29 Best Ways to Redeem American Airlines AAdvantage Miles for Max Value

Qatar QSuites, 777, Honeymoon Suite

Full Disclosure: We may be financially compensated when you click on links to credit card products from our advertising partners, such as American Express, Chase, Citi & Capital One. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. Thanks!

American Airlines miles are a little bit tougher to use than rewards on some of their competitor airlines, like United. Though there is good economy availability and American is a great airline to fly, you’ll have to work a little bit harder to find award space.

Once you know what to look for and where to find it, you’ll be on your way to making some world-class award redemptions with your American Airlines miles! American AAdvantage miles cannot be transferred directly to partners for use, so you’ll likely have to find the flights you are interested in booking and call American Airlines to book your award ticket.

Here are 29 of the best ways to use your American Airlines miles for maximum value. These will include various business and first class products you can fly, as well as some routes with great pricing.

Table of contents

Table of Contents

American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

Earn American AAdvantage program miles to redeem flights with American Airlines, any of the following Oneworld alliance partners, or other additional partners of American Airlines.

Earn AA Points With Credit Card Partners

American Airlines branded credit cards are available through Citi and Barclays.

Marriott Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to American Airlines at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 AAdvantage miles bonus.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

The 29 Best Ways to Use Your AA Miles

Read on to find out some of the top ways to redeem your American Airlines AAdvantage miles for maximum value and find some inspiration for your next trip!

1. Fly Etihad First Class Apartment From Abu Dhabi to New York City

Etihad First Class Apartment - Apartment 4K from Doorway
Happy Flying! Image Credit: Alex Miller

In order to book a flight on Etihad, you’ll need to search for award flight availability on Etihad.com and then call American Airlines reservations to book.

Find an available “Guest First” seat if you are looking for Etihad first class award flights. If 1 is available, the AA phone representative will be able to book first class using your AA miles.

You may have to call the American Airlines call center in Australia (or another country) in order for the representative to be able to see availability for business and first class redemptions.

To complete the booking, in this case, you can put your AA award travel on hold with that call center, and then call back to a U.S. call center to finalize.

One of the best redemptions available is flying first class from the U.S. to Abu Dhabi. This award would cost you 115,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in the First Class Apartment.

Business class on the same flight would cost 70,000 American Airlines miles, and economy goes for a mere 40,000 miles each way.

Here’s the exact route you’ll want to book:

  • New York City (JFK) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Etihad first class.

Hot Tip: Use the Priority Pass benefit from The Platinum Card® from American Express on your stopover to enjoy some time at the lounges currently available in the Abu Dhabi airport: the Al Dhabi, Al Reem, and Diamond lounges.

2. Fly Etihad’s First Class Apartments Between Abu Dhabi and Seoul

Etihad Apartments, Upper Deck
For only 50,000 AAdvantage miles, you can savor first class on Etihad’s First Class Apartments to Seoul. Image Credit: Alex Miller

One of the best ways to redeem AAdvantage miles is on Etihad’s A380 route to Seoul-Incheon (ICN). Whereas the 13-14 hour flight between New York (JFK) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) costs 110,000 miles, the 9-10 hour flight from Seoul (ICN) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) costs less than half, at an astonishing 50,000 AAdvantage miles one-way.

When you consider the flight time and compare it to the flight to New York City, it would be like getting a 75,000-85,000 AAdvantage mile flight for only 50,000 AAdvantage miles, which represents a 30-40% savings in miles.

So, while one of the best ways to redeem AAdvantage miles from the U.S. is on Etihad’s sole U.S. A380 route in the First Class Apartments, the best, most cost-effective way to redeem AAdvantage miles on Etihad’s First Class Apartments is undoubtedly between Seoul and Abu Dhabi.

Here’s the exact route to look for:

  • Seoul-Incheon (ICN) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)

3. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class From New York to Vancouver

Use Cathay Pacific to fly American Airlines business class to Frankfurt!
Cathay Pacific first class. Image Credit: Alex Miller

Finding first class award seats on Cathay Pacific is getting tougher and tougher as the airline keeps limiting the number of available bookings made through partner airlines.

Nevertheless, if you can find a first class award ticket on Cathay and book it with your AA miles — do it! They have one of the best first class experiences in the industry.

You’ll need to search for Cathay Pacific award flight availability on BritishAirways.com, JAL.com, or Qantas.com and then call American Airlines reservations to book.

American Airlines prices to Asia 2 (including Hong Kong) stands at 110,000 miles each direction. This is a steep price, but it will give you access to a wonderful first class product for 14-16 hours.

Economy tickets to Southeast Asia are a great deal, too.

You’ll be able to fly to Southeast Asia in economy for 37,500 American Airlines miles, but if your final destination is Japan or South Korea, you’ll get away with a steal of 35,000 miles.

If you’re dead set on flying Cathay Pacific first class anyway, you should check out the New York to Vancouver route for 100,000 miles round-trip or 50,000 miles one way.

This is the exact route:

  • New York City (JFK) – Vancouver (YVR)

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Cathay Pacific first class.

