The American Airlines devAAluation is coming. For awards booked March 22, 2016 or later, you will need a lot more miles. This affects all awards from First Class all the way down to off peak economy.

If you book an award by March 21, though, your award is locked in, and will not be affected by the devAAluation. On March 21, you can book through February 16, 2017.

What are great awards you can book at the last minute to take travel in February 2017?

  • Australia
  • Argentina
  • Southeast Asia
  • Japan

The first two are in the middle of summer. Much of Southeast Asia is in the midst of its dry season, and Japan’s off peak awards are going up the most of any off peak award with the devaluation.

Australia

I went in January of 2013, and it was a great trip. It was hot enough to enjoy Sydney’s beaches, great weather for diving the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, and I got to see the Australian Open, my second tennis Grand Slam, in Melbourne.

Based on award space now, I would expect to see some Saver economy space in March for February 2017, but none in Business or First.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.13.22 AMThat’s a shame because economy award prices are only going up from 37.5k to 40k miles each way. Business and First are taking much larger hits. But American Airlines only releases premium cabin award space on its Los-Angeles-to-Sydney route in the last week or so before departure, and Qantas almost never releases premium cabin awards.

Argentina

The big loss on Argentina awards is that right now you can book awards to my favorite country for 6.5 months per year for only 20k miles each way. But starting March 22, there are no more off peak awards to Southern South America.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.15.46 PM

So I wouldn’t necessarily aim for a February 2016 award here, although that is a nice (though hot) time to visit Buenos Aires and a great time to visit Patagonia.

Instead I’d aim for an off peak award between March 1 and May 31 or August and November 30, 2016. Right now there is good off peak award space the week of Thanksgiving if you want to skip a family reunion.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.17.20 AMSoutheast Asia

I am in Thailand right now and will also see Singapore and Vietnam this month. Now is the time to visit all those countries to take advantage of the dry season.

Book your award in March for January or February, 2017 in Cathay Pacific Business Class. That shoots up from 55k one way to 70k on March 22.

Award space is excellent in Cathay Pacific Business 11 months in advance.
Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.19.21 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.19.29 AMCathay Pacific and Dragonair fly from Hong Kong all over Southeast Asia. Intra-Asia award space is usually wide open, so you can easily connect to Bangkok, Singapore, Siem Reap, and more great starting points for a Southeast Asia adventure.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.47.43 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.22.27 AMHere is more on booking awards to Southeast Asia with American Airlines miles.

Japan

I was in Japan last week. While it is cold in December, January, and February, Tokyo and Kyoto are still awesome. In fact, I’m not sure I’d want to see Kyoto in the summer. The temples, shrines, and gardens were crowded enough in the winter.

First Class awards to Japan go up from 62.5k to 80k miles each way for awards booked March 22 or later. Book this great First Class award space now at the cheaper price.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.18.38 AMEconomy off peak awards go up from 25k to 32.5k during the devAAluation. Book this wide open economy award space now or by March 21 for huge savings.Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.18.44 AM

Bottom Line

The last day to book really cheap American Airlines awards is March 21 for travel through February 2017. I’d focus on locking in cheap 2017 travel to places that will be nice in January or February (Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southeast Asia) or awards that will go up a lot in price (Japan off peak, Southeast Asia First Class.)

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Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

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