American AAdvantage AAnytime Awards Increases and Other Changes — With No Advance Notice

Amidst the other airplanes still with the old livery, an airplane is adorned in the new livery on March 15, 2013 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Photograph by FlyerTalk member SFO777. Click on the photograph for a discussion about the brand new identity, logo, livery and color scheme of American Airlines.

Changes which have been quietly implemented to the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program effective as of today, April 8, 2014, for tickets issued for travel starting June 1, 2014 include increased amounts of American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles required to be redeemed for AAnytime Awards; the elimination of one world Explorer Awards; and if you earned Gold elite level status, you can no longer check a second bag free of charge.

Many FlyerTalk members are even more livid about receiving no advance notice about the changes than they are about the changes themselves.

American Airlines will continue to honor any award tickets issued on or before April 7, 2014 — but for award travel booked after April 8, 2014 for travel between April 8 and June 1, 2014, these award mileage levels will apply.

Here is the new award chart released by American Airlines — or click here to access a larger version of the chart from the official Internet web site of American Airlines:

As you can see by the chart above, there are now three levels to the AAnytime awards — and the amount of American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program miles to be redeemed for Level 3 still remains a mystery.

“What’s interesting about the new award chart is that it now separates Canada and Alaska from the 48 US”, FlyerTalk member Fanjet noted. “And it is also reflective of the growing differentiation between Y and J/F. The domestic coach awards seem to be somewhat better for Anytime awards. The old chart was 12.5K for Saver and 25K for Anytime. Now it is still 12.5K for Saver but either 20K or 30K for Anytime. However, when travelling internationally on J or F, then Anytime awards become more prohibitive. However, the international fleet will be flying with better– and more importantly, fewer– premium seats. It’s called “supply and demand” for a reason. Of course BA awards aren’t that hard to find at Saver levels. So would you rather pay the fuel surcharge or the mileage surcharge (involved with an Anytime award)?”

In other news, oneworld Explorer Awards are no longer available for award booking effective immediately. American Airlines will continue to honor any award tickets issued on or before April 7, 2014.

“Elimination of int’l gateway stopovers hurts the most”, lamented FlyerTalk member tsmith12. “I was planning to book 3 trips this week with stopovers… Ugh!”

FlyerTalk member richarddd posted that “The elimination of oneworld explorer means multi-city travel on partners will be much more expensive.”

If you have Gold elite level status in the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program, you just lost another benefit effective immediately: you can no longer check a second bag for free.

Shortly after I posted this article, US Airways implemented changes to its Dividend Miles frequent flier loyalty program — again, with no advance notice or warning.

Granted, these changes effective immediately for the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program will seem minor to a number of its members — but they are major for those directly affected by them. They will not affect me at all — but that is not the point. The way these changes were implemented — quietly, with no advance notice — has been described by some FlyerTalk members with words such as sleazy and sneaky.

I agree. This once again harkens the question: how important to you is your trust in a frequent travel loyalty program; and is that trust eroded by the way changes to frequent travel loyalty programs are implemented — especially when there is no advance notice of those changes which are perceived to be devaluations, such as by Wyndham Rewards, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants Group, Club Carlson, and the LifeMiles frequent flier loyalty program of Avianca and Taca as only a few of what seems to be many examples?

As FlyerTalk member Stripe wondered, “What’s the point of still calling them ‘AAnytime’ awards?”

You are not the only FlyerTalk member wondering that very question, Stripe.

Comments (Showing 7 of 7)

  • Cannonball Run at 11:55am April 08, 2014

    No comments yet – that’s the first wow. This letter should have come from the Revenue control department. This goes beyond devaluation – it’s a loud and clear message that J and F awards are a product AA would rather not have – like Lifetime Plat (gold seems to matter less and less). The next big changes have to come to the system wides – for those who have them will likely be the only ones who stand a chance of an upgrade to J or F as the inventory on their long haul fleet shrinks if and when the new seats ever get installed on the older 777’s and 767’s, For now I’ll continue to bank miles – for use on those hard to get, very expensive J and F products down the road. I have several F seats booked overseas towards the end of the year in Mile Saver awards. I think what were seeing is the beginning of the end of long term loyalty – the bean counters short term think they will win. After I hit my 100,000 bis miles a year – I’m off to find the best price and service – AA will likely not be competing for that.

  • rrgg at 12:28pm April 08, 2014

    Parker is wrong to think that something like Explorer awards and stopovers only cost them money. They build customer loyalty, even to those who people who never actually use those type of awards.

    If they want everything to look like US, they have kept the US name. AA is gone forever.

  • AALoyalNYC at 2:18pm April 08, 2014

    I recently had my first taste of what US offers in domestic first VS what AA offers. Having paid for my ticket expecting the same AA soft product, needless to say, I now know exactly what everyone has been freaking out about regarding Parker taking over the AA we’ve all known and loved. No meal, worst wine I’ve ever had and nothing but a bigger seat. Clearly I understand why no one buys these in advance for anything under 3.5 hours.

    This is the next sting as International and X-Country J and F is all I use my miles for and have been hoarding for a trip to ICN in the fall. Well, suddenly my combo of F saaver and F AAnytime math for 4 tickets has been blown sky high, no pun intended. Thanks Doug!

  • craz at 5:06pm April 08, 2014

    I dont like it either but come on everyone knew just like with CO & UA they werent going to keep what we like the most and get rid of what we didnt like. This was 1 reason I didnt bail out of UA , all 3 DL,AA,& UA are gonna be no different.

    That said it seems Dougs boys are simply plugging up all the loopholes that never should have been available to begin with. Stop overs at Gateways , adding on an extra flight say JFK-LAX to a TATL trip and then starting your next TATL to get back to NY was DUMB on the Carriers side So 2 TATLs = 2 TATLs and 1 Dom

    Yet Y hasnt been hit that bad but I know everyone wants only Biz or F

    I think the big losers are going to be the Brokers and Bloggers

    Me I just booked a trip to LED via TLL and back from HEL for 60k in Y with *A and I prefer that to blowing 140K for Biz and can go back for a 2nd time and still have 20K left over

  • not2017 at 8:45pm April 08, 2014

    Well, everyones’ nightmares over what would happen to AA if US took them over….now you know!

  • tryathlete at 7:03pm April 17, 2014

    I’ve tried AA and like it even thought I am a UA 1K, I tried it all the way through the challenge last year and qualified— the first fare I tried to book was 30% higher than UA for a trip UA sells for a very decent and reliable price. The instability of pricing was the end of the run for AA. I am talking $2400 versus $1400. As I now often say to my kids “ain’t gonna happen”.

  • krk67 at 9:40pm January 02, 2015

    I’m very late to the game here (obviously) but I am one of those lowly golds who stuck with AA for over a decade, though I’m in a United hub, for two reasons:
    1. I was building up miles to use for a couple of Oneworld Explorer tickets; I have used miles domestically for emergencies but the Explorer tickets (or decent First class for those flights that I had to redeye) were the goal.
    2. I was hoping to — one day — be lifetime gold for the simple fact that my legs are abnormally long and I actually *need* that exit row.

    Thanks to “Doug’s boys” (and the fact that UA is almost always cheaper here), I’ll be saying goodbye to AA this year on any trips I have to purchase.

    It’s really nice that they gave their loyal customers a big FU.

    Oh, and most of my miles are earned for work in the higher fare classes of coach due to being last minute and refundable.

    Good job, AA. /sarcasm

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