With the new devaluations quickly approaching from American Airlines, I am running into a question that I'm going to ask here. Is it better to switch my plans to go to Africa, and instead make a trip to the Middle East?
For some background, I have planned to make the trip to Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Doha, orginally that was going to happen in 2017, so this isn't out of left field. Right now the trip to Cape Town would be a paid flight, a lot of that had to do with a paid flight giving me needed miles for Platinum Status renewal. Problem now is two fold, first is the fact that flying completely to Cape Town as a revenue fare on Qatar, will now cut my EQM earning in half due to American's new policy on travel with partner airlines... so really this trip isn't as worth it as it has been in the past. Second is the fact that the award flight I want to take will be jumping fairly significantly next year with the new award costs fro American.
So I'm considering swapping my flights and booking my award travel to the Middle East sooner rather than later. If I book before the changes then I can book a flight on Etihad Airways for 90,000 miles in First class. If I wait until the changes come into affect after March 22nd, then I will be spending 115,000 miles. That means if I book in the near term, it'll save me 25,000 miles... a fairly significant chunk of miles I could use toward another flight.
The down side is that I will be missing out on Africa for another year, which may be a blessing in disguise. My normal trips are fast paced, and city focused. There is no doubt that Cape Town is a wonderful city, but there is a ton to do outside of the city as well... I mean it is Africa after all. Given some more time to plan for this trip, I may be able to see things outside of the city, things like a safari or something that may be once in a lifetime, or at the very least a more amazing experience.
Really I think the right answer is to book the Middle East trip sooner rather than later, save the miles and leave the Cape Town as a revenue flight, or maybe even an award flight in 2017. This seems to make the best use of points and the best chance to continue on my journey's in the future.
What do you think? How would you make use of the miles you have in this situation?