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I’m a loyal Delta flyer, but I’m always thinking of new ways to earn American Airlines miles. Yes, you read that right.
American Airlines Reward Miles
Between a poor on-time performance record and increasingly cramped planes without seatback screens, AA isn’t always the first choice for many travelers who prefer other airlines.
Complete List Of Airline Award Charts
However, compared to Delta and United, American and its AAdvantage program have significant advantages over other airlines’ programs that make these miles too valuable to ignore — especially since they’re not just good for booking flights on American airlines.
The best thing about AAdvantage miles, and all airline miles, is that they’re not just for booking flights with American Airlines themselves. Airline alliances and partnerships open up a world of uses for your miles, making them more valuable and versatile. America has the best partners, if you ask us.
From the more spacious economy class seats in the back of the plane to the unparalleled service in first class up front, Japan Airlines is one of the best ways to fly from the United States to Asia. You can book these flights starting at 35,000 miles in Economy Class, 60,000 miles in Business Class and 80,000 miles in First Class.
Cathay Pacific is another great AA partner for redeeming AA miles. You can also use AA miles to fly to Australia with Qantas, Scandinavia with Finnair, Middle East with Etihad and more.
Save Your Miles: Book American Airlines Off Peak Awards For Less!
But if you want to fly on the best airline in the world, your best bet is… you guessed it, AAdvantage miles. Booking flights with Qatar Airways is one of my favorite ways to use AA miles – especially if you’re flying Qsuite Business Class.
Even better, booking with most of these partner airlines is made much easier. Many have insisted on calling the Americans before. Over the past few years, American has added Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and Etihad to its AA.com online booking engine.
And you can usually book these rewards up to 11 months in advance. A trip to Tokyo or the Middle East may seem difficult in the short term, but you can start planning as early as January or February 2023!
It doesn’t matter much if the best partner airlines charge a single cruise mile to book. Fortunately, that is not the case with Americans.
American Airlines Unveils Premium Economy Award Chart
American uses a regional award table, which means award rates are based on your origin and destination on the map, not the cash price of the flight or how many miles you fly. And in general, American’s rewards are equal to or better than other airlines’ miles programs. It looks like this:
Follow the award chart and you’ll see that a flight from the US to the South Pacific on a Oneworld partner airline costs 40,000 one way in Economy. Earn 57,500 AAdvantage miles on business class flights from the US to Europe on British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and other airline partners. Participating is easy – finding out whether a bonus is available can be another matter.
While you might be used to spending big on a flight from smaller airports, that’s not the case with American miles. The only thing that matters is that you come from the same area. Even with multiple connections, mileage rates will not change.
From American’s perspective, flying business class from tiny Peoria (PIA) to Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Hong Kong (HKG) is like flying non-stop to Southeast Asia – both costing 70,000 AAdvantage miles to die for. Travel is still from the continental US to Asia Region 2. Even on a long-haul flight – say from Duluth (DLH), Minnesota to Chicago, or San Francisco (SFO) to Chicago – the price is the same. Only the area matters.
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And the same principle applies to your ultimate goal. The price will not change as long as the regions remain the same. So you can fly from Peoria via Chicago to Hong Kong and on to Hanoi (HAN) for 70,000 miles because your award is valid from the US to Asia Region 2 – regardless of all connections.
Savings Tip: For more complicated itineraries like this one, search AA.com for each end of your trip individually to confirm that each flight is eligible for miles. Once you’ve done this, search for the entire route, including your starting point in “From” and your final destination in “To.”
This is true whether you use AA miles to fly American itself, one of its partner airlines, or a mix of the two. These are AAdvantage miles, so American sets the rules on how many you need.
Unfortunately, the cost of American flights has become much more unpredictable as it has moved to dynamic pricing – making it more difficult to book a domestic connection with AA that is needed as part of a larger itinerary.
Best Ways To Use 10,000 (or Fewer) American Airlines Miles 
The ability to book these connecting routes isn’t exclusive to American, it’s available to almost all airlines with regional award tables. But in our experience, American Airlines makes it easier than most to get the flights you need.
Some airlines make it difficult to find the flights you want, they only show one day at a time. But not so with Americans.
The American Heritage Awards search platform was one of our absolute favorites. You can filter for non-stop flights only, making it much easier to find the flight you want. And it had an easy-to-use calendar view that made it easy to instantly scroll through a month’s reward availability.
Unfortunately, the Americans eventually abandoned this powerful weapon. And while churn is certainly low, American’s current search engine is easier to use and more comprehensive than many other airlines. This allows you to continuously filter, narrow your search to specific cabins, and view award availability throughout the month.
Reasons American Airlines Aadvantage Miles Have Huge Value
For example, you can easily see award availability for a January 2023 Qatar Qsuites flight from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Doha (DOH).
First up were the airline’s reduced mileage awards, which are only available to AAdvantage Platinum Select cardholders. This innovative offer reduced the cost of a domestic trip from 25,000 miles to 17,500 miles.
In recent years, American has started selling domestic flights for up to 5,000 AAdvantage miles each way. They are called Web Special rates.
Unfortunately, AA does not publish a list of which flights are eligible for this discount. You are unexpected. While they were first common on short-haul domestic flights, these discounted fares are becoming more widespread. Increasingly, these special Economy Web fares are becoming the “new normal” when booking flights.
Live: American Aadvantage Loyalty Points Program
Important note: these special web fares below are only available on US flights. You won’t find these discounted offers on partner airlines like Cathay Pacific, JAL and others.
It’s not just domestic flights. Last year, we saw these discounted awards expand to low-cost international flights to Europe, Australia, South America, and more. One of the best rewards announcements we send to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members is the Economy Web Special: 10,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip to New Zealand!
American has special internet fares for first and business class cabins, but you’re more likely to find higher fares than a good deal.
American has had one of the best award tickets for years, giving you unlimited date, time and itinerary changes for free. This means you can move your flight up (or back). Or book flights with one airline, then switch to another when award seats become available. As long as your starting and ending locations don’t change, you can also change which cities you pass through.
American Airlines Loyalty Points Are The New Way Elite Status Is Earned
Those days are over. But American has replaced that policy with something even better: tickets booked with American AAdvantage miles can now be canceled for free. In November 2020, American Airlines waived the usual $150 reinstatement fee to cancel an award ticket and redeem your miles.
This is massive. Before the pandemic, this benefit was reserved only for America’s best elite pilots. Now anyone can cancel an award ticket and get their miles for free. It’s easy to cancel online at AA.com (or via social media).
This means you can use your American miles to book a flight for 2022 or 2023 today, and then cancel if your trip doesn’t happen on time.
No US airline has a consistently good network
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