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

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American Airlines has the world’s largest fleet of aircraft, which means you have plenty of options to experience its first class product.

Whether you’re going to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, or even Sydney — you can get there in first class on American Airlines.

Rather than pay thousands of dollars for this experience, you have your choice of several frequent flyer programs to book your first class ticket!

A Look Inside American Airlines First Class

Priority Check-in

If you are departing from Chicago (ORD), London (LHR), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), or New York (JFK), you will have access to American’s Flagship First check-in process, complete with an individual customer service representative and expedited security access.

Flagship Lounges and Flagship First Dining

Your first class ticket also grants you access to Flagship Lounges when traveling internationally. American currently has Flagship Lounges at 5 airports: Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), and New York (JFK); it is expanding to Philadelphia (PHL) soon.

Admirals Club Miami International Airport Flagship Lounge Chairs
If you’re flying through Miami (MIA), you can relax in this American Airlines Flagship Lounge before your flight. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

If you are flying into London, you will even have access to the American Airlines arrivals lounge to freshen up before venturing into the city.

Flights within North America and the Caribbean usually do not grant access to Flagship Lounges, but transcontinental flights between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX)/San Francisco (SFO) and between Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami (MIA) also provide access.

American Airlines Flagship First Dining LAX tarmac view with Krug and mojito
American Airlines Flagship First Dining at LAX comes with great tarmac views and bottomless Krug Champagne. Image Credit: Stephen Au

American Airlines also boasts a Flagship First Dining experience at its Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), and New York (JFK) Flagship Lounges.

Note that credit cards offering lounge access, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, do not offer entry to any of these premium lounges.

Seat and Amenities

Now, let’s talk about what to expect on your American first class flight.

Your seat will have direct aisle access, so you don’t have to crawl over someone while they’re sleeping when you want to stretch your legs — and your flight attendant won’t have to reach over someone to hand you food and drink.

American Airlines Flagship First Class A321T seat 1F
American Airlines A321T Flagship First. Image Credit: Stephen Au

For your comfort, all seats are lie-flat, so you can sleep during your flight as well.

American still offers the hot towel amenity, which is a lovely way to refresh and clean up at the beginning and end of the flight.

Additionally, you’ll receive pajamas and a Shinola amenity kit complete with D.S. & Durga products.

2021 American Flagship First amenity kit
Stay refreshed inflight with your first class amenity kit. Image Credit: American Airlines

From start to finish, American Airlines pulls out all the stops for its first class passengers, so you can relax and enjoy the experience!

Hot Tip: Check out our detailed guide to American Flagship First and Flagship Business, including amenities, routes, and booking options.

How To Book American Airlines First Class Using Points

You can, of course, use American AAdvantage miles to book first class on American Airlines, or you can book through one of its Oneworld partner airline programs like Japan Airlines or Alaska Airlines.

If you have Etihad Guest miles, you can also use them to fly American since it has an individual partnership with the airline.

Etihad Guest

While most people aren’t aware of American Airlines’ partnership with Etihad Airways, this is an incredibly lucrative option to consider.

Etihad Guest, in addition to having fantastic award redemption prices on American Airlines-operated flights, is one of the few partners with an abundance of transfer partnerships.

Here’s what the first class award chart looks like:

SCROLL FOR MORE
To/From North AmericaOne-Way Award Cost
Europe62,500 Etihad Guest miles
Hawaii47,500 Etihad Guest miles
China67,500 Etihad Guest miles
Japan/Korea62,500 Etihad Guest miles
Central America and Northern South America40,000 Etihad Guest miles
Southern South America62,500 Etihad Guest miles
Mexico/Caribbean40,000 Etihad Guest miles
Australia/New Zealand72,500 Etihad Guest miles
Continental U.S./Canada32,500 Etihad Guest miles

To book American Airlines flights using Etihad miles, you have to give Etihad Guest a phone call. Here are the recommended instructions:

  1. Find American Airlines first class availability using Qantas’ website or British Airways’ website.
  2. Jot down the itinerary details and call Etihad Guest at 877-690-0767. Ask the agent to assist with booking an American Airlines award ticket.
  3. Provide the representative with the flight information, redeem your miles, and use a credit card to pay for taxes and fees.

Earning Etihad Guest Miles

Etihad Guest miles, as we mentioned above, is an Amex transfer partner, Citi transfer partner, Capital One transfer partner, and Marriott transfer partner.

