Utilizing a New Sweet Spot on the AAdvantage Award Chart
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When the American Airlines AAdvantage made award chart changes earlier this year, most of the changes increased prices for awards. However, there were some changes that dropped the prices of select awards as I outlined here. One award price drop that I think is very useful for vacationing families is the price from the lower 48 to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.
Before the March 2016 changes, awards to the Caribbean, and islands I am eyeing like St. Kitts, were 17,500 American Airlines miles each way at the saver level except during the off-peak dates in the fall (hurricane season). Now awards are 15,000 miles each way at the saver level, and the off-peak prices of 12,500 miles each way include not only fall dates of September 7 – November 14, , but also spring travel dates of April 27 – May 20th.
We are strongly considering a trip in that date range to the new (hopefully open by then) Park Hyatt St. Kitts. In fact, this may very well be our first non-kids trip since Baby S was born, and since she will be almost two year old Toddler S by then, we will be MORE THAN READY for a few nights away. Not that long ago two AAdvantage saver awards from Houston to St. Kitts in the spring would have cost us a total 70,000 AAdvantage miles. Now those same award flights cost us just 50,000 total AAdvantage miles!
That is a tremendous deal, especially considering that cash prices to St. Kitts are likely $700+ each round trip. At 25,000 miles per round trip that is a very healthy 2.8 cents return per mile for an economy award. Actually it is even better than that since we will get 10% of our redeemed miles back thanks to having an eligible American co-branded credit card. That means our final cost will be just 45,000 miles for the two round trip tickets to (kid free?!) paradise!
There is no question that going this route is the best deal to get to an island like St. Kitts, and it is a perfect example of how even when many awards get more expensive during award chart changes, there are often some route gems that become an even better deal. It was not that long ago that I thought a fancy vacation somewhere like St. Kitts would be way out of my price range, but thanks to American Airlines miles and Hyatt points it may well be something that we can pull off without going broke in the process!
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