4. Fly Qatar Airways QSuites From the U.S. to the Middle East

Qatar QSuites, 777, Turndown Service with Lie-flat bed
Qatar Airways QSuites is rated the top business class in the world, for good reason. Image Credit: Alex Miller

Qatar Airways QSuites is one of the world’s hottest business class products. Ranked the top business class by SkyTrax, it is absolutely one of the best possible ways to fly in business class.

If you decide to fly on QSuites, be sure to reference the best ways to book Qatar Airways QSuites with points, too. QSuites from the U.S. can be booked for 70,000 AAdvantage miles one-way plus minimal taxes (less than $100 per person one way).

If you can find availability, flying from a west coast city like Los Angeles (LAX) is nearly 16 hours, which is a long time to be enjoying QSuites.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Doha (DOH)
  • Houston (IAH) – Doha (DOH)
  • Washington D.C. (IAD) – Doha (DOH)

5. Fly Qatar Airways QSuites From the U.S. to Africa

Qatar, QSuites, 11F & 11E, Boeing 777
Image Credit: Alex Miller

If the Middle East is not on your radar, you can still book Qatar Airways using AAdvantage miles to get to Africa.

For only 5,000 miles more, flights from the U.S. to Africa via Doha (DOH) on Qatar Airways is 75,000 AAdvantage miles! This unbelievable deal would effectively add 8-9 hours if flown to a country like South Africa.

Unfortunately, no stopovers are allowed, so you won’t be able to spend time in Doha (DOH) if you wish you secure this mileage price. Instead, you’ll have to pay separately for the second segment.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Doha (DOH) – Johannesburg (JNB)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Doha (DOH) – Windhoek (WDH)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Doha (DOH) – Seychelles (SEZ)

6. Fly Qatar Airways QSuites from South America 2 to Africa

Qatar QSuites A350 Lighting & View from Bulkhead
Image Credit: Alex Miller

Yet another redemption for those who want to maximize their time in QSuites is flying from South America 2 to Africa. AAdvantage charges 97,500 AAdvantage miles for flights from South America 2 to Africa, and you can transit via Doha (DOH).

Considering the flight from São Paulo (GRU) to Doha (DOH) is nearly 15 hours in duration and flights from Doha (DOH) to Southern Africa are 7-9 hours long, you could get up to an entire 24 hours in QSuites for only 97,500 AAdvantage miles.

If that isn’t spectacular value, then I don’t know what is. Furthermore, if you originate in a country like Brazil, your fuel surcharges are limited, which is the icing on the cake.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • São Paulo (GRU) – Doha (DOH) – Cape Town (CPT)
  • São Paulo (GRU) – Doha (DOH) – Maputo (MPT)
  • São Paulo (GRU) – Doha (DOH) – Mount Kilimanjaro (JRO)

7. Fly From Doha to China With Qatar Airways in First Class

Qatar Airways A380 First Class Seat
Qatar Airways A380 first class. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Qatar Airways is a great option for a luxurious business or first class redemption. Here, you’ll get fully lie-flat seats in both business and first class that are very spacious. The business class armrests go down when it’s time to sleep – seriously a great design!

Food options are quite good, and Qatar’s First Class Lounge in Doha is a favorite of many frequent travelers. An inexpensive way to get a taste of Qatar’s business or first class is with an award between the Middle East and Asia 1 (Japan or Korea).

Awards cost 40,000 AAdvantage miles in business class or 50,000 miles in first. Here’s the exact route to look for:

  • Doha (DOH) – Guangzhou (CAN)

8. Try 2 Rare First Class Products From the Middle East to Australia

China Southern A330 First Class
China Southern A330 first class. Image Credit: China Southern

For only 100,000 AAdvantage miles, you can get a total of 18 hours in first class on China Southern, one of the largest airlines in the world. Ever since their departure from SkyTeam, there haven’t been many ways to book first class.

If you fly between Australia and the Middle East, you can transit via Asia 2, which includes China Southern’s hub airport, Guangzhou (CAN).

You’ll get to try Qatar Airways A380 First Class and China Southern’s first class, which are both 2 incredibly rare first class products in their own right.

Here are a few routes you can take:

  • Doha (DOH) – Guangzhou (CAN) – Melbourne (MEL)
  • Doha (DOH) – Guangzhou (CAN) – Sydney (SYD)
  • Doha (DOH) – Guangzhou (CAN) – Perth (PER) 
  • Doha (DOH) – Guangzhou (CAN) – Brisbane (BNE)

9. Fly LATAM Airlines in Business Class From Los Angeles to Santiago

LATAM business class Dreamliner
Image Credit: LATAM

Flying LATAM in business class to South America Region 1 (which includes Peru) and South America Region 2 (which includes Chile) remains one of the best ways to use AA miles.

One-way business class flights to South America Region 1 will cost 30,000 miles each way, and one-way business class flights to South America Region 2 will cost 57,500 American Airlines miles.

The easiest way to search LATAM flights is through British Airways’ website. Premium cabin availability can be tough to find, but with a little flexibility and patience, you should have the chance to experience LATAM.

Note that not all LATAM flights operate every day, so try switching to different days of the week if you’re having trouble finding availability.

You can also try searching for availability on LATAM’s own website under LANPASS. If you aren’t already a member, you’ll have to sign up for a membership before you can search for your desired dates and routes. LATAM will then show a calendar of options for the ticket.