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

Marriott Bonvoy transfers in approximately 3 business days at a 3:1 ratio. Also, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer to Etihad Guest, you’ll earn an extra bonus of 5,000 Etihad miles.

Recommended American Express Cards

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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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)

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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 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
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

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 purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, 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.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $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.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: 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 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, 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.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. 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

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

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)

American Express® Gold Card

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 Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

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

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Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

American Airlines AAdvantage

One of the easiest ways to book American first class is through its own AAdvantage program. Here’s the first class award chart for travel from the contiguous 48 United States and Canada:

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

You can complete the entire booking process online using these easy steps:

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

Fortunately, American Airlines will hold your award reservation up to 5 days (if you book at least 15 days in advance), so you will have time to transfer points.

Keep in mind that American’s AAdvantage program does not allow stopovers on award tickets, but you can book one-way awards.

Hot Tip: Need some inspiration? Check out our posts on the best ways to redeem AAdvantage miles in general — and the best ways to use 100k AAdvantage miles if you’ve got a big stack!

Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

American Airlines AAdvantage has just 2 transfer partners. Marriott Bonvoy transfers to AAdvantage at a 3:1 ratio while Bilt Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards

NEW 155K OFFER
Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card

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)

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
Earn 155,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
155,000 points
$1,085
$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
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • 15 Elite Night Credits per year
  • 1,000 bonus points per paid stay
  • 1 Free Night Award (up to 50,000 points) when you spend $15,000 on the card in a year
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $250 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Free Night Award certificate is not an automatic benefit
  • Earn 155,000 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

Card Categories

NEW 185K WELCOME OFFER
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

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)

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

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 185,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
185,000 bonus points
$1,295
$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
  • 25 Elite Night Credits each year
  • Priority Pass Select membership upon enrollment
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit
  • Annual Free Night Award after card renewal
  • Complimentary Platinum Elite status

Cons

  • Earn 185,000 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

Card Categories

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Marriott Bonvoy

Citi and Barclays both issue AAdvantage co-branded credit cards that earn miles directly, which is an easy way to add to your mileage balance.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Unlike American Airlines and many other frequent flyer programs, Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank program uses a distance-based award chart. The award chart is broken into tiers based on how many miles you fly.

Japan Airlines partner award chart
Redeem JAL miles for superb value in American Airlines Flagship First Class. Image Credit: Japan Airlines

If you fly multiple segments, you’ll need to account for the distance between each airport.

Japan Airlines allows you to book AA award flights online if you 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 first class, your travel dates, and the departure and destination airports.
  6. Select your flights and hit Next.
  7. Confirm the Mileage Bank miles and taxes/fees required and book the ticket.

Japan Airlines allows stopovers, so you can see multiple destinations on your trip if you want. Remember, each stop will add additional flight miles that must be considered when determining the number of Japan Airlines miles that will be required for booking.

Earning Japan Airlines Miles

Japan Airlines has 1 transfer partner: Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott points transfer to JAL at a 3:1 ratio in 2 business days.

As with other partners, when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to Japan Airlines, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 miles.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to book American Airlines first class flights using points, thanks to a solid award chart:

SCROLL FOR MORE
To/From North AmericaOne-Way Award Cost
Europe85,000 Alaska miles
Hawaii40,000 Alaska miles
China110,000 Alaska miles
Japan/Korea80,000 Alaska miles
South America (northern)55,000 Alaska miles
South America (southern)85,000 Alaska miles
Mexico/Central America/Caribbean52,500 Alaska miles
Australia/New Zealand110,000 Alaska miles
Continental U.S.25,000 Alaska miles
Canada32,500 Alaska miles

To book, 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 Add To Cart.
  5. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your booking.

Not only are Alaska’s award prices better than American’s own, but you can also book a stopover. Make sure you consider using Alaska miles when booking this cabin class!

If you need some other ideas for using your Alaska miles, check out our best ways to redeem Alaska miles.

Earning Alaska Airlines Miles

Alaska Airlines has partnered with Bank of America to offer co-branded personal and business credit cards. That way, you can access a sign-up bonus and earn Alaska miles directly.

In addition, Marriott Bonvoy is a 3:1 transfer partner with Alaska Airlines. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer to Alaska Airlines, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 Alaska miles as a bonus.

Marriott Bonvoy takes around 4 business days to transfer to Alaska Airlines.

Other Options for Booking American Airlines

American Airlines has several other partners that can be useful when booking award flights.

