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American Airlines devalues its award chart on Tuesday. Book by Monday to lock in current award prices for travel through February 2017.

While I noticed the changes to award prices, including off peak awards, I didn’t notice that several places are changing regions on the award chart also.

Here are the five changes:

1 and 2. Bolivia and Manaus, Brazil to South America 1

This is great news! Bolivia and Manaus, Brazil are changing from the more expensive (Southern) South America 2 to the cheaper (Northern) South America 1. The rest of Brazil is staying in South America 2.

American Airlines flies a daily roundtrip from Miami to Manaus and an interesting daily route from Miami to La Paz to Santa Cruz to Miami. Since Miami is an American Airlines hub, you can easily add free connections onto the award from your home airport to Miami.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 12.10.16 PM

Award space isn’t that great on the routes, but it does exist in economy and Business Class.
Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 12.12.05 PMCurrent Prices:

  • Economy off peak to Bolivia or Manaus: 20,000 American Airlines miles one way
  • Economy rest of year: 30,000 miles
  • Business: 50,000 miles

Prices as of March 22:

  • Economy off peak to Bolivia or Manaus: 17,500 American Airlines miles one way
  • Economy rest of year: 20,000 miles
  • Business: 30,000 miles

Don’t book these awards now. Next week they will be massively cheaper in economy and Business Class.

3. Sri Lanka to Middle East/Indian Subcontinent

Sri Lanka is moving from Asia 2, basically Southeast Asia plus China, to the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent.

This affects its price, and also what routing you can use to get there. Currently in Asia 2, you need to route west via East Asia. You can use partners Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines.
Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 12.19.02 PM Once in Middle East/India, you’ll need to route east via Europe or the Middle East. You will use partners like Etihad and Qatar.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 12.19.24 PM

 

See this complete post on American Airlines routing rules for why changing regions means such a drastic change in how you’ll have to fly to Sri Lanka.

Current Prices:

  • Economy to Sri Lanka: 35,000 American Airlines miles one way
  • Business: 55,000 miles
  • First: 67,500 miles

Prices as of March 22:

  • Economy to Sri Lanka 40,000 American Airlines miles one way
  • Business: 70,000 miles
  • First: 115,000 miles

Book these awards now. Next week they will be massively more expensive in every cabin.

4. Venezuela to South America 2

Very oddly, Venezuela which is firmly in Northern South America is moving from its natural region to South America 2. I can only surmise it has to do with the cost of dealing with Venezuela in general as the country goes through its current, violent crises.

American Airlines flies from Miami to Caracas and Maracaibo, and those awards are going way up in price.

Current Prices:

  • Economy off peak to Venezuela: 15,000 American Airlines miles one way
  • Economy rest of year: 17,500 miles
  • Business: 30,000 miles

Prices as of March 22:

  • Economy all year: 30,000 miles
  • Business: 57,500 miles

Prices are roughly doubling next week. American Airlines miles will offer terrible value to Venezuela when that happens, so you will want to book your awards to Venezuela with British Airways Avios. Avios can book all the same MileSAAver award space that American Airlines releases to its own members, and Miami to Venezuela is only 10,000 Avios one way. (Connecting flights will add additional Avios to the price.)

5. Guam to South Pacific

Guam is moving from Asia 2 to South Pacific. This hardly matters since the only oneworld airline that flies there is Japan Airlines, so you probably want to fly to Guam with United miles via Hawaii. (Check out this awesome Pacific hopping trip with United miles.)

Current Prices:

  • Economy to Guam: 35,000 American Airlines miles one way
  • Business: 55,000 miles
  • First: 67,500 miles

Prices as of March 22:

It will take two awards to fly to Japan and then onto Guam, since you can’t transit Asia 1 on the way to South Pacific on a single award. Total prices will be outrageous.

  • Economy to Guam: 65,000 American Airlines miles one way
  • Business: 100,000 miles
  • First: 140,000 miles

Prices go crazy to Guam with American Airlines miles next week, mostly because the new region makes it necessary to book two awards to Guam. Get around that by using United miles, using Avios on the Japan Airlines flight to Guam, or booking this week.

Bottom Line

Bolivia and Manaus, Brazil are going into cheaper regions next week. Venezuela, Sri Lanka, and Guam are getting more expensive and having the routing rules to get there changed significantly by changing regions.

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