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It’s an exciting time for American Airlines passengers who prefer flying Etihad or Royal Jordanian with their AAdvantage miles. American Airlines has decided to allow more options for rewards connections in the Middle East. Before, if you wanted to connect in the Middle East on an award ticket, Doha was your only option (unless you wanted to spend a bunch of extra miles).

american airlines changes

This was pretty inconvenient because it limited award redemption options. Now, you’ll be able to take advantage of more connection options.

Old Connections 

If you’re flying Etihad, you’ll now be able to connect in Abu Dhabi. If you prefer Royal Jordanian, you’ll be able to connect in Amman.

Until now, you could book award tickets through American with Etihad. But, you could only fly to Abu Dhabi. If Abu Dhabi wasn’t your final stop, you’d have to book an entirely separate itinerary from Abu Dhabi to continue to your destination.

In essence, you had to book two completely separate award tickets which resulted in some pretty terrible redemption rates, discouraging passengers from booking awards tickets with Etihad or Royal Jordanian.

New Connections and American Airlines Changes

Now you can avoid that hassle by being able to fly Etihad and transit Abu Dhabi without having to book those separate tickets.

Let’s say you’d like to fly from Chicago to Mumbai through Abu Dhabi. Before the restrictions were lifted, you’d have to fly from ORD to AUH and then book a separate awards flight from AUH to BOM, swallowing the relevant extra fees and the reality of a poor miles redemption.

Today, you can book a straight ORD-BOM ticket with your AAdvantage miles. Even with the transit through AUH, you can use your miles with the new approved connection. It’s a much better option for passengers who prefer redeeming AAdvantage miles with Etihad.

But what about those who want to redeem their AAdvantage miles with Royal Jordanian? Basically, the same rules apply. Amman is now an approved Middle Eastern connection hub.

Suppose you’d like to fly from Montreal to Dubai, transiting Amman. Instead of booking two separate awards tickets from YUL-AMM and then AMM-DXB, you can book a YUL-DXB ticket that transits Amman for a much better miles redemption.

All in all, these new policy changes really end up saving AAdvantage members a lot of miles when booking rewards tickets with Etihad and Royal Jordanian.

Further Details About the New American Airlines Changes

Additionally, the new policy will affect flights between the US and India by adding some extra sanctions that didn’t exist before. As of the policy change, you won’t be able to book awards flights that double-connect in Europe as well as the Middle East if you are traveling between the US and India.

However, this shouldn’t be a huge problem. Before, you could travel with Qatar between the US and India by connecting in Doha. Now you can travel with Etihad by connecting in Abu Dhabi.

Royal Jordanian does not fly to India, so this policy won’t apply to awards tickets booked with Royal Jordanian. But as Qatar used to be the only option for US-India connecting flights, it’s pretty beneficial to have another option since it’s often difficult to find space and availability on those Qatar flights.

Final Thoughts on American Airlines Changes to Routing Rules

These new American Airlines changes seem to be a step in the right direction. But, it would be nice to see them implement some similar policy changes in the future. For example, there aren’t a whole lot of good ways to redeem AAdvantage miles to get to far-East Asia. This is even though you could technically now use the Royal Jordanian connection to do so. Hopefully, we will see more positive changes from American Airlines in the future. For now, we can enjoy the new options for Middle East connections. Related articles:

Caroline Lupini

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American Airlines Changes Improve Routing for Flights in the Middle East
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