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One of the things that has long been on my travel bucket list is to take an around the world trip.  I wrote about this a few months ago (READ: How’s this round-the-world (RTW) itinerary look?) with a possible itinerary of using 100,000 Alaska miles to fly first class Emirates from the US through Dubai into SE Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, somewhere…) and then using 67,500 American AAdvantage miles to fly Cathay Pacific first class from Asia back to the US.

Maybe a little something like this?


Impending AA devaluation!

As you probably already know, American Airlines is devaluing their AAdvantage program in mid-March 2016.  One of the worst devaluations is on first class redemptions from the US to Southeast Asia.  Whereas bookings made before March are 67,500 miles, after the devaluation, it will cost 110,000 AAdvantage miles (a 63% increase)!!!

So whereas before this round the world trip was kind of a “one-day” thing, with the devaluation, it became a little more pressing.

Emirates availability isn’t AMAZING, but there’s enough dates that will work.  The trick is the Cathay Pacific first class availability.  There’s just about nothing, but from what I understand, availability sometimes opens up 10-14 days out.  We were looking at going sometime in February or so (dates pretty flexible)

Upgrading an award

American has one of the best award policies out there – as long as the origin and destination remain the same, even non-elites can change the dates, times or routing.  So one thought that I had was as long as I could find ANY availability for the Singapore to US route, I could book it, and then upgrade to Cathay First Class if/when it became available.

But I wasn’t sure how that might work, especially if I was upgrading (it’s 35,000 miles one-way in economy and 55,000 miles in business class).


Would it be as simple as just paying the extra miles?  Plus close-in booking fee if applicable?  I know that One Mile at a Time recently posted about how it might work with award changes after the devaluation, but in my case, I’d (ideally) be booking and flying pre-devaluation (unless our schedule doesn’t work out).  It looks like I would NOT be able to change class of service after the devaluation without paying the new prices, which makes sense to me.

Can anyone with more experience share how upgrading class of service with American works?


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