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Best Ways To Book American Airlines Business Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

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Spencer Howard
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Spencer Howard

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Always a fan of flying, Spencer wanted to find ways to upgrade his travel experience. Over the years, Spencer has been a guest speaker on multiple YouTube shows as well as podcasts on maximizing point...
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Kellie Jez

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Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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With long-haul routes to places like London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo, you can visit some amazing cities by flying American Airlines’ business class product.

Unlike some carriers, American Airlines does not have a consistent business class product. On some flights, you won’t have Wi-Fi, and others lack a lie-flat seat.

Before you decide to book a business class flight with American Airlines, make sure you check which aircraft is operating on your selected route and what that model includes.

Which Version of American Airlines Business Class Are You Flying?

American Airlines 777-300ER
For a comfortable international business class flight, check out American Airlines’ 777-300ER. Image Credit: American Airlines

Usually, we’d dive right into what to expect from a business class flight. However, American Airlines flies several aircraft (and multiple versions of said aircraft) with international business class. Long story short: not all American Airlines business class flights are created equal.

When we look at its Boeing aircraft, it starts to get really confusing. There are several aircraft types, including the Boeing 757-200, 777-200ER, 777-300ER, 787-8, and 787-9.

We’ll consider these in order. One version of the 757 has lie-flat seats, while the other has seats that only recline. The one with lie-flats is used on international routes, but it does not have direct aisle access. Both versions also have Wi-Fi.

The 777-200ER is significantly better. It has lie-flat seats (all with direct aisle access) and Wi-Fi.

American’s Boeing 787s (also known as Dreamliners) have different cabin layouts, but all seats still have direct aisle access and are lie-flat. Additionally, all Dreamliners are outfitted with Wi-Fi.

Finally, we have the 777-300ER, which is American Airlines’ Flagship product. All business class seats are lie-flat with direct aisle access. The cabin layout is very similar to the Dreamliner 787-9.

Since it is the Flagship product, we’re going to focus on this 777-300ER when discussing American Airlines business class.

A Look Inside American Airlines Business Class

American Airlines 777 Flagship Business Class Casper Bed
A lie-flat seat with direct aisle access keeps you comfortable in Flagship business class. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

As we mentioned above, all business class seats on the American Airlines 777-300ER are lie-flat and have direct aisle access. These are both required to meet our standards of a quality business class product.

Upon arrival at the airport, you will have access to priority privileges that provide an expedited check-in, security, and boarding process. Even if you arrive at your gate after boarding has started, you can still breeze through the priority boarding lane!

While waiting for your flight, you can enjoy your time in the Admirals Club. Rather than wait in the crowded space by the gate, you can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer while munching on something to eat.

If you have the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, you can access Admirals Club lounges even when you are flying in economy class.

American Airlines Admirals Club at Orlando MCO bar stools
As a business class passenger, you can relax in one of the American Airlines Admirals Clubs while waiting for your flight. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Better yet, business class passengers are also able to access the AA Flagship Lounges. There are locations in Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), and New York City (JFK), with a future location in Philadelphia (PHL).

Business class passengers will also have premium inflight dining options. You can even reserve your meal choice between 30 days and 24 hours prior to your flight. To top it off, pair your meal with a nice glass of wine.

American Airlines 777 Flagship Business Class Dinner service
Enjoy American Airlines’ premium dining experience in Flagship business. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

While business class on American Airlines isn’t on the same level as what you’ll receive when flying Cathay Pacific business class, it is still a solid way to fly internationally.

Hot Tip: For additional in-depth info such as fare types, fees and add-ons, consumer satisfaction, and more, check out our American Airlines in-depth review

How To Book American Airlines Business Class Using Points

If you are booked on the right aircraft and with the right crew, flying business class with American Airlines can be a very enjoyable experience.

Let’s take a look at the different airline loyalty programs you can use to book your next business class award ticket.

Etihad Guest

Etihad Guest is probably the best frequent flyer program that is accessible to most transferable currencies.

That means Etihad Guest miles are generally easy to accumulate — plus, the program offers fantastic business class redemption prices:

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To/From North AmericaOne-Way Award Cost
Europe50,000 Etihad Guest miles
Hawaii37,500 Etihad Guest miles
China55,000 Etihad Guest miles
Japan/Korea50,000 Etihad Guest miles
Central America and Northern South America30,000 Etihad Guest miles
Southern South America50,000 Etihad Guest miles
Mexico/Caribbean30,000 Etihad Guest miles
Australia/New Zealand62,500 Etihad Guest miles
Continental U.S./Canada25,000 Etihad Guest miles

Etihad Guest requires American Airlines flights to be booked over the phone. Follow these steps to make it happen:

  1. Find partner-level availability using the British Airways website.
  2. Write down all the flight details of the desired itinerary.
  3. Call Etihad Guest at 877-690-0767 and inform the agent that you’d like to book an American Airlines award ticket.
  4. Feed the agent the information, confirm the mileage amount, redeem your miles, and use a credit card to pay for taxes and fees.

