The Latest Evidence That The Double Miles Award Will Now Cost Triple Miles

American announced the introduction of Dallas – Hong Kong service back in October.

Schedules are now loaded, and the flight is bookable. The schedule is:

    12:40pm Depart Dallas Fort Worth – -Arrive Hong Kong 6:00pm +1
    1:30pm Depart Hong Kong – Arrive Dallas Fort Worth 4:30pm

It’s operated by their new premium product onboard a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. I flew the product back in March and found business class to be outstanding.

Unfortunately, as of now, there is literally no business or first class saver award space and also no confirmable upgrade space.

That’s not surprising — getting into premium cabins on the new 777-300ER aircraft far in advance without paying full boat has been tough, and this is by far American’s longest flight. At the very least they’re going to want to see whether they can sell these seats before ‘giving them away’ and they do not have historical data for the flight upon which to base decisions on releasing space yet.

But here’s the kicker: American has created a new award ‘region’ for these flights, at a higher price for buying out of capacity controls.

Back in April I declared the end of the ‘double miles’ award.

Only American offers last seat award availability to all members at double the miles of saver awards (other airlines can charge as much as triple). And I said that would not last.

American started flying to Seoul and they didn’t raise the price of existing double mileage awards. Instead they created a new award region for travel on American, just to Seoul, at a price more than double saver awards for “AAnytime awards.”

As with Seoul, with the introduction of Hong Kong as a new destination they’ve created a new award region and are charging more than double the saver price for additional award space.

The one-way price of an AAnytime award is:

  • 85,000 in coach
  • 175,000 in business
  • 195,000 in first

That’s 170,000, 350,000, and 390,000 roundtrip, respectively!

Remember that a first class saver award is just 135,000 miles roundtrip (and you can fly Cathay Pacific if you can find availability). I do think that price will go up eventually.

But the key point here is that new flights are coming at more than double coach for last seat availability.

Meanwhile, US Airways has charged more than double and indeed has a three-tier award chart, for similar space.

With American as the lone holdout, and charging more for new routes, I think we can expect that the biggest changes eventually to come down the pike are going to be increases in what were once double miles awards — settling on an industry standard that’s closer to triple.

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. 390,000 miles for RT DCA-HKG YIKES!!! the AA 77W is a great product, I flew First LHR-DFW using 62.5K miles on my RTW trip in Oct. And last month JFK-LHR in Business. But next July I’m doing DCA-HKG in First on Cathay for just 62.5K w/ Krug. Coming back on Asiana in suites using 70K UA miles

    Also just booked Shower Suites on Emirates SYD-DXB-JFK for next Oct RTW Trip at flex level for 262,500 miles (transferred from SPG & AmEx) and about $525 in fees and taxes.

    HKG on AA can wait 🙂

  2. i rarely see the point of last seat other than emergency / insurance.

    85000 x 2 (for RT) x 2cpm = $3400

    It’s not that hard to find RT tickets to HKG in economy below $3400, even last minute.

  3. @Jeff Bianco that was my first reaction when the flight was announced… and Hong Kong is an expensive airport at which to park, too.

  4. @Jen – no, this is just about spending extra points when saver awards aren’t available, that’s not even an option with partner airlines. No change at this point to any existing award price.

  5. I f’n hate airlines!! LOL Oh, well, it will be fun to see what they do when the world economy crashes again, there is another nasty recession, and their 90% full flights are 50% full. All the loyalty they’ve thrown away the past few years will get shoved in their faces. Ah, that will be fun. True, I still will have to burn a million miles for a flight. But at least there will be tons of availability!! 🙂

  6. Actually, charging 3X miles for Anytime is not the worst part of this post. The really horrible part is the total lack of any Saver availability, in any class of service.

    I’ve flown AA FC TATL dozens of times on awards over the past 20 years, and have never paid the Anytime rate. So it wouldn’t matter to me if they raised the one way Anytime price to a million miles. But if Saver availability disappears…. 🙁

    Which is already partly happening TATL for summer 2014. Even booked 330 days out, most routes have only one FC seat available per flight. So instead of 250K miles for a pair of awards on the same flight, a couple pays 375K miles for 1 FC Saver and 1 FC Anytime. And if the Saver awards totally disappear, that goes to 500K per couple.

    With the Citi AA cc no longer churnable, AA doesn’t even have to devalue the award chart, just stop making Saver awards available. Then for most of us, whether a couple wanting an “aspirational trip”, or a family of 4 going in economy, award flights go from difficult to virtually unattainable.

  7. I’ve used 3 AAnytime awards, and they were all basically urgent situations. In that case I appreciate just getting into Y. AAnytime in F seems like a bad idea even at 2x.

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