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devaluation-down-the-toiletAs you probably already know, today (Monday, March 21st) is the last day to use any of your American miles before their award chart changes (i.e. devalues) on Tuesday March 22nd.

(SEE ALSO: American Airlines devaluation: Earning, Status and Award Chart – what you need to know)

(SEE ALSO: Top 5 worst American Airlines award chart devaluations)

(SEE ALSO: 5 countries that are changing their region as part of the AA devaluation)

If you’ve got a trip in mind, I hope you’ve already booked it (or will by the end of the day!)  But today’s question comes from reader Glenn, who asks

I have about 200k AA miles that I would like to use to book first class travel to London for as far out as possible before the devaluation on 3/22.  Any advice on how to do this in the few days remaining, and once booked, will I be able to change the dates forward as long as the original itinerary is not changed?  I have  read conflicting reports about this point.  Ultimately, I would like to travel in September 2017.  I know at this time AA does not have a schedule that far in advance, so it would require an interim booking with a change when the schedule becomes available.  Thanks for any help you can provide.

What to do if you DON’T have a trip planned already

In Glenn’s case, he has a trip in mind, but can’t book it because he really wants to travel in September 2017, and there are not awards published out that far

I would caution AGAINST speculatively booking trips, which is not to say don’t do it, but just be careful with what you’re doing.  Ben from One Mile at a Time had a great article on this a little bit ago, but the basic idea is as long as the award does not have to be re-issued, you CAN make changes and keep the existing (pre-devaluation) price.

japan-airlines-first-class-review-plane-1So, with that in mind, here are a few guidelines if you want to keep the price of your trip at the pre-devaluation levels

  1. Your origin, destination, class of service, and whether it’s a saver or standard award HAVE to remain the same.  If you change any of those later, the award will reprice
  2. All travel must be completed by 1 year from the original date the ticket was booked.  Anything booked today must have all travel completed by March 21st, 2017.  So in Glenn’s case, he won’t be able to book something today and travel in September 2017
  3. The general set of airlines used must also remain the same.  American has two types of partners.  There are oneworld partners (British Airways, Cathay Pacific, etc.) as well as non alliance partners such as Alaska Airlines, Etihad, Air Tahiti Nui, etc.  So you can’t book a flight on British Airways now, and then change it to one on Etihad – that will require a re-issue and re-price

If you do end up booking something speculatively, you probably want to focus on a route that is a popular route (to give you plenty of options for award space to open up), or look for airlines that often open up award space closer to destination (Cathay and Japan Airlines are ones that I think of off the top of my head)

Good luck out there and happy booking!

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