The only certainties in life are death, taxes, and award chart changes. American Airlines is making sure to keep up their end of that bargain.
The new award chart changes, taking affect March 22nd, have some new sweet spots. Being that you can still sign up for the Citi American Airlines credit card, earning you 50k points, these new award chart sweet spots make your decision a little easier.
The biggest shake-up is the addition of short haul flights, non-stop flights under 500 nautical miles. For example, Los Angeles to Sacramento or New York to Toronto, would qualify as short-haul. These routes, and yes Canada too, would only run you 7,500 miles one-way… come March 22nd. This is a good deal for some flyers as you could effectively get three short-haul round-trips from the current credit card sign up bonus. (50k sign up bonus)
Find the flight mileage between two airports, here.
Short-haul flights are cool, but if you are anything like me you want to go somewhere exotic! During off-peak travel dates, more on that in a bit, you can fly from the lower 48 states to Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America for only 12.5k points one-way (plus taxes and fees). That is a smoking deal as these flights on United or Delta are going to run you 17.5k one-way.
What are the off-peak dates?
For the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, the dates are September 7th-November 14th and April 27th-May 20th. To confirm, these are the dates of travel, not the dates of booking. That gives you about 3 months out of the year that you are able to get these “off-peak” reduced rates. If you can wing the dates it will save you 5,000 points round-trip. The April-27th-May 20th date range is not currently available for booking at the lower rate, that becomes effective March 22nd. It would be wise to get on aa.com on March 22nd to see your award flight options if you plan to fly between 4/27 and 5/20 next year.
One of the current sweet spots, that is sadly going away, is off-peak to Asia region 1. This region includes Japan and Korea. If you book an off-peak round-trip to Asia region 1 before March 22nd you will be able to score it for 50k miles total. That is a great deal as Delta charges 70k-80k miles round-trip to Asia. If you sign up for the Citi AA credit card for 50k miles, you could get a free round-trip (plus $49 in fees) from the US to Japan, that is an awesome deal! This flight would normally run you about $1,000 depending on where you fly out of.
Moral of the story? Make sure to check the “before” and “after” March 22nd charts, here, to ensure you are making the most of your points.