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If you’ve racked up a pile of American Airlines AAdvantage miles and are wondering how to redeem them for maximum value, you’re in luck. Even though American Airlines AAdvantage miles have lost some value in recent years, you can still find excellent deals for redeeming your miles in the United States and around the world. There are good values to be had, whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime luxury vacation or you simply want a great deal on a domestic flight for a family trip.
You have many options for redeeming American Airlines AAdvantage Miles, thanks to the airline’s broad reach and robust network of partnerships. American Airlines and its regional partner American Eagle offer almost 6,700 flights a day to 350 destinations in 50 countries. Plus, the airline is a founding member of the Oneworld alliance, which includes many of the largest airlines in the world flying to 1,000 destinations in 150 countries.
American Airlines partners in the Oneworld alliance include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Qatar Airways. (See below for a complete list of partner airlines.)
Part I: Redeem AAdvantage miles on American Airlines partners
Here are the highest value, most extravagant options for redeeming AAdvantage miles. If you're more interested in economy flights, check out Part II below. Note that the miles needed for each flight are based on the individual airline's award chart and may be subject to change, depending on availability and time of year.
1. Etihad Airways First Class Apartment from New York to Abu Dhabi
Fly from New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) in an Etihad Airbus 380 to experience the luxurious Etihad first-class apartment. The spacious “apartment” includes a couch that converts to a 6-foot fully-flat bed, a leather upholstered armchair, a vanity with a makeup mirror, a wardrobe for your clothes and complimentary loungewear. The first class area also features a bar and lounge area, a butler, a chef who will tweak your meal at your request and a bathroom with a shower that can be used by appointment.
The flight will cost you 115,500 AAdvantage miles one way, which many travelers would consider a bargain for such a one-of-a-kind flying experience. Also consider the fact that a one-way ticket first-class ticket on Etihad from JFK to AUH could set you back almost $15,000 if you were paying with your credit card, rather than your miles.
To book, search for your flights on the Etihad website, and look for a Guest Seat award. Note the flight information and call American Airlines to book. And if you can’t find a seat, you may have to keep checking back to see if more award seats have been released.
2. Qatar Qsuite Business Class from Chicago to Qatar
Fly from Chicago (ORD) to Qatar (DOH) in Qatar Airways Qsuite business class. The Qsuites, business class suites with doors, have been getting attention and winning awards, and you can experience Qsuites with a relatively modest number of AAdvantage miles. Qsuites offer ambient “mood lighting” and fully lie-flat beds. The experience also includes turn-down service with a plush duvet, sleepwear and slippers.
You also have other route options, including leaving from New York (JFK), Atlanta (ATL), Houston (IAH) or Los Angeles (LAX).
The trip will cost you 70,000 American AAdvantage miles one way, while it would cost you over $6,000 if you were paying cash. You can search for availability and book your flight directly through American Airlines at aa.com.
3. Cathay Pacific First Class from New York to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific is known for providing one of the best first-class experiences in the air. You can get a one-way ticket from New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG) in Cathay Pacific first class cabin for only 110,000 AAdvantage miles. Or, if you’d rather save the miles, you can book one-way in business class for 70,000 AAdvantage miles.
However, Cathay Pacific first class offers a top-notch luxury experience that may be well worth the extra miles. With only six ultra-wide seats in first class, Cathay Pacific has one of the roomiest first-class offerings in the air. You’ll get champagne, caviar and a la carte dining, along with soft leather seats, plenty of privacy, a storage closet for your belongings and turndown service with a mattress pad, pillows and a 500-thread count duvet.
To book, you’ll need to check flight availability at the British Airways website at ba.com, gather your flight details and call American Airlines to book.
4. LATAM Business Class from L.A. to Peru
You can fly from the U.S. to Peru in LATAM Airlines business class for 30,000 AAdvantage miles one way, or 60,000 miles round trip — Peru is listed in the American Airlines award chart under South America Region 1. If you’d rather fly LATAM business class to Argentina or Chile, both of which are in South America region 2, the trip will cost you 57,500 miles each way.