Keep in mind that LATAM uses the metric system, so don’t be alarmed by the number of kilometers LATAM’s site says you’ll need for an award ticket. Since you’re booking with your American miles, it’s the AA mileage chart that will apply anyway.

Call up AA at 800-882-8880 with the LATAM flight information to book your desired award tickets with AAdvantage bonus miles.

Here’s the route we’re referring to:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Santiago (SCL) for 57,500 AAdvantage miles

10. Fly From Dallas to New Zealand With Qantas in Business Class

Qantas Business Class
Check out Qantas business class on their A330 with American Airlines miles. Image Credit: Qantas

Qantas has nonstop service to Sydney from Los Angeles and San Francisco, which makes flying Qantas a great option for flights to the South Pacific.

Fly from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, or Dallas to Australia or New Zealand one-way in business class for 80,000 American Airlines miles.

In first class, these flights would cost 110,000 miles each way. You can get there in economy for 40,000 miles.

Search for AAdvantage award travel availability on BA.com, then call American Airlines reservations to book.

Here’s the exact route to look for:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Sydney (SYD)

Need help booking? Check out the best ways to book Qantas business class or see how you can book this flight in first class.

Hot Tip: When traveling abroad, make sure you remember your credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. Our favorites are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the American Express® Gold Card.

11. Fly Between Australia and Hong Kong in Qantas First Class

Qantas First Class
Qantas first class receives raving reviews across the board. Image Credit: Qantas

In the spirit of excellent redemptions, it’s important to point out that flying on Qantas premium cabins are nearly impossible, considering how stingy Qantas is with releasing award availability.

This is absolutely true for routes that involve the United States, but less true for other routes. Interestingly, there is an excellent sweet spot between Hong Kong and Australia. Qantas operates the A380 on this flight, which is the only aircraft that offer first class.

On top of this, this 9-10 hour flight is priced out at an amazing 50,000 AAdvantage miles each way in first class! Booking this flight is an excellent way to leverage AAdvantage miles for Qantas first class redemptions that aren’t nearly impossible to book.

Here’s the route we’re talking about:

  • Hong Kong (HKG) – Sydney (SYD) 

12. Check out French Polynesia on Air Tahiti Nui From the U.S.

Air Tahiti Nui business class
Fly business class on Air Tahiti Nui for 80,000 miles to French Polynesia. Image Credit: Air Tahiti Nui

Ever wanted to go to French Polynesia? You can onboard Air Tahiti Nui, a French airline with its head office located in Tahiti.

Flying Air Tahiti Nui from the U.S. to French Polynesia costs 40,000 AA miles in economy or 80,000 AA miles in business class.

You can now search on the AA website for Air Tahiti Nui award availability.

There is only one route you can currently book:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Tahiti (PPT)

13. Fly From the U.S. to Tokyo With Japan Airlines in First Class

JAL A350 First Class
JAL A350 First Class. Image Credit: Japan Airlines

Using your American Airlines miles to fly Japan Airlines in a premium cabin presents another great option for a luxury redemption with your miles.

Many people rave about Japan Airlines’ service in both business and first class. You can fly from the U.S. to Japan for 80,000 American Airlines miles in first class, which is one of the best first class redemptions with American Airlines miles. Japan Airlines award space can be found on BA.com.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • New York City (JFK) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Japan Airlines first class.

Tokyo on your bucket list? Check out our Ultimate Travel Guide to Tokyo.

14. Fly From the U.S. to London and Onward With British Airways in First Class

british airways first class
If you don’t mind paying a fuel surcharge then British Airways is an amazing redemption with American Airlines miles. You probably won’t have trouble finding availability either! Image Credit: British Airways

British Airways award travel is easy to find because it is one of the few airlines that shows up on American Airlines’ award search tool, but it may not always be the most popular option due to fuel surcharges.

Nevertheless, British Airways does have great first and business class products as well as generally decent award space from the U.S. to Europe, as long as you are willing to pay the surcharges.

A flight from the U.S. to Europe would be 57,500 miles in business class or 85,000 miles in first class.

British Airways is reputed to have excellent award availability, even in first class! With a diverse number of nonstop routes to the U.S., British Airways is a safe bet to book family trips (3+ passengers) especially for those who are open to positioning flights in cities like Phoenix (PHX) and Denver (DEN).

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • San Diego (SAN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Washington D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Boston (BOS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

Need help booking? Read our guide to help you book British Airways First Class using Points!

15. Off-Peak to Europe in Economy on American Airlines

American Airlines Main Cabin
Main cabin (economy). Image Credit: American Airlines

American Airlines offers off-peak tickets, which are basically an ongoing sale for travel during certain dates. It’s always great to be able to get to your destination for even fewer miles, so see if you can shift your trips into the off-peak date range.

Fly from the U.S. to Europe during off-peak dates (January 10 – March 14 and November 1 – December 14) for only 22,500 American miles each way in economy.

When booking during peak season (the rest of the year), you’ll pay 30,000 miles to fly in economy.

Business and first class tickets, unfortunately, do not have off-peak pricing. These will cost 57,500 and 85,000 all year, respectively.

