American Raises Premium Cabin Hawaii Award Prices, Adds 2 Obscure Partners For Online Redemption

American AAdvantage has added two more airlines for online redemption. These are two that most members will never use, but it’s going to add convenience for those who do — especially since that makes connections onto these carriers bookable as part of a larger award.

American is also updating their award chart online around 10 a.m. Eastern this morning to reflect award chart pricing changes for Hawaii that will go into effect January 16th.

Lie Flat Premium Cabin Hawaii Awards Getting More Expensive

Flights with lie flat seats to Hawaii will be getting more expensive. Booking saver awards in premium cabins on these flights is near-impossible, so I’m not sure the point of the change, other than what this will do to American’s 5 other award price levels.

[W]e will be increas[ing] some award levels for premium award travel to/from Hawaii. The demand for lie-flat seats to/from Hawaii is high. So we’re adjusting the award chart to reflect the demand increase and will be differentiating between lie-flat and non-lie-flat seats.

American already charges 40,000 miles each way at the saver level. The second of 5 AAnytime levels costs 90,000 miles each way. And we’re being told pricing for lie flat seats is getting more expensive.

You’re almost always better off booking saver awards on U.S. airlines through non-U.S. partner frequent flyer programs. Here are some of the best deals to Hawaii.

Some Canada Awards Will Get Less Expensive

We’ll see details online in a couple of hours, but American shares that Canada awards are being aligned with U.S. domestic 48 award prices for bookings made January 16 onward.

align the award levels for travel to/from Canada with the U.S. 48, resulting in lower award levels in some cases and in others, no change.

Cape Air Awards Now Online

Cape Air awards can only be booked on four routes, flights between St. Louis and:

  • Ft Leonardwood, MO (TBN)
  • Kirksville, MO (IRK)
  • Marion, IL (MWA)
  • Owensboro, KY (OWB)

S7 (Siberia Airlines) Awards Now Online

Siberia Airlines, now S7, was created with the breakup of Aeroflot with the fall of the Soviet Union. It was one of the original Babyflots, and operates a fleet of about 90 narrowbody aircraft mostly to domestic destinations however they do operate to cities like Beijing, Bangkok, Berlin, Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Munich, Prague, Seoul, Shanghai, Stockholm, and Tokyo. Of those only Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Helsinki are oneworld hubs.

American’s redemption rules exclude some S7 awards: “Destinations in Eastern Russia aren’t valid for redemption on S7.”

At one point AA.com defined banned award destinations as:

Destinations in Eastern Russia (east of the Ural Mountains) include Barnaul, Bratsk, Chita, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Kurgan, Nizhnevartovsk, Novokuznetsk, Novy Urengoy, Nadym, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Surgut, Tomsk, Ulan-ude, Blagoveshchensk, Magadan, Khabarovsk, Norilsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Vladivostok, Yakutsk

If you’re looking to travel to this region, British Airways miles work just fine.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. AA award tickets LAX to Maui over Thanksgiving week this year were 180k round trip for COACH. I’ve never seen that published on their charts, but that’s what they were charging. Started looking as soon as they were bookable and kept my eye on it. The plane remained almost empty so it wasn’t for lack of seats or last minute booking. We have made this trip every other year for the past 12 years and have never seen anything close to this outrageous.

  2. DTG – Hopefully a little competition from Southwest will help you next year! We go to maui over the holidays annually and have noticed saver space is very tough to come by!

  3. While I wouldn’t say saver first class space to/from Hawaii is easy to find, it is not nearly as hard to find as it used to be if your dates are flexible, even in lie flat. The key is that AA seems to be playing a lot of married segment games with these flights.

    For example I have booked 3x KOA->DFW->PHX and 2x KOA->DFW->RDU on a Tuesday next August for 40K miles each, with the first segment being a redeye on a lie flat 777. The key is that KOA->DFW had no saver space directly, but when I changed the destination to PHX or RDU there were >5 seats available on that same KOA->DFW flight.

    There also was quite a bit of saver first class space to and from KOA through LAX, though this of course is not lie flat.

    And, the married segment part means I don’t think it could be booked anywhere except through AA.

  4. Hawaiian Airlines stock is down almost 25% in the past week.

    I bet there will be some deals to Hawaii coming.

  5. Yikes, any chance this could affect the standard award pricing for business/first from Hawaii to Europe? I’ve been waiting to purchase mine since there seems to be no benefit to book early on standard awards.

  6. Looks like earning Chase Ultimate Reward Points from Chase Sapphire Reserve and then purchasing tickets at $0.015 value is making more sense (plus you earn mileage for the trip).

  7. @Daniel – because they are in Asia, farther from S7’s hub in Moscow and usually more expensive? Some carriers define Asian part of Russia as not part of Europe, though in case of AA I believe it is.

  8. American Airlines’ rationale for increasing mileage awards to Hawaii (“The demand for lie-flat seats to/from Hawaii is high.”) is a result of their manipulation to increase profits. I just returned on AA from HNL to DFW, and it took 2 days to leave HNL due a single cancelled flight. The next day’s flight was similarly delayed 24 hours. It turns out that AA only has a single daily flight from DFW to HNL and return during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    This route is busy enough to support 2 or more daily flights year-round, but why should AA do so when they can drive up ticket prices by only having a single daily flight each way between HNL and DFW? AA has partnerships with 2 international banks that dole out thousands of miles per customer, and so have plenty of incentive to increase their mileage awards. There’s little doubt that customer service is a thing of the past with this airline.

  9. Hawaii is a tough one for award charts. West coast to Hawaii is 5hrs. East Coast to Hawaii is 10+hrs. Is there any other zone-pairs where there’s potential for a 100+% delta in distance?

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