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The last year has seen all four of the American legacy carriers make their miles less valuable.

But great value awards still exist with all four types of miles. What are some of my favorites?

These aren’t necessarily the absolute best awards in each program (whatever that would even mean since the best award for you and the best awards for me are probably different.) These are just some high value awards in each program.

American Airlines

American Airlines has a ton of high value awards left since it hasn’t devalued its Saver award chart at all in the last few years.

I love American Airlines off peak awards. Fly to these zones during these dates for big discounts:

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I really love the off peak deals to Europe and Southern South America, which both cost only 40k miles roundtrip during a lot of desirable times to visit. And don’t forget that off peak awards can be flown on any American Airlines partner. That means airberlin flights to Europe in April cost on 20k miles each way as do LAN flights to Argentina in November.

Another amazing award to highlight is a First Class award on Cathay Pacific to anywhere in Southeast Asia for only 67,500 miles each way.

I can’t wait to get back into Cathay Pacific First Class.


Delta increased the price of a business class award to Europe to 125k miles, but that doesn’t look so bad anymore given other airlines’ devaluations and likely future devaluations.

Delta’s own flights to Europe have fully flat beds in business class as do partners like Alitalia.

Delta partners KLM, Air France, and Alitalia are all bookable on, but searching for them is a problem because the award search engine’s calendar ignores partner award space.

Luckily the partners are easy to search quickly on Expert Flyer before heading to to book.

US Airways

US Airways increasing the price of a roundtrip award to North Asia in business class to 110k miles made some sense to me. The award had cost less than an award to Europe despite North Asia being farther away and despite the North Asia award allowing a stopover in Europe.

What doesn’t make sense (in a good way) was that US Airways hasn’t increased the price of a First Class award to North Asia, which still sits at 120k miles roundtrip.

A roundtrip in Cathay Pacific First Class or JAL First Class for 120k miles cannot be beaten!


I think there are some good values in United Business and First Class on the United award chart, but United has been very stingy about releasing award space on its own flights lately, so I’ll look elsewhere on the chart.

I think there’s fantastic value for awards in economy on United and its partners. One region with great deals is Africa, which costs only 40k United miles each way from the United States. United’s Star Alliance has by far the most award space to Africa.

I searched for space from Chicago to Cape Town and found incredible award space for two in economy next January and February.

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The award space prices out at 80k United miles + $149 per person.

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That’s a fantastic deal on a $1650 cash ticket.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 11.49.06 PMRecap

We’ve all been hurt by recent airline devaluations. I’m maintaining an optimistic outlook overall because there are still plenty of bright spots in all the major programs.

Plus–and I know it’s the first time I’m mentioning this in this post–I think we’ll see higher sign up bonuses on credit cards to go along with the higher prices on the award charts.

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