American Airlines Unveils 5-Tier Award Redemption Chart, New Baggage Policies

By Paul Riegler on 8 April 2014
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American Airlines check-in area at JFK

American Airlines check-in area at JFK

American Airlines announced several changes to both its AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles frequent-flyer programs as well as to its checked-baggage policies.

Starting today for travel commencing June 1, American is offering a lower one-way redemption rate for AAnytime awards of 20,000 miles, effectively creating three tiers in this category of award travel.  AAnytime awards are used when the lowest-cost MileSAAver awards are not available.  The lowest redemption rate was previously 25,000 miles.  American says that the AAnytime travel rate will be available for more than half of the year and that MileSAAver awards are not impacted by the change.  It is, however, implementing a higher redemption rate for what it calls the “busiest travel days of the year” and those awards will be available at 50,000 miles for a one-way ticket.  The changes effectively create a five-tier award chart.

The airline also said it is eliminating oneworld Explorer distance-based awards going forward.

For Dividend Miles members, American is offering the equivalent of AAnytime awards without blackout dates, also starting June 1.

The airline also announced changes to its checked-bag policy.  AAdvantage Gold and Dividend Miles Platinum and Gold members will be able to check one fewer bag for free going forward and passengers travelling on an American AAnytime award or a full-fare economy ticket will no longer receive free checked bags.

Holders of a US Airways MasterCard with an annual fee of $79 or higher will get one free checked bag, and American Airlines Citi credit card holders will continue to get this benefit as well.

The baggage policy changes take effect immediately on American flights and on April 23 for US Airways flights.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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