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?
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
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.
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.
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 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:
|To/From North America
||One-Way Award Cost
||50,000 Etihad Guest miles
||37,500 Etihad Guest miles
||55,000 Etihad Guest miles
||50,000 Etihad Guest miles
|Central America and Northern South America
||30,000 Etihad Guest miles
|Southern South America
||50,000 Etihad Guest miles
||30,000 Etihad Guest miles
||62,500 Etihad Guest miles
||25,000 Etihad Guest miles
Etihad Guest requires American Airlines flights to be booked over the phone. Follow these steps to make it happen:
- Find partner-level availability using the British Airways website.
- Write down all the flight details of the desired itinerary.
- Call Etihad Guest at 877-690-0767 and inform the agent that you’d like to book an American Airlines award ticket.
- 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)
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:
Just follow the steps below to book online:
- Go to the American Airlines website.
- Log into your AAdvantage account.
- Select Redeem Miles.
- Enter your departure and destination cities.
- Enter your travel dates.
- Select your class of service to see the mileage cost.
- Make sure you choose SAAver level so you get the cheapest award price.
- Confirm your travel date.
- Select your flight and hit Continue.
- Enter the passenger details.
- 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 Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio to American Airlines in around 2 business days. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer to American Airlines, you’ll get an additional bonus of 5,000 miles.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
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 allows you to book an American Airlines award flight online. Follow the steps below:
- Go to the Japan Airlines website.
- Log in to your JAL Mileage Bank account.
- Select JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation.
- Select American Airlines under Partner Airlines.
- Select your class, your travel dates, and your departure and destination airports.
- Select your flights and hit Next.
- 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.
|To/From North America
||One-Way Award Cost
||57,500 Alaska miles
||40,000 Alaska miles
||70,000 Alaska miles
||60,000 Alaska miles
|South America (northern)
||30,000 Alaska miles
|South America (southern)
||57,500 Alaska miles
||27,500 Alaska miles
||80,000 Alaska miles
||25,000 Alaska miles
To book American Airlines business class, follow these simple steps:
- Go to Alaska’s website.
- Sign in to your account.
- Search for your desired route (make sure you select Use Miles).
- Select your desired flight and choose Add To Cart.
- 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.
||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)
|American Airlines AAdvantage
|JAL Mileage Bank
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
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:
- Amex Membership Rewards transfer almost instantly to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio.
- Citi ThankYou Points transfer almost instantly to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio.
- Capital One miles transfer in 36 hours to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio.
- Marriott Bonvoy transfers to Etihad Guest (3 days), American Airlines AAdvantage (2 days), Japan Airlines Mileage Bank (2 days), and Alaska Airlines (4 days) at a 3:1 ratio. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer at once to these airline partners, you’ll earn an extra 5,000 miles in whichever mileage program you transfer to.
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
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 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!)
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 Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
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