I don’t normally post these “deals” anymore but I wanted to reflect on something related. However I also wanted to avoid a clickbait-y title so I didn’t know what else to put as the title.
Anyway since the title has the “deal” in it let me get that out of the way: 30k AA miles for a 20k SPG transfer now until 8/7. Useful if you’re in a bind and better than the normal 20 => 25 rate but SPG points can be very valuable (and tough to earn especially for people who don’t MS regularly) so don’t go overboard.
What I really wanted to discuss was whether this transfer bonus might be warning signs of the potential AA devaluation. I say potential because I think it’s important for us to realize the potential of devaluation is omnipresent for any program.
Let’s review a few points:
1) AA currently has the most generous overall frequent flyer program when it comes to mileage redemption rates
2) The merger is almost complete which means they’ll be free to start tinkering soon
3) Transfer bonuses are much more rare than they used to be
Now the first counterpoint to the idea that this transfer bonus means a devaluation might be coming is the exact same bonus ran last year. That’s definitely a good counterpoint, but I think AA is in a different place now.
We’ve seen this before, British Airways just had a 40% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards this year that ended three months before their devaluation. It’s just common sense business wise, get people to invest in your mileage currency and then change the value of that currency.
So AAdvantage is currently the most generous frequent flyer program out there. It’s almost been 18 months since United announced their award chart devaluation and almost two years (!) since Delta announced theirs. The merger is almost complete. AAdvantage is offering a transfer bonus from SPG. The tea leaves say this devaluation is coming soon, the only question is when and by how much. I should also note that these devaluations tend to hurt the aspirational redeemers the most, if you’re redeeming for coach all the time you should probably be okay.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but I find it nice to receive regular reminders that the next devaluation is always around the corner. A lot of the time (though not all), when there is a good deal, there’s another shoe to drop on the other side. Be smart about your transfers and quick about your redemptions – airline specific miles for future use are devaluation risks, transferable points are better, cash is king (but less fun if you’re trying to be aspirational). And if you’re going to take advantage of this promotion, I think you should have a specific use in mind. Otherwise you might get caught up in the emotion of getting a good deal and then when you redeem the miles a year from now get caught up in the emotion again, all the while losing sight of whether you actually got a good deal in the first place.