Effective Oct. 1, 2008, American AAdvantage is raising its award requirements on select routes and award types. Most of the changes will affect business/first class awards and AAnytime awards, although a few coach award levels will also increase. On flights within the continental U.S. and Canada, premium cabin MileSAAver awards will increase 5,000 miles from 45,000 miles to 50,000 miles (business class) and 60,000 miles to 65,000 miles (first class). AAnytime awards will increase 10,000 miles from 90,000 miles to 100,000 miles (business class) and 120,000 miles to 130,000 miles (first class). Coach flights to the Caribbean and Mexico from the U.S. will increase 5,000 miles to 35,000 miles MileSAAver peak and AAnytime awards in coach will be 70,000 miles, an additional 10,000 miles.
Overall, the increases are fairly conservative and most fall within a 5,000 and 20,000-mile range. The biggest increase is a business class award between North America and China, which jumped to 220,000 miles from 180,000 miles — a roughly 20 percent increase.
If you have plans to book an award that is increasing, you can book at the lower mileage rates until Sept. 30, 2008 for travel completed by Sept. 30, 2009.
American is the first airline to start charging $5 to book awards online, as of last month, and the telephone booking fee remains $20. Executive Platinum AAdvantage members and those who are already subject to an AAdvantage award fee are exempt from the $5 booking fee. Additionally, AAdvantage awards that require miles and a cash co-payment will be discontinued on Sept. 30, 2008.
Some one-way upgrade awards will increase and there will be a new $150 co-pay to claim upgrade awards on most discount economy fares when traveling between North American and Colombia, Ecuador, Peru or Venezuela. To view all of the changes, go to http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?990