American AAdvantage Splits Up the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent Award Regions

On Friday American made a change to their oneworld and other partner award chart. They split up two regions that used to be a single region on the web page.

The “Middle East / Indian Subcontinent” region has now become two separate regions: “Middle East” and “Indian Subcontinent”

There has been no change to award pricing, however.

My fear when I saw this was twofold:

  1. Whether this suggested future price changes for travel to one region versus the other, hence the desire to decouple.

  2. How this would affect routing rules, the flights we’re able to take when booking awards.

Neither of these appear to be the case at this time. While American does have a “third region rule,” where you are only able to connect in a region other than that of your origin or destination where there is a specific exception allowing it, and so I worried we might not be able to use Etihad between the US and India or the Maldives as a single award any longer, that’s not the case.

Instead, I’m told this is purely a cosmetic change on the website, in order to be clearer to members which countries now allow transpacific travel and not just transatlantic routings.

Cathay Pacific First Class

Last month American AAdvantage improved its award routing rules to allow travel to the ‘Indian Subcontinent’ via the Pacific on American Airlines and on Cathay Pacific. You no longer have to fly exclusively via the Atlantic, for instance, when traveling between Los Angeles and Delhi.

By separately defining the countries that are part of the Indian subcontinent they make clear where this applies:

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Kazakhstan
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

And that this exception doesn’t apply to travel to the Mideast region (Bahrain; Egypyt; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates).

In practice, of course, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan aren’t actually eligible for transpacific routings because Cathay Pacific doesn’t serve those countries and flights must be via Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific Destinations in the Indian Subcontinent Region

Put another way, there’s no change to pricing or routings and these ‘new regions’ are simply cosmetic for clarity.

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, 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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  1. Does this affect routing rules re: Etihad? AA normally doesn’t allow routing via a third region unless it’s Doha on QR, after the split there’s no exception noted for Etihad.

  2. “fewer” should be “future”, I think. That sentence threw me for a loop before I figured out the typo.

  3. Indian subcontinent economy/ business / first will change to 45k/85k/120k respectively by end of the year. I promise you this.

  4. Does this decoupling make me look fat?
    Or rather, watch this decoupling fatten my bottom (line.)

  5. I don’t see any big conspiracy here. Programs can do what they want, they don’t need to “lay the groundwork” first.

    The rules change to allow to routings on CX to the Indian subcontinent was a little confusing. This does clear things up.

  6. @aa-devalue, of course there will be another change. Just wait when PEY kicks in.

  7. Doesn’t this increase the mileage to fly to Colombo, which was is Asia 2…but now is in Indian subcontinent?
    Previously it was fewer miles to Sri Lanka, and made sense to fly there and buy the one way to Male

  8. U cant fly on EY, DEL to LHR in 1 ticket, after they split regions, right?

    If so, isn’t this a big devaluation?

  9. @Flyingfish – incorrect, the separation of these regions on the award chart does not create separate regions for routing rules

  10. Late to the party on this one. Does this impact something like an India-Maldives award, where the only option is to route through the Middle East? Can something like BOM-AUH-MLE be done in an India subcontinent award?

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