Hot Tip: Don’t forget that American Airlines is also one of the choices for airline travel credits on The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card.

16. Short Flights Within the U.S.

Flights that are 500 miles or less within the U.S. have special pricing with American Airlines. You can book economy tickets for 7,500 miles in each direction, or splurge in business/first class for 15,000 AA miles.

These flights will generally be an hour or less, so unless your miles are burning a hole in your pocket it might be better to redeem an economy ticket and save the extra miles for another (more exciting) award redemption.

17. Fly From the U.S. to Japan or Korea in First or Business Class

Japan Airlines Business Class Sky Suite
Pick a window seat to have the best business class experience on Japan Airlines. Image Credit: Japan Airlines

This is an awesome business/first class redemption that is still left in American Airlines’ award chart. With this option, you’ll get the chance to try out first class in Cathay Pacific (#3) or Japan Airlines (#13) for 80,000 miles in each direction.

You can also fly American Airlines and other AA mileage partners like Japan Airlines or Malaysia Airlines to get to South Korea and Japan in business class for 60,000 miles each way, or economy for 35,000 miles.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Boston (BOS) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)
  • Seattle (SEA) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Osaka (KIX)

Hot Tip: Don’t miss our in-depth review of American Airlines, from fare types to baggage fees, seat specs, customer satisfaction, and more.

18. Fly From the U.S. to South America in Business Class

American Airlines still offers a really good price to South America Zone 1 in business class. For 30,000 AA miles, you can fly to Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, or even Manaus, Brazil! This is a better price than competitors United and Delta charge, and you’ll have the opportunity to fly LATAM (#9).

For a few more miles, you can get to other destinations in South America as well. American will charge you 57,500 miles to fly to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (excluding Manaus), and Chile (excluding Easter Island).

Here are a few great example routes you can take:

  • New York City (JFK) – Lima (LIM) for 30,000 AAdvantage miles
  • Orlando (MCO) – Sao Paulo (GRU) for 57,500 AAdvantage miles

Hot Tip: Utilize benefits of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® to check out the Admirals Club for free before your flights!

19. Fly Within or Between South American Countries for Seriously Low Prices

If your flight is wholly within certain South American countries, American will give you an absolute steal of an award price. This benefit is still available for the countries below (prices are one-way):

  • Argentina — 6,000 economy
  • Brazil — 7,500 economy / 17,500 business/first
  • Chile — 6,000 economy
  • Colombia — 6,000 economy
  • Ecuador — 5,000 economy
  • Peru — 6,000 economy

Likewise, it is possible to fly within South America 1 or South America 2 for 10,000 miles in economy or 20,000 miles in business class.

You can also fly between these 2 regions for 12,500 miles in economy or 25,000 miles in business class.

Hot Tip: Don’t miss our dedicated article on some other great bets for using 10K American AAdvantage miles

20. Fly From the U.S. to Africa in Business Class

Greg Stone - Qatar Airways Airbus A350 Business Class - Window Seats
Greg Stone – Qatar Airways Airbus A350 Business Class – Window Seats. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Flights from the U.S. to Africa in business class are still reasonably priced with AA miles at 75,000 miles one-way. In addition, American considers Africa as a single zone, so it’s not going to cost you more miles to fly all the way to the south… and that’s a long way! If you want to save miles, you can redeem 40,000 miles for economy class.

Your best option to get to Africa using AA miles is generally going to be to fly Qatar Airways through Doha. For this routing to be valid on Qatar Airways, you’ll need to fly into Doha (DOH) and continue onward to Africa. Another alternative is Etihad Airways, in which case you’ll fly into Abu Dhabi (AUH) and continue to Africa.

Here are a few great example routes you can take:

  • Washington D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Lagos (LOS)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Johannesburg (JNB)
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Doha (DOH) – Nairobi (NBO)
  • New York City (JFK) – Doha (DOH) – Casablanca (CMN)

21. Save Miles to Asia With a Redemption from Hawaii

Hawaii-based travelers looking to fly to Asia, rejoice! The redemption prices to fly from Hawaii to Asia are much better than from the contiguous 48 United States.

Flights cost 80,000 in first, 55,000 in business, and 35,000 in economy from Hawaii, as opposed to 110,000 in first, 70,000 in business, and 37,500 in economy from the mainland.

First class pricing from Hawaii presents especially good value if you are able to pick up a cheap flight to Hawaii, or use miles from a different program to get there (like Korean Air for only 12,500 each way in economy)!

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking American Airlines First Class.

22. AA Reduced Mileage Awards to Specific Cities in the U.S. and Canada

AA Reduced Mileage Awards require you to not only have American Airlines miles that you want to redeem, but also to have an American Airlines co-branded credit card.

If you meet both these criteria, you can save up to 7,500 AA miles on a round-trip flight booking to different destinations that become eligible for these awards each month.

If you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard® or AAdvantage Aviator Blue Mastercard, you will save 5,000 miles on a round-trip ticket for flights over 500 miles, and 1,000 miles off round-trip bookings 500 miles or less.

If you have a Citi® / AAdvantage® credit card, or an AAdvantage Aviator Silver, Red, or Aviator Business Mastercard, you will receive 7,500 miles off of round-trip bookings that are over 500 miles and 2,000 miles off of round-trip bookings 500 miles or less.

