In my opinion, the dirtiest trick a loyalty program has is to raise the cost of awards without giving customers any notice. I can’t think of a worse way to treat your customers, particularly the ones that fly you the most, than to not give them a warning about changes to their rewards program. This just happened with both American Airlines and US Airways.
Lucky from One Mile at a Time posted about changes to American Airlines’ standard awards. These are not the Saver-level awards that you should be redeeming for and that I always discuss, but rather the more expensive options that are available. Now they’re even more expensive, a change that was made over night without any notice. Shame on American Airlines.
It’s also been reported that stopovers are no longer allowed on American Airlines awards. DansDeals seems to have confirmed this, and it’s also a huge loss. Again, no warning was given regarding this change.
Then, in an even bigger devaluation, US Airways’ award chart suddenly reflects 110K miles for a round trip Business Class ticket from the US to North Asia. Previously this was one of the biggest sweet spots on any award chart at just 90K miles, but that option has literally disappeared overnight. First Class is actually only 10K more and remains at 120K round trip.
As far as I can tell, this is the only change that’s been made to the US Airways award chart. That doesn’t mean there won’t be additional changes in the coming days or even hours, so don’t hold your breath. I can’t remind you enough – burn the miles you currently have! They are a terrible investment for the future.
The changes themselves aren’t that surprising to me, but the timing and lack of notice are. If there’s a sweet spot on an award chart, you can bet that it will be changed at some point. A 20K devaluation actually isn’t so terrible in my mind – but it worries me that other changes are also on their way.
With American Airlines handing out 100K miles at a time and US Airways essentially allowing you to buy miles at 1.16 cents each, a devaluation was bound to happen. Add that to the fact that the two airlines are merging and you just knew something bad was coming. But Delta, Hilton, United, Southwest and Hyatt all gave advanced notice. What the heck is wrong with American and US?!
[Hat Tip: Boris]