American Airlines miles are a little bit tougher to use than rewards on some of their competitor airlines, like United. Though there is availability and American is a great airline to fly, you’ll have to work a little bit harder to find that 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.
In this post, I’ll outline 24 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
- American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
- The 24 Best Ways To Use Your AA Miles
- Fly Etihad First Class Apartment From JFK to Abu Dhabi
- Fly Cathay Pacific First Class From New York to Vancouver
- Fly LATAM Airlines in Business Class From Los Angeles to Santiago
- Fly From Dallas to New Zealand With Qantas Airlines in Business Class
- Check out French Polynesia on Air Tahiti Nui From the U.S.
- Fly From the U.S. to Tokyo With Japan Airlines in First Class
- Fly From the U.S. to London and Onward With British Airways in First Class
- Fly From Doha to Japan With Qatar Airways in First Class
- Off-Peak to Europe in Economy on American Airlines
- Short Flights Within the U.S.
- Fly From the U.S. to Japan or Korea in First Class
- Fly From the U.S. to South America in Business Class
- Fly Within or Between South American Countries for Seriously Low Prices
- Fly From the U.S. to Africa in Business Class
- Save Miles to Asia With a Redemption from Hawaii
- Get an Almost Free Stopover in Europe on Your Way to India/Middle East
- Reduced Mileage Awards to Specific Cities in the U.S. and Canada
- Fly From the Middle East to Australia Instead to Save Miles
- Fly Within the South Pacific: Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji
- Fly Between Asia and Africa
- Fly From Europe to Southern Africa
- Fly From One End of Europe to the Other
- Fly Between India/Middle East and Asia 1 or Asia 2
- Fly From Asia 1 to the South Pacific
- In Conclusion
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Table of Contents
- American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
- The 24 Best Ways To Use Your AA Miles
- 1. Fly Etihad First Class Apartment From JFK to Abu Dhabi
- 2. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class From New York to Vancouver
- 3. Fly LATAM Airlines in Business Class From Los Angeles to Santiago
- 4. Fly From Dallas to New Zealand With Qantas Airlines in Business Class
- 5. Check out French Polynesia on Air Tahiti Nui From the U.S.
- 6. Fly From the U.S. to Tokyo With Japan Airlines in First Class
- 7. Fly From the U.S. to London and Onward With British Airways in First Class
- 8. Fly From Doha to Japan With Qatar Airways in First Class
- 9. Off-Peak to Europe in Economy on American Airlines
- 10. Short Flights Within the U.S.
- 11. Fly From the U.S. to Japan or Korea in First Class
- 12. Fly From the U.S. to South America in Business Class
- 13. Fly Within or Between South American Countries for Seriously Low Prices
- 14. Fly From the U.S. to Africa in Business Class
- 15. Save Miles to Asia With a Redemption from Hawaii
- 16. Get an Almost Free Stopover in Europe on Your Way to India/Middle East
- 17. Reduced Mileage Awards to Specific Cities in the U.S. and Canada
- 18. Fly From the Middle East to Australia Instead to Save Miles
- 19. Fly Within the South Pacific: Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji
- 20. Fly Between Asia and Africa
- 21. Fly From Europe to Southern Africa
- 22. Fly From One End of Europe to the Other
- 23. Fly Between India/Middle East and Asia 1 or Asia 2
- 24. Fly From Asia 1 to the South Pacific
- In Conclusion
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.
List of American Airlines Partners – Oneworld
American Airlines partners include Oneworld Alliance members, listed below:
|Oneworld Airline Partners|
|Air Berlin||Malaysia Airlines|
|British Airways||Qantas Airlines|
|Cathay Pacific||Qatar Airways|
|Finnair||Royal Jordanian Airlines|
|Japan Airlines||SriLankan Airlines|
|LAN Airlines||TAM Airlines|
List of Non-Alliance American Airlines Partners
Non-alliance partners are listed below:
|Additional Airline Partners|
|Air Tahiti Nui||Gulf Air|
|Alaska Airlines||Hawaiian Airlines|
|Cape Air Airlines||Seaborne Airlines|
Credit Card Partners
Starwood Preferred Guest is a direct partner of American Airlines, and has 2 credit cards you could use to earn additional points:
|Loyalty Program||Credit Card Review||Application|
|Starwood Preferred Guest Loyalty Program||Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express||Apply Here >>|
|Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express||Apply Here >>|
Since Starwood and Marriott are now joined, you can also earn points through Marriott Rewards, transfer them to SPG, then transfer on to your AA frequent flyer account!
|Loyalty Program||Credit Card Review||Application|
|Marriott Rewards Loyalty Program||Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card||Apply Here >>|
|Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card||Apply Here >>|
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 (1-800-433-7300). 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.