These awards must be booked over the phone.

23. Fly From the Middle East to Australia Instead to Save Miles

Flying from the U.S. to the Middle East on Etihad in first class (#1) will set you back a whopping 110,000 miles. If you’re really wanting to get into Etihad’s First Class Apartment, fly from the Middle East to Australia instead! You’ll actually get a longer flight, and you’ll be able to save 10,000 miles on each one-way booking.

Here’s the only route you can take in first class:

  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Sydney (SYD)

24. Fly Within the South Pacific: Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji

Flights within Australia and New Zealand can be quite expensive and present a good redemption option for your American Airlines miles. Within Australia, though, flights only cost 10,000 miles each way; flying between Australia and New Zealand will set you back 15,000 miles per one-way ticket.

Similarly, flights within Fiji can be had for just 5,000 American Airlines miles per one-way ticket, which can save you quite a bit of cash.

25. Fly Between Asia and Africa

Flights between Asia and Africa present pretty good redemption value in all classes of service. Remember that Asia 1 includes Japan and Korea, while Asia 2 includes other countries in Asia (excluding India). You can fly from Asia 1 to Africa for 45,000 miles in economy, 75,000 miles in business, or 90,000 miles in first class.

Flying from Asia 2 will save you a few miles in economy and first class. Flights in economy cost 40,000 miles, business class costs the same from anywhere in Asia at 70,000 miles, and first class will set you back 80,000 miles from Asia 2.

Hot Tip: Make your flights more comfortable with Priority Pass lounge access using cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. You’ll also get to utilize additional great benefits like Global Entry fee credits, hotel elite status, and more!

26. Fly From Europe to Southern Africa

Cape of Good Hope Cape Town South Africa
Image Credit: @v_pictures via unsplash.com

Depending on where in Africa you’re flying to/from, this redemption can be anywhere from great to downright terrible. American Airlines charges 30,000 miles in economy, 55,000 miles in business, and 80,000 miles in first class to fly between these regions.

If you’re flying from Cairo to Rome, for instance, there are certainly better options available. But if you are looking to fly from Cape Town to Helsinki, this is a potentially awesome redemption!

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking American Airlines first class.

27. Fly From One End of Europe to the Other

Like the last redemption option, the value of this one entirely depends on where you are flying from and to. American Airlines charges 12,500 miles one-way to fly economy from 1 city in the Europe zone to another.

If you’re looking for a short hop, there’s probably a better option and it’s definitely worthwhile to check budget carriers. However, if you’re looking to make a last-minute booking or don’t see good prices available for your dates and cities, then 12,500 miles is tough to beat!

28. Fly Between India/Middle East and Asia 1 or Asia 2

If you’re looking for a premium cabin redemption, this is another great option that lets you test out some great business and first class products on less expensive routes.

India/Middle East to Asia 1 (Japan/Korea) costs 22,500 in economy, 40,000 in business, and 50,000 in first. If you’re not going quite that far and just heading to Asia 2, you won’t save any miles for those premium cabin redemptions, and it will actually cost you more in economy!

India/Middle East to Asia 2 costs 25,000 in economy, 40,000 in business, and 50,000 in first.

29. Fly From Asia 1 to the South Pacific

Flights might not be that long between Asia 1 (Japan/Korea) and certain parts of the South Pacific, but it is a region where travel tends to be quite expensive. You can use miles to reduce that cost, and even try out some great premium cabins!

Economy class from Asia 1 to the South Pacific costs 30,000 miles each way, while business and first will set you back 40,000 and 60,000 miles, respectively.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Sydney (SYD) on Japan Airlines business class
  • Tokyo-Narita (HND) – Melbourne (MEL) on Qantas business class

As you can see above, there are plenty of great options to choose from, and American Airlines award travel presents some of the best access to amazing first and business class products.

List of American Airlines Partners — Oneworld

American Airlines partners include Oneworld alliance members, listed below:

Oneworld Partners
American Airlines
Malaysia Airlines
British AirwaysQantas
Cathay PacificQatar Airways
FinnairRoyal Jordanian
IberiaS7 Airlines
Japan AirlinesSriLankan Airlines
LATAM Airlines

Hot Tip: For more information about using these partners, check out our guide to searching for award availability on Oneworld alliance airlines.

List of Non-Alliance American Airlines Partners

Non-alliance partners are listed below:

Additional Airline Partners
Air Tahiti NuiFiji Airways
Alaska Airlines/Horizon AirHawaiian Airlines
Cape AirInterjet
China SouthernSeaborne Airlines
Etihad AirwaysWestJet

Using AA Miles With Airline Partners — AA Award Chart

AA frequent flyer miles cannot be transferred from American Airlines to any of the above partners. Instead, you must book directly through American Airlines.

AA award travel availability for some airlines can be seen on AA.com, but for others you’ll need to search for the tickets elsewhere, such as on BritishAirways.com, Qantas.com, JAL.com, MakeMyTrip, or ExpertFlyer. British Airways is generally the best place to start.

Once you’ve found the flight you want, call American Airlines reservations with the information for your preferred booking (800-882-8880). There will be a $25 phone booking fee that may be waived if you simply ask the representative.

