giving just enough to say they are still participating. Similar to how SQ restricts their premium cabins to themselves (and recently Aeroplan).

  8. Gary Leff Guest

    Worth noting that - websaver aside - currently AAdvantage has 6 pricing levels in their chart, some of those are just 'hidden'.

    All of the current 'above published aanytime' that you see are priced based on the hidden higher aanytime levels.

    https://viewfromthewing.com/american-has-6-award-price-levels-heres-how-they-work/

  9. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The purpose of publishing a chart even if it is complicated w/ multiple levels is to show that AA's awards can be very good values - which they are compared to some of their competitors.
    Selling miles and providing a competitive means to redeem them is far more important to AA than any other US airline.

  10. Frank Guest

    AA has completely destroyed their program. It is not about a loyalty program anymore. American Airlines might as well be a bank rewards program since you dont even need to fly to earn rewards.

    1. AA70 Diamond

      Watch "how airlines quietly became banks" by wendover productions on YouTube

  11. Robert Guest

    AA - We'll catch up quickly in the race to the bottom!

  12. JetSetFly Guest

    This is interesting….if most major airlines around the world go dynamic pricing (ie. one cent per mile), then the calculus would be find a cash back card that’s higher than one cent per dollar. If that’s the case, then who wants to bother with miles anymore and who can these airlines sell their miles to one has to wonder?

  13. Lukas Gold

    "which no signs of even the highest published award cost."

    You meant to write something else here.

  14. Will Guest

    How will this impact using Avios for AA flights?

  15. Hal Guest

    Any ideas how this would work for Business Extra

  16. DCS Diamond

    Introducing fully dynamic mileage awards

    In 2023, award travel on American becomes fully dynamic with a new, simplified award chart.

    What that likely means is that AA awards to fly on AA metal will be fully dynamically priced, while award travel on partner airlines using AA miles will be based in a [new] simplified award chart.

    1. tom Guest

      ......and in 2024 partners will go dynamic also.
      burn, burn, burn

  17. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

    I’ve been surprised by the good pricing on AA Web Specials, and will take advantage of these awards from time to time. With domestic fairs so high this last year, sometimes the web specials make sense.

  18. Lee Guest

    For now, nothing about AA awards on partner airlines is supposed to change.

    But, Sel_D brings up a good question: a partner redemption on AA requiring Saver availability. Under the current system, this has been a particular hassle as certain routes almost never have Saver award space. Web Special award space, yes. Saver award space, no. AA will certainly have to address this.

  19. John Guest

    Since American loses money flying people around and makes money selling miles to CC companies it seems odd to me that airline rewards are so burdensome to use vs. hotel points.

    My guess would be it’s due to excessive deference to accounting. Executives can see how much the awards are costing in black and white. But they can’t see that making them awards more useful might cost them $250 million in forgone airfare but...

    Since American loses money flying people around and makes money selling miles to CC companies it seems odd to me that airline rewards are so burdensome to use vs. hotel points.

    My guess would be it’s due to excessive deference to accounting. Executives can see how much the awards are costing in black and white. But they can’t see that making them awards more useful might cost them $250 million in forgone airfare but make them $400 million as people switch from cash back, Amazon, Costco, etc. credit cards to AA linked cards.

  20. Sel_D Member

    What about redeeming Avios, etc. for flights on AA metal? Availability is currently determined by MileSAAver availability. Thoughts for going forward?

    1. Peter Guest

      Wondering the same thing. BA Avios for short haul AA metal, hinging on MileSAAver availability, is sometimes better than AA's own Web Specials (sometimes even less miles; with those miles being readily available across multiple CC transferable currencies which have frequent transfer bonuses).

      Just as Qatar Airways adopted Avios currency, AA online booking for Qatar business went to zilch (outside of the immediate booking window). Guess we'll know shortly where AS is headed.

      Wondering the same thing. BA Avios for short haul AA metal, hinging on MileSAAver availability, is sometimes better than AA's own Web Specials (sometimes even less miles; with those miles being readily available across multiple CC transferable currencies which have frequent transfer bonuses).

      Just as Qatar Airways adopted Avios currency, AA online booking for Qatar business went to zilch (outside of the immediate booking window). Guess we'll know shortly where AS is headed.

    2. --- Guest

      If it works the same way as with United, there are still saver awards under the hood, and that's the inventory that would be available to partners.

      You can also see this with Alaska's awards on its own metal; basically the lowest price awards will also be available to partners.

    3. Mick Guest

      I just booked a Qatar first class seat for June 2023 from Sydney to Doha using aa miles. Unicorn?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Max Guest

The only correct response is to make your loyalty also 'fully dynamic'. Book other carriers when they have the better offer.

2
NT22 Guest

I fly mostly on business class and international. Used to stay loyal to AA since it offered many perks like systemwide upgrades & ability to use miles for my family travels + direct flights from DFW. What I have realized this year it is better (for me) to use Delta, United and AA for my business travels and not care about loyalty anymore - I saved approximately $5,700 in 2022 by doing this which is more than enough to make up for mileage lost with a possible degraded AA status (made Exec Platinum this year, but next year I think I wont). I can use this saved money for family related travels (and they too now can start earning status). Plus now I have status with Delta and United, which is good for domestic travel since it includes free checked bags. And the systemwide upgrades dont matter anymore since there isnt going to be a first class anymore! 26yrs at AA Exec Platinum (including during COVID 2020 when I was able to still do the 100K qualification); will be sad to see it go. But the price of loyalty is no longer worth it.

1
Gary Leff Guest

Worth noting that - websaver aside - currently AAdvantage has 6 pricing levels in their chart, some of those are just 'hidden'. All of the current 'above published aanytime' that you see are priced based on the hidden higher aanytime levels. https://viewfromthewing.com/american-has-6-award-price-levels-heres-how-they-work/

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,988,713 Miles Traveled

29,627,500 Words Written

32,815 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT