Today is February 9, 2016. You have until March 21, 2016 to earn and burn American Airlines miles on its positively cheap award chart. You can get in on the fun if you start today, even if you currently have zero American Airlines miles.

I’m talking about booking awards like:

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Etihad First Class from 40,000 Miles
  • 20,000 miles each way in economy to Brazil or Argentina
  • 40,000 miles each way in Etihad First Class or Qantas First Class from Europe to the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, or Maldives.
  • 67,500 miles each way in Cathay Pacific First Class to Southeast Asia
  • 32,500 miles each way for flat bed First Class from New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco

All of these awards, and many more, go way up in price in just over four months, but you can earn the miles and book them before March 22, 2016 to lock in these incredible prices for travel in 2016 or early 2017. Here is the timeline:

  1. Today: Get the cards
  2. Next one month: Meet the minimum spending requirements to unlock the sign up bonuses
  3. By March 21: Book award travel at current rates for travel in 2016 or early 2017
  4. 2016 or early 2017: Take a dream vacation

Today: Get the Cards

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

I’d get both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, which are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

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Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement in the next three months to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.

Next One Month: Meet the Cards’ Minimum Spending Requirements

Although the fine print on the credit card applications say otherwise, the experience of people who have gotten American Airlines cards from Citi is that you get the bonus miles the day your statement closes on which you meet your minimum spending requirement or a day or two later.

That means if you get the cards today, you can take two months to meet the minimum spending requirements, and you should get your miles by mid-March 2016, which is a week or so before the devaluation.

March 2016: Book Award Travel at Current Rates

Once you have the miles, you must book your awards by March 21, 2016. Travel can be booked up to 330 days in advance, so you can travel through February 15, 2017 if you book on March 21, 2016.

Once booked, the flights are locked in at the price you paid. However, if you need to make later changes, American may charge you extra miles based on the price of the future award chart.

Here are my guides on redeeming American Airlines miles:

2016 or Early 2017: Take Your Dream Trip

Following the first three steps beats the devaluation and will allow you to enjoy a dream trip sometime in 2016 or early 2017, secure in the knowledge that you paid a much lower price than people who don’t follow my advice.

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Cathay Pacific First Class from 67,500 Miles

Bottom Line

Do not dally. The time to take action to beat the devAAluation is now. Even waiting a week will ruin this plan.

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

Key Links:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®
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