If the ticket is not bookable online, it is typically very easy to get the phone booking fee waived. Any ticket that contains a flight with a partner that doesn’t show up on AA.com must be booked on the phone.

As you search for award availability with partners, you can reference the Oneworld and other partners’ AA award charts to determine the number of AA miles you will need to book.

aa award chart
The AA award chart for flights from the continental U.S. There are different charts for each region. Image Credit: American Airlines

Final Thoughts

In this post, you learned some of the best ways to redeem your American Airlines AAdvantage miles. Remember that AA frequent flyer miles give you access to award tickets on American-operated flights as well as flights operated by their partners.

With a little strategizing, you’ll be flying to Mumbai with AA miles or enjoying a first class flight experience across the world for a great value.

If you’re interested in even more ideas, check out our recommendations on the best ways to use 100,000 AAdvantage Miles!

Happy redeeming!

 

 


FAQ

What are American Airlines miles?

American Airlines’ frequent flyer program is called AAdvantage. The miles you earn and redeem through American Airlines are AAdvantage miles.

Can American Airlines AAdvantage miles be transferred?

Miles cannot be transferred to AA mileage partners directly. They can, however, be used to redeem tickets on award flights with partner airlines, or be redeemed for car rentals, hotel stays, and more.

Are American Airlines AAdvantage miles refundable?

If you have purchased an AAdvantage award ticket, you may be eligible for a mileage reinstatement. Contact AA reservations at 1-800-882-8880 to cancel your flight and ask for mileage back.

Eligible reinstatements include entirely unused AAdvantage award travel tickets if the ticket has not expired. When reinstated, you will be charged $150 per account on the first ticket. Additional tickets will be charged $25 each. These fees are waived for Executive Platinum members.

All of the above applies to reinstatements on miles used to upgrade award tickets.

What are American Airlines AAdvantage miles worth?

American Airlines AAdvantage miles are typically valued at an average of 1.7 cents per point. This means a $100 flight ticket can be awarded for the equivalent of about 5,800 AA miles.

How can I earn more AAdvantage miles?

You can earn more miles by using credit cards branded with American Airlines, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, and Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®.

You can also participate in the AAdvantage Dining Program.

How many American Airlines miles are required for a free flight?

You can obtain a free flight in the contiguous U.S. for as few as 7,500 AAdvantage miles.

How many AAdvantage miles do I need to get to Europe?

You need at least 22,500 AA miles to fly to Europe in economy class during off-peak dates (November 1-December 14 and January 10-March 14).

Who are American Airlines AAdvantage partners?

American Airlines (and American Eagle) is a part of the Oneworld alliance, meaning they partner with all Oneworld carriers. American Airlines frequent flyer partners include:

They are also partners with the following additional airlines:

What are American Airlines AAdvantage 500-mile upgrades?

There are four tiers to the AAdvantage elite status program: Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum. There’s another top-tier status called ConciergeKey, as well

Platinum and Gold status AAdvantage members can upgrade their purchased main cabin ticket to the next class of fare on American Airlines flights.

Flights traveling under 500 miles will receive complimentary upgrades for Platinum and Gold members, while 500-mile upgrades will be needed to upgrade on flights traveling over 500 miles.

Note that if your status expires, you will keep any 500-mile upgrades you have earned, but you won’t be able to use them until you reach status again. Alternatively, you can use them if you travel with someone who has status.

When do American Airlines AAdvantage miles expire?

American Airlines AAdvantage miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. Simply earn or redeem miles every 18 months to keep your AAdvantage account from expiring.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

54 comments

  1. Hi,
    I am trying to fly non stop Boston to London using my AA awards , however the taxes and fees are close to $1200.00! Do you know if there are other European cities American/Partners fly to from Boston that are free of British Airways exuberant fees?
    Thank you

  2. Great article! What is the trick to get #16 on AA? Everything I read says AA does not allow stopovers with reward flights. Is this itinerary possible – SFO – MUC – MLE? Cheers.

    • Michael McHugh · June 27, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Craig

      We removed #16 in the article. Thanks for catching the mistake!

  3. I am wanting to fly either AA or Quantas from the US to Australia using AA points. Is it possible to buy a coach ticket and upgrade to business class using frequent flyer miles?

  4. Thanks for writing this. I have aa miles I need to redeem and wondering what is the best way to do it. This article has given me so many ideas lol. Since I’m open to travel anywhere, which airport in Europe has the least tax when you redeem miles for award ticket?

    • Michael McHugh · August 15, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Bound2explore

      I’d use ITA Flight Matrix to estimate taxes and fees when flying into Europe. London (LHR) will have the highest taxes if you are not connecting through to another destination.

  5. Bruce Olsen · October 30, 2018 · Reply

    Wow, this site is amazing. Just came across. However, bit over my head. Lots of overseas information. Can someone answer a very simple question? Which is better, 40K Advantage miles used, or spending $500. Both are RT to OGG from SEA. Thank you!

    • Stephen Au · October 30, 2018 · Reply

      Hey Bruce,

      40k AA miles instead of $500 is honestly not that great of a deal. 1.25 cents per point is not as good as you can get. If you’re interested in business or first class, you could get tons more value.