LATAM business class offers comfortable seating, a comfy pillow and blanket, a well-stocked amenities kit and a dedicated business class flight attendant.
To book, you can search for flight availability on the British Airways website at ba.com. You may have better luck finding flights if you’re willing to be flexible about your travel days, as some LATAM flights operate only on certain days. Once you know which flight you want, call American Airlines to book.
5. Qantas A380 First Class from Los Angeles to Australia
It’s notoriously difficult to find first-class award seats on Qantas, but if you can, you should consider handing over the 110,000 AAdvantage miles for a one-way trip. You'll fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL) or Sydney (SYD) in luxury and comfort. Qantas first class is roomy and uses partitions to create a feeling of privacy and space. You’ll get restaurant-style dining and access to a Qantas’ “sommelier in the sky.” Your seat converts into a bed with a memory foam mattress and turn-down service, and you’ll receive pajamas to help you kick back and relax.
You can search for Qantas award space and book your tickets on the American Airlines website at aa.com.
6. Qantas Business Class San Francisco to Australia
You may have an easier time finding a Qantas business class award seat, but be aware that Qantas business class seating varies greatly by the type of aircraft. For the best Qantas business class experience, look for flights on a Qantas Boeing 787, which offers a Business Class Suite with roomy seats that lie fully flat, direct aisle access and plenty of legroom.
To book, search for flight availability on the British Airways website, then call American Airlines to book.
7. Iberia Airlines Business Class from Miami to Madrid
You can travel business class on Iberia Airlines from the United States to Spain for 57,500 AAdvantage miles. Iberia business class seats are staggered with ottomans to allow you to extend your feet. There’s plenty of storage room, and you get a pillow, blanket and a fully stocked amenities kit.
And there’s good news about booking. In 2017, American began allowing customers to search and book Iberia flights using AAdvantage miles through the American Airlines website at aa.com. You may need to scroll past the American Airlines and British Airways offerings to get to the Iberia flights.
8. Japan Airlines First Class from San Francisco to Tokyo
One of the best ways to get great value for your AAdvantage miles is to book a first-class flight on a partner airline from the United States to Japan or Korea. Because American designated these destinations as Asia Region 1, you’ll shell out fewer miles than you would for a first-class flight to China, Hong Kong and other destinations in Asia.
You can take a one-way first-class flight on Japan Airlines for just 80,000 AAdvantage miles. Or, if you prefer, you could book a business class flight for 60,000 miles. Japan Airlines first class, which gets rave reviews from frequent flyers, offers luxurious lie-flat seats with wood grain paneling that are mostly enclosed. You also get a 23-inch screen, ample storage, gourmet meals created by a chef, wines selected by a former sommelier and a certified Master of Wine, a luxury amenities kit and eco-friendly cotton loungewear.
However, first class is available only on Japan Airlines Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which fly limited routes. You can fly first-class from Tokyo Haneda (HND) or Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Chicago (ORD) and New York (JFK). You can also fly first-class between Tokyo and Paris (CDG) or Tokyo and London (LHR).
American AAdvantage miles are one of the most affordable ways to book Japan Airlines first-class flights, which cost over $12,000 in cash.
9. Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles to Tahiti
Fly from the United States to the South Pacific on the American Airlines partner airline Air Tahiti Nui. You can fly one way to Tahiti in business class for 80,000 AAdvantage miles or in economy for 40,000 AAdvantage miles. (Flying first class to the islands isn’t an option.) However, you may have to search about 10 months in advance to find business class award space on Air Tahiti Nui.
Air Tahiti Nui flies from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete, Tahiti (PPT). You can search for Air Tahiti Nui flights and book directly on the American Airlines website at aa.com.
