If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big miles and points junkie. I regularly use miles and points to reduce the cost of traveling internationally with a family of four. Of course, good things don’t last and there are two major negative changes coming to redeeming miles on American Airlines and Delta for travel to Argentina.
For bookings made as of March 22, 2016, American Airlines is making three negative changes to their award charts for southern South America.
First, American is eliminating MileSAAver Off Peak Awards. These were 20,000 one-way coach awards for travel to and from Argentina during non-peak times. My family used these many times – booking roundtrip flights for 4 people for only 160,000 miles! It was an incredible deal, and apparently too generous for American to continue. They will now only offer MileSAAver awards at 30,000 miles one-way. That means for our family of four, flights will now cost 240,000 miles roundtrip.
Not content with that, American is also increasing the cost of one-way business class saver awards from 50,000 miles to 57,500 miles. They are also drastically increasing one-way first class saver awards from 62,500 miles to 85,000 miles! That’s a 36% increase.
Not to be outdone, Delta also decided to increase the number of miles needed to travel from the US to Argentina. One-way business class fares will go from 62,500 miles one-way to 75,000 miles. This applies to all travel from October 1, 2016 on and also applies to their partners Aeromexico and Aerolineas Argentinas. Luckily, economy fares stay the same at 30,000 miles one-way.
So, any good news here?
The only potential positive is that you have until March 22 to book travel on American Airlines at the old prices. You can also make free date changes to those award tickets and keep the old pricing. So, if you have any potential travel plans, I’d recommend booking now.
The other positive is that American Airlines has opened up an incredible amount of business class and first class award saver space (see chart). While they were usually quite stingy with award space, their award calendar now shows a ton of space with many seats available.
We decided to take advantage of this and just changed our flight back to the US from coach to business for 50,000 points each. What’s the point of earning miles and points if you can’t spend them, right? And with these devaluations, there’s no point in hoarding them as they just decrease in value over time.
It will be interesting having a 2-year old and a 5-year old in business class, but they’re seasoned travelers at this point. The toughest decision was figuring out how to pick our seats since American has a 1-2-1 herringbone seat configuration on their 777-200. While we originally had the middle seats, the partition between the two means it would be difficult to reach across to the other side to help. I decided to change the seats to one middle and one window, so we’re just across the aisle from each other. I’ll let you know how that goes!
– You can get more info on the rest of American Airlines award changes at the View from the Wing blog.