Cathay Pacific and British Airways (Oneworld partners) both have some sweet spots, but you’ll be on the hook for hefty fuel surcharges.

Great American Airlines First Class Redemptions

If you’re looking for a way to try American first class with its Flagship services, check out these great international options:

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 Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR)Dallas (DFW) to London (LHR)New York (JFK) to London (LHR)Dallas (DFW) to Hong Kong (HKG)Miami (MIA) to São Paulo (GRU)New York (JFK) to São Paulo (GRU)Miami (MIA) to Buenos Aires (EZE)
Etihad Guest125,000 miles125,000 miles125,000 miles135,000 miles125,000 miles125,000 miles125,000 miles
American Airlines AAdvantage170,000 miles170,000 miles170,000 miles220,000 miles170,000 miles170,000 miles170,000 miles
JAL Mileage Bank190,000 miles165,000 miles120,000 miles190,000 miles135,000 miles135,000 miles135,000 miles
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan170,000 miles170,000 miles170,000 miles170,000 miles170,000 miles170,000 miles170,000 miles

How To Earn Enough Miles for American Airlines First Class

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines both have credit card partnerships you can utilize to earn more miles as well.

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 how to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles, check out your options with its co-branded Bank of America cards.

Here are all of the transfer partnerships you can maximize to book American Airlines Flagship First Class using any of the frequent flyer programs above:

  • Amex Membership Rewards transfers at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly to Etihad Guest.
  • Citi ThankYou Rewards transfers at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly to Etihad Guest.
  • Capital One Miles transfers at a 1:1 ratio within 36 hours to Etihad Guest.
  • Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio to Japan Airlines Mileage Bank (2 days), American Airlines AAdvantage (2 days), Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (4 days), and Etihad Guest (3 days).

When Should You Search for Award Space?

American Airlines is notoriously bad about releasing first class award space at the MileSAAver level. You can pay its AAnytime award rates, but it requires an unreasonable amount of miles.

Your best bet for finding first class award space is to start searching as soon as you have an idea of your travel dates and keep checking regularly.

Unfortunately, American is not predictable in how it releases space, so this process can be time-intensive.

What Makes American Airlines First Class a Great Redemption?

Flagship Lounges

American Airlines’ Flagship Lounges are where the ground experience really shines. From the buffet to the beer, wine, and spirits selection, you’ll definitely be able to relax while waiting for your flight.

Even better, American Airlines has stepped up its game by adding revamped dining options for first class passengers. The buffet might be nice, but a fine-dining experience is better! Flagship First Dining provides a fantastic sit-down dining option exclusively for first class passengers.

Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow

We mentioned the arrivals lounge in London (LHR) earlier, but you might be wondering what that actually means for you. At the arrivals lounge, you will have the chance to take a shower and change clothes after a long transatlantic flight.

Additionally, you’ll be able to get a nice meal from the buffet or order from an à la carte menu. To top it off, you can have a cup of coffee or a glass of Champagne. Whether you’re in London for business or vacation, this is a great way to start your trip!

Final Thoughts

As you’re planning your next first class flight across the Pacific or the Atlantic, make sure you consider American Airlines first class!

Not only will you have a great flight, but you’ll have a fantastic experience from the moment you walk into the airport. How many passengers can say that?!

All you have to decide is where to go and which airline program you want to use to book the flight!


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.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

If you are planning a first class experience, the best deal will likely be by using Etihad Guest miles or redeeming Japan Airlines miles. Make sure you also consider using American Airlines AAdvantage for enhanced award availability of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan if you happen to have a bunch of Alaska Airlines miles.

Japan Airlines’ distance-based award chart provides some great redemptions, but generally, Etihad Guest offers better deals.

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

Etihad is transfer partners with Amex, Citi, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy, so using any card that earns these points will go a long way.

If you need to boost your American miles balance, you can use one of its co-branded Barclays or Citi cards.

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

What do I get when flying American Airlines first class?

Flying first class on American Airlines is a great experience from start to finish. From priority check-in, security, and boarding to fine dining in the Flagship Lounge, you won’t be disappointed.

If you are flying to London, you will also have access to a lounge upon arrival so you can have a meal and take a shower.

What is difference between business class and first class on American Airlines?

On international flights, first class is much more exclusive than business class. You’ll sit in a spacious, open-air suite in first class and have access to better amenities, like better bedding, elevated service, more extensive food and beverage options, and luxury amenities.

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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