The 24 Best Ways To Use Your AA Miles
There are many good award redemption options for your American Airlines miles. Take a look at these best uses to find some inspiration for your next trip! Read on to find out 24 of the top ways to use your American Airlines AAdvantage miles for maximum value.
1. Fly Etihad First Class Apartment From JFK to Abu Dhabi
Find an available “Guest First” seat if you are looking for Etihad first class award flights. If there is one, 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 bonus 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.
Hot Tip: Use the Priority Pass benefit from The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card on your stopover to enjoy some time at the lounges currently available in the Abu Dhabi airport: the Al Dhabi, Al Reem, and Al Ghazal lounges.
2. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class From New York to Vancouver
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.
American Airlines used to offer much better pricing on flights to Southeast Asia, but after the March 2016 devaluation, prices were increased to 110,000 miles each direction. This is a steep price, but it will give you access to a wonderful first class product.
Economy tickets to Southeast Asia are a much better deal than first class since the March devaluations took place.
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 AAdvantage program miles.
If you’re dead set on flying Cathay Pacific first class anyway, you should check out either U.S. to Vancouver for 110,000 miles round-trip, or U.S. to Japan or South Korea for 80,000 American Airlines miles each way.
3. Fly LATAM Airlines in Business Class From Los Angeles to Santiago
The March 2016 devaluation had the least effect on premium cabin redemptions to Central and South America. Flying LATAM in business class to South America Region 1 (which includes Peru) and South America Region 2 (which includes Chile) did not see a price increase.
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 have 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 your desired dates and routes. LATAM will show you a calendar of options for your 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 reservations with the LATAM flight information to book your desired award tickets with AAvantage bonus miles.
4. Fly From Dallas to New Zealand With Qantas Airlines in Business Class
Qantas now 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 Qantas.com, then call American Airlines reservations to book.
Hot Tip: When traveling abroad, make sure you remember your cards with no foreign transaction fees. Our favorites are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.
5. Check out French Polynesia on Air Tahiti Nui From the U.S.
Ever wanted to go to French Polynesia? You can on board 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.
Searching for award space with Air Tahiti Nui is a little tricky. Your best option is to make use of ExpertFlyer (subscription required) and then book with AAdvantage reservations over the phone.
6. Fly From the U.S. to Tokyo With Japan Airlines in First Class
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 British Airways.com.
7. Fly From the U.S. to London and Onward With British Airways in First Class
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 80,000 miles in First class.
8. Fly From Doha to Japan With Qatar Airways in First Class
Qatar Airways is another great option if you are looking 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 arm rests 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 bonus miles in business class or 50,000 miles in first.
9. Off-Peak to Europe in Economy on 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 between November 1-December 14 or January 10-March 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 57,000 and 85,000 all year, respectively.
10. 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 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.
11. Fly From the U.S. to Japan or Korea in First Class
This is one decent first class redemption that is still left in American Airlines’ award chart after the 2016 devaluation. With this option, you’ll get the chance to try out first class in Cathay Pacific (#2) or Japan Airlines (#6) for a good price.
The award costs 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. You can also fly to Japan or Korea in business class for 60,000 miles each way, or economy for 35,000 miles.
12. 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 (#3).
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).
Hot Tip: Utilize benefits of the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard to check out the Admirals Club for free before your flights!
13. 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
- 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.
14. Fly From the U.S. to Africa in Business Class
Flights from the U.S. to Africa in business class are still reasonably priced with AA miles at 70,000 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 and continue onward to Africa.
15. Save Miles to Asia With a Redemption from Hawaii
Flights to Asia 2 in first class got pounded after the devaluation, but there’s still some hope if you have the flexibility to fly from Hawaii instead of the mainland U.S.
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)!
16. Get an Almost Free Stopover in Europe on Your Way to India/Middle East
It costs 40,000 miles to fly one-way from the U.S. to India or the Middle East in economy. However, if you make use of AA’s off peak pricing (#9) to Europe, you’ll only pay 22,500 American Airlines miles in economy.
If you try to fly from Europe to India and the Middle East, you’ll pay an additional 20,000 miles in economy. But, for only 2,500 extra miles, you can stop over in Europe for as long as you want! This redemption works as long as you depart from the U.S. on an off-peak date.
17. Reduced Mileage Awards to Specific Cities in the U.S. and Canada
This redemption requires 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.
These awards must be booked over the phone.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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, 70,000 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!
21. Fly From Europe to Southern Africa
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!
22. 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 one 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!
23. 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.
24. 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.
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.
Though most of their prices were raised significantly in March 2016, there is still some great value to be had with other redemptions.
In this post, I outlined 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.