10. British Airways First Class from Boston to London
While British Airways is not known for offering the best first class flying experience, flying first class from the United States to London can still offer a decent redemption value for your AAdvantage miles if you choose one of the airline’s newer aircraft.
British Airways, one of the largest members of the Oneworld Alliance, offers less privacy and less space in first class seats than many other airlines. However, British Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 aircraft offer a first class experience that is far superior to the airline’s typical offerings. Passengers get to enjoy high-end champagne in a sleekly designed space with lie-flat beds and pajamas.
If you don’t want to leave from Boston, you have plenty of other choices. British Airways also has Boeing 787-9s flying out of a number of other U.S. airports including Philadelphia (PHL), Newark (EWR), Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS), San Jose (SJC) and Los Angeles (LAX).
The one-way ticket will cost you 85,000 AAdvantage miles, and possibly hundreds of dollars in surcharges — that’s because British Airways tacks a $500-plus fuel surcharge onto some award tickets. But if you fly first class on your return, you can enjoy the British Airways first-class lounge, where you can get a free massage.
Book your flight by searching the British Airways website at ba.com for flight availability, then calling American Airlines to book tickets.
11. Qatar Business Class from the United States to South Africa
You can fly one way in business class from the United States to Africa on partner airlines for 75,000 AAdvantage miles. The best option with the most flight availability is to fly Qatar airlines, stopping in Qatar and going on to South Africa.
Search for availability on the British Airways website at ba.com and call American Airlines reservations to book your flight.
12. Cathay Pacific First Class from New York to Vancouver
We’ve already outlined the luxuries offered by Cathay Pacific first class flights, and you can get the same treatment when you fly from New York (JFK) to Vancouver (YVR).
A one-way flight between these two destinations will set you back only 50,000 AAdvantage miles. If you’d love to try Cathay Pacific first class without taking a long-haul flight or leaving North America, this redemption offers an excellent option.
To book, search the British Airways website at ba.com and call American reservations with your flight details.
13. Fly Economy within Europe on a Partner Airline
You can fly one way across Europe on an American Airlines partner airline for just 12,500 miles each way; his can be a quick and economical way to get from one European country to another. To book, your best bet will probably be to check the British Airways website at ba.com for availability on various partners and call American Airlines reservations to book.
14. Take a Side Trip in South America on a Partner Airline
If you’re using your AAdvantage miles to fly to South America for vacation, you may want to take advantage of American’s amazing deals on award tickets with partner airlines within South American countries. The only rule is that you must be flying within a single country rather than between South American countries.
For example, you can fly economy one way within Ecuador for just 5,000 AAdvantage miles, or within Argentina, Chile (except Easter Island), Colombia or Peru for just 6,000 AAdvantage miles (remember, though, it has to be within one single country). You can fly economy one way within Brazil for 7,500 AAdvantage miles. Or you can fly economy from Santiago, Chile to Easter Island or fly business class within Brazil for 17,500 AAdvantage miles.
15. Fly American Business Class from Dallas to South Korea
You can fly American Airlines business class one way to American’s Asia 1 region, which includes Korea and Japan, for 60,000 AAdvantage miles. The quality of the business class seating varies widely across American by type of aircraft, so you’ll want to look for a route with newer planes and more spacious seating. On the Dallas (DFW) to Seoul (ICN) route, it may be easy to get a seat on a newer and more comfortable aircraft. The best and most comfortable business class seating has a reverse herringbone style that offers added comfort and privacy, and can be found on Boeing 777-300R and 787-9 and retrofitted 777-200 airplanes.
Part II: Redeem AAdvantage miles on American Airlines
In Part II, we outline some of the more practical redemption options for AAdvantage miles.