  6. Daniel Brazell · February 8, 2019 · Reply

    I am trying to redeem my American airline miles. I received an email last week or so but now can not find that email. Can you send the email again with instructions on redeeming miles for gift cards?

  7. Tynisha · March 19, 2019 · Reply

    I have been reading your posts and followed instructions to book a reward flight from LAX to Hong Kong in December on JAL using my AA miles. The first time I called I was told that even though I saw the flight on BA Avios and had the flight numbers that information was invalid and there was no award travel available. I called back and was told by someone else that I only had one option Cathay Pacific at an absurd hour and that was it. They saw nothing else and again told me they were the only ones that could provide award flight availability and to look at other sites was a waste of time. So my question is what number are you calling and who are you speaking with because I got the same message twice in one day and I would like to book my trip and use these miles. What am I doing wrong?

    • Stephen Au · March 20, 2019 · Reply

      Tynisha,

      This is wrong. AA customer service representatives are not perfect, and we would advise you to call 1-800-882-8880. Make sure to write down your dates, flight numbers, class of service, number of passengers, and provide these things to the agents. I booked your exact itinerary myself with AA miles in November, so I know this works. Keep trying!

  8. Karen G · April 23, 2019 · Reply

    Biz class from Cuzco to Hawaii for 35 miles one way. Never done it but seems possible. If flights within the country are serviced by LAN, that should be included on your AA redemption guide.

    • Stephen Au · April 26, 2019 · Reply

      Karen,

      Unfortunately, AA charges 60,000 miles one way between Hawaii and Peru (South America 1) in business class. Furthermore, if any of the flights has lie-flat seats, they will add 7,500 miles each way per person.

      Thanks for reading.

      • Audrey Smith · June 5, 2019 · Reply

        Could somebody please tell me how in the world I can redeem my hard saved American Airlines miles for a ticket to Papeete on American or Air Tahiti Nui?!? I have been calling for over a month, sometimes multiple times a day, as they just say to keep calling because seats are released an unpredictable basis. Help! Thank you in advance!!!

        • Stephen Au · June 7, 2019 · Reply

          Hey Audrey,

          You can save your time and avoid calling them. Instead, search for availability using British Airways’ online award search. The best bet is to find the availability using British Airways and then calling AA directly at +1-800-882-8880. Thanks for reading.

  9. stu erdfarb · May 30, 2019 · Reply

    Does anyone know how to book an AA Business Award on an AA Plane from NYC to LHR and then on a BA Plane from LHR to TLV? There seem no be no Business Awards on AA Planes from NYC to LHR (in the past it was never a problem, but now there is no availability)

    • Stephen Au · May 31, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Stu,

      AA is notoriously stingy with award space. With load factors increasing year over year, it’s difficult to offer “empty” seats for points redemption, especially in business class on such a profitable route (JFK-LHR). The best chance you’ll have is booking closer to departure with AA. Hope this helps!

    • American Airlines is terrible for award travel now, and progressively getting worse. I recently for fun checked mileage saver from Rome to Miami and it took me through Charlotte. So then I checked Rome to Charlotte, and they sent me through Dallas. So then I tried Dallas, but they took me through Charlotte. In other words, AA is going to make you jump through hoops to use mileage saver reward travel.

  10. HANS DEVISO · June 17, 2019 · Reply

    Physically, I’m past my flying days. How can I convert my AA miles
    into a gift card so I can spend it for dinner in a fine restaurant?

  11. John Grubb · July 12, 2019 · Reply

    Is it worth buying extra miles from AA when they offer an additional mile bonus plus a 10% purchase discount? For instance they offer purchasing 150K miles and get 100K bonus miles plus a 10% purchase discount for $4,017.50.
    Good or not?

    • Hi John,

      That depends entirely on your use for the American miles. Usually, it is not a great idea to buy miles speculatively. However, if you have a specific use in mind for them that you know will yield you more than $4,017.50 in value, then yes it would be a great idea.

  12. Brenda T · July 15, 2019 · Reply

    Do you know when AA Reduced Mileage Awards listing will be posted for Autumn 2019?

    • Stephen Au · July 15, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Brenda,

      Expect to see AA reduced mileage awards for autumn 2019 being posted around late August or early September. Cheers! Thanks for reading.

  13. Mel Gilbert · July 18, 2019 · Reply

    I have been looking to book an American Airlines flight that costs $294.00. My date for travel is 8 months out. I keep reading that the value of their award miles is 1.4 cents to 1.7 cents per mile. The award cost for this flight is 50,000 miles That’s a little over 1/2 cent per mile value?

    • Hi Mel,

      Yes, you are correct. In this case, we would recommend you not use your miles for that flight as you could get much better value for them elsewhere!

      Thanks for reading!

  14. Sandra · August 7, 2019 · Reply

    Hi, I have been saving my AA miles for my husband and I first trip to Europe next year, we’ll be flying from Miami,FL to Madrid, Spain and we want to flight comfortable on those flat bed seats (business class or first class?), I have 177,000 miles, we are flexible on travel dates, when is the best time to flight and how many miles do I need for this flat bed seats?

