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I’m a loyal Delta informant, but I’m always thinking of new ways to collect more American Airlines miles. Yes, you read that right.
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Between a poor punctuality record and an increasingly small plane with no rear seat screens, flying with AA is not always the first choice for many passengers who prefer other airlines.
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And yet, compared to Delta and United, American and its AAdvantage program have some important advantages over other airline programs that make these miles too valuable to ignore, especially because they are good for booking flights only on U.S. airlines.
One of the best things about AAdvantage miles, and all the air miles, is that they are not only good for booking flights on American Airlines itself. Airline alliances and partnerships open up the world of using your miles, making them much more valuable and versatile. And if you ask us, the United States has some of the best partners out there.
From much more spacious seats in the back of the plane to unmatched first-class service, Japan Airlines is one of the best ways to fly from the United States to Asia. You can book these flights of 35,000 miles one way economy class, 60,000 business class and 80,000 miles first class.
Cathay Pacific is another great AA partner in which you can redeem AA miles. You can also use AA miles to fly with Qantas to Australia, Finnair to Scandinavia and Etihad to the Middle East and more.
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But if you want to fly with the best airline in the world, your best bet is … you guessed it, miles ahead. Booking flights on Qatar Airways is one of our favorite ways to use AA miles, especially if you are flying in your Qsuite business class.
Better yet, it has become much easier to book many of these partner airlines. Many had previously requested a phone call to an American. Only in recent years has American added Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and Etihad to its online ordering engine on AA.com.
And you can usually apply for these awards for up to 11 months. So, although a trip to Tokyo or the Middle East may seem difficult in the short term, you can start planning something until January or February 2023.
Big partner airlines don’t mean much if they cost a lot of miles to book. Fortunately, this is not true for an American.
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American uses a regional award chart, which means that award rates depend on where your origin and destination fall on the map, not the cash price of a flight or how many miles you fly. And in general, U.S. award rates are the same or better than what you see using other flight mile programs. Here’s what it looks like:
Follow the awards chart and you’ll find that a flight from Oneworld’s partner airline from the U.S. to the South Pacific costs 40,000 one way in the economy. A business-class flight from the United States to Europe will cover 57,500 AAdvantage miles on British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and other partner airlines. It’s easy to follow, though finding rewards can be something else.
Although you’re familiar with spending a lot of money on a flight from smaller airports, that’s not the case with American miles. All that matters is that your source is from the same region. Even with multiple connections, it won’t change the price in miles.
According to the United States, a business class flight from Little Peoria (PIA) to Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Hong Kong (HKG) is the same as a non-stop flight to Southeast Asia: both cost 70,000 miles because you still have travel from the continental United States to the Asia 2 region. Even with a longer trip, for example, starting from Duluth (DLH), Minnesota to Chicago or even the age of San Francisco (SFO) to Chicago, it will have the same price . The only thing that matters is the county.
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And the same principle applies to your final destination. As long as the regions remain the same, the price does not change. So you can fly from Peoria to Chicago to Hong Kong and Hanoi (OLD) for the same 70,000 mile rate because your prize is still from the United States to Region 2 of Asia, even if you have all those connections.
Caution: With more complex itineraries like these, search each part of your trip individually on AA.com to confirm that each plane trip can be booked with miles. Once this is done, look for the full itinerary, with the starting point in “From” and the final destination in “A”.
This applies whether you use AA miles to fly to America, to one of its partner airlines, or a mixture of both. They are advantageous miles, so Americans set the rules for how much you need.
Unfortunately, U.S. flight fares have become much more unpredictable as they have moved toward dynamic pricing, which means that requesting the AA home connection you need as part of a larger itinerary has become more difficult.
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This possibility of booking flights with links is not exclusive to America; it’s true for almost every airline with a region-based reward chart. But in our experience, an American makes it easier for most people to get the flights they need.
Some airlines make it difficult to find the flights you want with complicated search engines that only appear one day at a time. But that is not true for an American.
The old American award-winning platform was one of our absolute favorites. It allows you to filter only for non-stop flights, which makes it much easier to focus on the flight you want. And it had an easy-to-use calendar view, making it easy to scroll through a month of instant prize availability.
Unfortunately, an American eventually killed this powerful tool. And while the replacement is certainly lower, the current U.S. search engine is still easier to use and more versatile than many other aviation websites. It allows you to filter to go non-stop, limit your search to specific booths, and get a month-long view of prize availability.
Best Ways To Earn American Airlines Aadvantage Miles [updated 2022]
For example, you can easily see how the Qatar Qsuites Open Flight Awards from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Doha (DOH) are available in January 2023.
First up were the airline’s mile reduction awards, which are only available to Advantage Platinum Select cardholders. Offering this novel allowed him to reduce the cost of a national trip from 25,000 miles round trip to 17,500.
In recent years, Americans have begun selling selected domestic flights for just 5,000 Advantage miles one way. These are called special web entries.
Unfortunately, AA does not publish a list of routes that meet these lower prices. They are unpredictable. And while they were originally more common in short domestic hops, these discounted prices are becoming more common. Increasingly, these special cheap web prices have become the “new norm” when it comes to booking flights.
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An important note: these special, cheap web fares are only available on US flights. You won’t find these discounted deals at partner airlines like Cathay Pacific, JAL and others.
And it’s not just national travel. Over the past year, we have seen these discount awards spread to international flights with very cheap fares to Europe, Australia, South America and beyond. One of the best rewards alerts we sent to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members was a special webinar on economics: round-trip flights to New Zealand for just 10,000 miles Advantage!
There are even some special prices on the internet for first class and business taxis in America, although you are more likely to find very high prices than a good deal.
For years, an American had one of the best policies for prize tickets, which offered you unlimited dates, times, and changes for free. That meant you could go up (or down) your flights. Or block flights with one airline and then switch to another when the award space opens. You can even change the cities you connect to, as long as your source and destination don’t change.
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Those days are long gone. But American has replaced that policy with something even better: now all tickets booked with American Advantage miles can be canceled for free. In November 2020, an American waived his normal $ 150 booking fee to cancel a prize ticket and regain his mileage.
That’s huge. Before the pandemic, that advantage was only reserved for the American elite. Now, anyone can cancel a prize ticket and get their miles back for free. Canceling online at AA.com (or through social media) is easy.
It means you can close a flight for 2022 or 2023 using your American miles today and then cancel it if necessary if your flight does not run out on time.
No US airline has a better overall network
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