16. Fly Economy for an Affordable European Vacation
Your AAdvantage miles can get you a saver economy ticket to many European destinations during off-peak times for less. Fly American Airlines or a Oneworld partner for 22,500 one way or 45,000 round trip between from Jan. 1 through March 14 or Nov. 1 through Dec. 14. And if you’d rather take your trip outside of those time windows, you’ll use 30,000 miles one way or 60,000 round trip. American’s definition of Europe encompasses 44 destinations, ranging from Albania to the United Kingdom.
17. Fly American Airlines Business Class to from Miami to Peru
For 30,000 AAdvantage miles, you can fly American Airlines business class one way to South America Region 1, which includes Peru as well as Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Manaus, Brazil (the rest of Brazil is considered South America Region 2.)
American Airlines offers two flights per day from Miami (MIA) to Lima (LIM). American Airlines business class, on recently retrofitted Boeing 757 aircraft, includes fully lie-flat seats, ample storage space around the seat for your personal items, a Samsung Galaxy tablet loaded with entertainment options for you to use inflight, Bose headphones, a pillow and blanket and an amenities kit. Unfortunately, American business class varies greatly by aircraft, so verify aircraft type and details before you book to get the most value for your mile.
18. Fly American in Economy Off Peak to Take a Hawaiian Vacation for Less
One way to maximize the value of your AAdvantage miles is to travel during off peak times at a significant discount. To find these deals, look for MileSAAver Off Peak awards on the American Airlines redemption chart. If you’re looking to save big and have some fun in the surf and sun, consider flying American in economy to Hawaii during off-peak dates. You can fly economy from the mainland United States to Hawaii for 20,000 AAdvantage miles if you’re willing to travel during these dates:
- Dec. 29 to March 12
- Aug. 11 to Nov. 18
- Nov. 24 to Dec. 10
Keep in mind that the dates are slightly different if you’re traveling from Hawaii rather than to Hawaii. The dates for traveling from Hawaii are:
- Jan. 7 to March 19
- Aug. 18 to Nov. 27
- Dec. 3 to Dec. 25
19. Fly American in Economy Off Peak to the Bahamas
Another option for a great deal on a sunny vacation: you can fly to the Caribbean, which includes Bermuda and the Bahamas, for just 12,500 AAdvantage miles one way during the off-peak season. The Caribbean off-peak dates are: April 27 to May 20 and Sept. 7 to Nov. 14.
20. Fly Economy Internationally on Off-Peak Dates for Big Savings
Interested in going beyond Hawaii or the Caribbean and exploring other parts of the world as cheaply as possible? American off-peak awards are a great way to save.
You can get a one-way off-peak saver award ticket to South America Region 1 for 17,500 AAdvantage miles (35,000 round trip), or to Asia Region 1 and Asia Region 2 for 32,500 AAdvantage miles (65,000 round trip).
Here are the off-peak dates for travel from the United States to these international destinations:
Asia Region 1 (Japan):
- To Japan: Jan. 1 to April 30, July 1 to Nov. 30
- From Japan: Jan. 16 to April 19, May 2-31, Sept. 1 to Dec. 31
Asia Region 1 (Korea):
- To Korea: Jan. 1 to April 30, July 1 to Nov. 30
- From Korea: Jan. 16 to May 31, Sept. 1 to Dec. 31
Asia Region 2 (China and Hong Kong):
- To China/Hong Kong: Jan. 1 to April 30, July 1 to Sept. 30, Oct. 11 to Nov. 30 From China/Hong Kong: Feb. 1 to May 31, Sept. 1 to 19, Oct. 2 to Dec. 31
South America Region 1:
- Jan. 16 to June 14, Sept. 7 to Nov. 14
If you don’t mind flying economy and just want to stretch your miles as far as you can, off-peak saver awards are a great way to go.
21. Fly Economy from the United States to Mexico or the Caribbean During Peak Season
What if off-peak dates don’t work for you? There are still cheap flights to warm locales. You can fly one way in economy from the United States to Mexico or the Caribbean during peak season on American starting at 15,000 AAdvantage miles, or to Central America for the same number of miles.