Earning Etihad Guest Miles

Etihad Guest miles are easy to earn thanks to transfer partnerships with American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Amex, Citi, and Capital One transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Amex and Citi both transfer almost instantly, while Capital One transfers in around 36 hours.

Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 Etihad miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at once. Marriott Bonvoy transfers to Etihad in around 3 business days.

Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros
  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros
  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards points.

American Airlines AAdvantage

Using American AAdvantage miles is one of the simplest ways to book a flight with American Airlines.

Here’s the business class award chart for travel to/from the contiguous 48 U.S. states and Canada for American’s own AAdvantage program:

American Airlines business class award chart
American Airlines business class award chart. Image Credit: American Airlines

Just follow the steps below to book online:

  1. Go to the American Airlines website.
  2. Log into your AAdvantage account.
  3. Select Redeem Miles.
  4. Enter your departure and destination cities.
  5. Enter your travel dates.
  6. Select your class of service to see the mileage cost.
    • Make sure you choose SAAver level so you get the cheapest award price.
  7. Confirm your travel date.
  8. Select your flight and hit Continue.
  9. Enter the passenger details.
  10. Enter your payment information.

A very useful feature of the American AAdvantage program is that it will let you put an award booking on hold for 5 days. To be eligible for this 5-day hold, your departure date must be at least 15 days away.

One downside to American’s AAdvantage program is that you cannot book stopovers. However, you can book a one-way award ticket.

Our Transfer Partner Calculator will easily help you calculate the number of points you need to transfer for your awards.

Hot Tip: For more ideas on ways to use AAdvantage miles, check out our post on the best ways to redeem 100k AA miles.

Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

American Airlines doesn’t have as many transfer partners as Etihad; essentially, you can either earn American Airlines miles from Citi or Barclays co-branded cards or transfers via Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.

Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio to American Airlines in around 2 business days. Bilt Rewards transfers at a 1:1 ratio.

Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
85,000 points
$595
$250
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.

Pros
  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
  • 4x points per $1 at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases per calendar year, then 2X points)
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • $250 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Free Night Award certificate is not an automatic benefit
  • Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy® points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Earn 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets per calendar year, then 2X points).
  • Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Marriott Bonvoy 1K Bonus Points Per Stay: Earn 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points per paid eligible stay booked directly with Marriott for properties participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • With complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elites status, earn up to 2.5X points from Marriott Bonvoy® on eligible hotel purchases with the 25% Bonus Points on stays benefit, available for Qualifying Rates.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Free Night Award: Earn 1 Free Night Award after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ Card in a calendar year. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at a hotel participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits: Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express Card® you can receive 15 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Plan It® is a payment option that lets you split up purchases of $100 or more into equal monthly installments with a fixed fee. Plus, you'll still earn rewards the way you usually do.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
95,000 bonus points
$665
$650
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.

So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?

Pros
  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines and restaurants worldwide
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) in statement credits for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card at restaurants worldwide.
  • With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you will be eligible to select a Brilliant Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, which offers unlimited airport lounge visits to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • With Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed, the lesser of, your repair or replacement costs following damage, such as a cracked screen, or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month's wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Marriott Bonvoy

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank program uses a distance-based award chart that is broken into tiers based on your flight miles.

This means that if you have a connecting flight, you will need to consider the miles flown between all airports on your itinerary.

Japan Airlines partner award chart
Japan Airlines uses a distance-based award chart for partner award flights. Image Credit: Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines allows you to book an American Airlines award flight online. Follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Japan Airlines website.
  2. Log in to your JAL Mileage Bank account.
  3. Select JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation.
  4. Select American Airlines under Partner Airlines.
  5. Select your class, your travel dates, and your departure and destination airports.
  6. Select your flights and hit Next.
  7. Confirm the JAL miles and taxes/fees required and complete the booking.

Japan Airlines allows stopovers, so you can see multiple destinations on your trip. Make sure you calculate how many flight miles each stop will add to your trip so you can plan for how many Japan Airlines miles you will need.

If you’re looking for other award booking options, take a look at the best ways to redeem Japan Airlines miles.

Earning Japan Airlines Miles

Japan Airlines miles are even more difficult to earn than American Airlines miles.

There are no lucrative co-branded credit card opportunities in the U.S., and its only transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy.

Transfers from Marriott Bonvoy process in 2 business days at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

A great way to book flights with American Airlines is with Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program.

Alaska Airlines miles, though difficult to amass, offer attractive business class prices on American Airlines flights.

bevy

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To/From North AmericaOne-Way Award Cost
Europe57,500 Alaska miles
Hawaii40,000 Alaska miles
China70,000 Alaska miles
Japan/Korea60,000 Alaska miles
South America (northern)30,000 Alaska miles
South America (southern)57,500 Alaska miles
Mexico/Central America/Caribbean27,500 Alaska miles
Australia/New Zealand80,000 Alaska miles
Continental U.S./Canada25,000 Alaska miles

To book American Airlines business class, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Alaska’s website.
  2. Sign in to your account.
  3. Search for your desired route (make sure you select Use Miles).
  4. Select your desired flight and choose Add To Cart.
  5. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your booking.