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Sandra, a business class flight from Miami to Madrid costs 57,500 American AAdvantage miles one-way per person. We recommend monitoring for award flights as far in advance as you can—this gives you the best shot at finding a suitable award ticket. Additionally, note that American partner Iberia flies Miami to Madrid nonstop, so keep an eye out for this flight for the most comfortable experience.

      Thanks and safe travels!

      • Hi Andrew, thank you so much for your reply! How can I monitor for award flights?

        • Andrew Kunesh · August 27, 2019 · Reply

          No problem, Sandra! You can monitor by regularly searching for the flights you’d like to book. I highly recommend searching for Oneworld tickets on the British Airways “Book With Avios” website as it tends to show better partner flight availability. Once you find a flight, you can attempt to book on AA.com or call American Airlines to book if the flight isn’t showing on its own search engine.

  15. Ginny M · August 8, 2019 · Reply

    I’d just like to use reward miles to pay for a “premium” seat in the main cabin instead of paying 236.00 round trip ( 472.00 for two of us) is this possible? Thanks very much!

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 8, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Ginny, unfortunately, it’s not possible to upgrade to a Main Cabin Extra seat with American Airlines miles at this time. Thanks for reaching out and safe travels!

  16. Pat Powers · August 15, 2019 · Reply

    My wife and I are flying from Orlando to Venice, Italy and we want to get premium economy seats. If we have 60,000 AAAdvantage miles can we redeem them for one of the tickets and pay for the other one plus the extra charge for the upgrade?

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 16, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Pat, you can definitely purchase one ticket with cash and one ticket with miles. Just note that you cannot upgrade award tickets with miles, so you’d have to purchase one ticket as a premium economy award and one as a paid premium economy ticket. Thanks!

  17. Hannah E · August 19, 2019 · Reply

    Love your article, thank you so much for all that info!

    Does anyone know if we could use our miles to pay for the annual fee on the Advantage card? I won’t be traveling anytime soon and my miles will be expiring.

    Thanks!

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 19, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Hannah, thanks for reading! As of now, there’s no way to pay for your American credit card’s annual fee with points. You can, however, use one of these other points-earning methods to keep your points active if you choose to cancel your credit card.

  18. Ernie S · August 22, 2019 · Reply

    Hi,

    In regards to #13
    How do I make this work? Where do I search availability? I am trying to book between LIM & EZE for next year, but don’t see availability on AA or BA. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Ernie,

      Searching through the AA website will be the best place to find availability for that flight. If they are showing that there is no availability during the dates you need, then, unfortunately, there is not much you can do aside from continuing to check periodically to see if more award space opens up. Thanks for reading!

      • Thanks for the reply, but I really don’t think that #19 works as you described. I tried all destinations with different dates listed and I get the same error for each on AA: “Something went wrong. No awards found for the cities you searched.” How have you guys been able to see award space?

        • Stephen Au · September 11, 2019 · Reply

          Ernie,

          You’ll need to find availability online elsewhere at British Airways or Qantas. After you get flight results, write down the flight numbers, dates, and other information. Then, call AA and book it over the phone.

  19. jennifer · August 26, 2019 · Reply

    Hi! I’m having trouble figuring out if I can use an AA travel VOUCHER (not miles) with Alaska or Hawaiian Airlines. I simply can’t find a definitive answer online, nor can I figure out who to call to ask… Any suggestions?

    • Stephen Au · August 26, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jennifer, you’ll want to check the terms and conditions of your voucher. Generally, you can only use AA travel vouchers for AA tickets. The only exception is select codeshare flights with American Airlines’ partners. Please call American Airlines to confirm.

  20. I looked into flying LAX to Lima, Peru. Article says 30K points. Spent hours on Latam website best I could find during off peak was 120K. Am i missing something?

    • Christine Krzyszton · October 6, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Bret. I found several dates at 31,500 K one way in Business Class on the Latam web site. Sample dates include January 21, February 4, and February 8 but there were several others.

  21. Hi there!
    Thank you so much for this post. It has been of great help.
    I want to travel from SJO (Costa Rica) to Stockholm-Arlanda (Sweden) using AA Advantage miles (around 125,000 miles). Can I search for award flights using either Iberia or British search engines, right? Is there any difference with any of those systems? Then I should call the AA customer service to book for the specific flight?
    Thanks for all the assistance.

    • Hi Juan,

      If you want to book using AAdvantage miles, you’ll want to search using British Airways for the easiest award search experience. After you’ve located a flight, you’ll want to call AAdvantage at 1-800-433-7300 to book your ticket.

      • Hi Stephen,

        Awesome! Another question, what do you think it is better; spend all the miles on one-way business/first class ticket, then buy the return ticket with money or use miles to buy two tickets in economy (round trip)?

        Thank you so much for the assistance.

        • Hi Juan,

          Overall, it depends on how much you value being able to lay down in your own bed aboard the plane and get some solid rest. If you’re tight on cash, you might want to just book a round-trip economy ticket. If you would rather splurge, consider redeeming a one-way business/first class ticket and paying with cash for the returning ticket.

  22. Can I use my miles to pay for hotels and car rentals? Where would I find what hotels are available in the Westwood, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood area of Los Angeles?

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Email needed if you'd like comment updates. It will NOT be published.

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. For more information on our advertisers, see here.