On top of the better award chart, Alaska Airlines also allows you to book stopovers, which makes it easy to see multiple destinations with 1 booking.

For some more ways to use the Mileage Plan program, check out our best ways to redeem Alaska miles.

Earning Alaska Airlines Miles

Alaska Airlines miles can be earned through the airline’s co-branded cards with Bank of America, like the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card.

In addition, Alaska Airlines has a transfer partnership with Marriott Bonvoy. When you transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska Airlines, you’ll do so at a 3:1 ratio.

Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer to Alaska, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Alaska miles.

Other Options for Booking American Airlines

American Airlines flights can be booked by any of its Oneworld partners.

Cathay Pacific and British Airways both have distance-based award charts that contain some sweet spots, but watch out for high surcharges.

Great American Airlines Business Class Redemptions

Let’s take a look at some of the best routes for trying business class on American Airlines. Often, you will use the fewest round-trip miles and points if you book using the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles might be more accessible, though, which can make it a solid choice as well.

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 Chicago (ORD) to Beijing (PEK)Dallas (DFW) to London (LHR)Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR)Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK)Miami (MIA) to Buenos Aires (EZE)New York (JFK) to São Paulo (GRU)Seattle (SEA) to Bengaluru (BLR)
Etihad Guest110,000 miles100,000 miles100,000 miles50,000 miles100,000 miles100,000 miles110,000 miles
American Airlines AAdvantage140,000 miles115,000 miles115,000 miles50,000 miles115,000 miles115,000 miles140,000 miles
JAL Mileage Bank110,000 miles85,000 miles100,000 miles60,000 miles85,000 miles85,000 miles130,000 miles
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan140,000 miles115,000 miles115,000 miles50,000 miles115,000 miles115,000 milesN/A

How To Earn Enough Miles for American Airlines Business Class

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines both have credit card partnerships you can utilize to earn more miles. Learn more about the Citi and Barclays co-branded American Airlines credit cards to see how you can use them to earn AAdvantage miles directly.

If you’d like to learn more about earning Alaska Mileage Plan miles, check out your options with its co-branded Bank of America cards.

As we mentioned, it’s easiest to earn Etihad Guest miles due to transfer partnerships.

Here are all of the frequent flyer programs as they relate to their transfer partners:

When Should You Search for Award Space?

American Airlines has been very stingy with releasing MileSAAver awards. Technically, AAnytime awards are often available, but they require way too many miles.

Start searching for award space as soon as you have an idea of your travel dates. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to predict when American Airlines business class award space will be released.

What Do You Get With American Airlines Business Class?

Let’s talk a bit more about what you get from the American Airlines business class experience.

Admirals Club and Flagship Lounges

American Airlines Flagship Lounge JFK seating area. Image Credit: Stephen Au

One of the best perks of flying business class is access to the Flagship Lounges and Admirals Club. Spending long layovers with complimentary drinks and food really helps pass the time!

You can find both quiet spaces if you need to work or rest, and a bar area where you can mingle with other passengers.

If you’re traveling during football season, you’ll often find a group of passengers enjoying a game on one of the TVs.

Business Class Seat

American Airlines 777 Flagship Business Class middle seat
American Airlines 777 Flagship business class. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

American Airlines provides a business class seat very similar to the one provided by Cathay Pacific. Its lie-flat function makes sleeping much easier, which can be especially important when you have a meeting or other plans first thing upon arrival.

Don’t forget the direct aisle access! On international long-haul flights, you’ll likely want to get out of your seat at least once. With direct aisle access, you won’t have to climb over someone (or have anyone climbing over you!)

Final Thoughts

While American Airlines isn’t known for having world-class business class service, they do provide a solid product when you want a comfortable international flight.

With a few programs that provide good redemption rates, you shouldn’t have any trouble earning the necessary miles to fly American Airlines business class.

The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to book American Airlines business class?

If you are booking business class on American Airlines, check out Etihad Guest, American Airlines AAdvantage, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

Japan Airlines has a distance-based award chart that has some sweet spot redemptions, while Alaska Airlines has a region-based award chart that also provides some great options. Etihad Guest is fantastic for its transfer partnerships, and American Airlines miles can be earned through co-branded credit cards.

What credit cards can help me fly American Airlines business class?

You can earn more American Airlines miles by using its co-branded Barclays or Citi credit cards.

Bank of America provides co-branded cards that earn Alaska miles if you need to top off your Mileage Plan account.

Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex, Citi, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy.

What do I get when flying American Airlines business class?

Prior to your business class flight, you can relax in the Admirals Club or Flagship Lounge with access to beverages and food.

Inflight, you can expect a lie-flat seat with direct aisle access when flying on American’s Boeing 777-300ER. Remember to check which aircraft will operate your flight, since the cabin layout varies depending on aircraft and route.

Does American Airlines have lie-flat seats in business class?

Yes, absolutely! As long as you’re flying on a widebody aircraft such as the 787 or the 777, you should have lie-flat seats in business class.

Lie-flat seats are also offered in business class on A321T aircraft.

Spencer Howard's image

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.

Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!

Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal). He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.

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