22. Fly Economy from Los Angeles to New Zealand
You can fly one way on American Airlines in economy from the United States to New Zealand, from Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL), which is included on the American chart as part of the South Pacific region, for 40,000 AAdvantage miles. . If you prefer to fly business class, you’ll pay 80,000 miles.
23. Hunt for an Economy Web Special
American Airlines now offers frequently changing Economy Web Specials for as low as 5,000 AAdvantage miles for a one-way ticket. The Economy Web Specials will show up along with all the other options offered by American when you do a search at aa.com.
Recent examples of one-way routes with Economy Web Specials include: New York (JFK) to Dallas (DFW) for 5,000 miles, Philadelphia (PHL) to Aruba (AUA) for 7,500 miles and and Miami (MIA) to Belize (BZE) for 7,500 miles.
24. Book a Reduced Mileage Award for a Flight within the U.S. or Canada
If you have an eligible American Airlines credit card, you may be able to take advantage of the reduced mileage award offer that can get you a great deal on a flight within the United States, within Canada or between the two countries. While not all cities are eligible, there are dozens of options at any given time.
American Airlines spells out the details of the reduced mileage award program on its website, but here’s a summary of how it works.
First, you check your credit card to find out the amount of your discount. Depending on the card, you will get either:
- 7,000 miles off a flight of 500-plus miles OR 2,000 miles off a flight of less than 500 miles or
- 5,000 miles off a flight of 500-plus miles OR 1,000 miles off a flight of less than 500 miles
You then choose your class of service, find the award code on the American Airlines website and choose your destination. You’ll need to check the chart on the American Airlines website because the eligible airports change monthly. You’ll also need to make sure a saver-level award ticket is available.
Once you’ve determined destinations and availability, you’ll call American Airlines at 1-800-882-8880 to book your flight. Because you can’t book reduced mileage award program tickets online, you will not be charged a fee for booking through reservations.
25. Take Short Hops within the U.S.
Ready for a family vacation, a getaway with your pals or a trip to a nearby event? Several years ago, American Airlines began offering short nonstop award flights of 500 miles or less within the United states for just 7,500 miles each way. With this deal, there are dozens of options within the United States that let you get maximum value out of your miles. For example, you could fly from Chicago (ORD) to Kansas City (MCI), Dallas (DFW) to Memphis, Tennessee (MEM), Los Angeles (LAX) to San Francisco (SFO)or Tampa, Florida (TPA) to Tallahassee (TLH), Florida. This American Airlines deal is an excellent way to take a trip that’s too far to drive when you don’t want to pay much to fly.
And if you spot a great award deal from one of the options listed above, but you live several hundred miles from the airport you’d need to fly out of, you can use this deal from American to affordably catch your departure flight.
American Airlines Award Charts
Take a look at these American Airlines award charts to see if you can find any other sweet spots that appeal to you for AAdvantage miles redemption:
While there’s no doubt American Airlines AAdvantage miles used to be more valuable in the past, there’s still plenty of value — and lots of happy flying — for frequent flyer program members willing to be flexible, get creative and do a little digging to find the American Airlines awards redemption sweet spots.
The best credit cards to earn American AAdvantage miles
Want to add to your stash of American Airlines AAdvantage miles so you can book a dream vacation? Aside from flying American Airlines and its partners, the best way to rack up more AAdvantage miles is to pick out the American Airlines credit card that’s the best fit for your situation and spending habits. Here are four American Airlines credit cards to consider:
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
No Annual Fee
15.99% - 24.99% Variable
- Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- No Annual Fee
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
- Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
You can also transfer your points from the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program to the American Airlines AAdvantage program at a ratio of 3:1. This is admittedly not the best ratio, but Marriot Bonvoy will add 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points you transfer.
Finally, you can get extra miles by doing your online shopping through the AAdvantage eShopping portal and signing up for the AAdvantage Dining program. If you’re new to the dining program, you can earn 1,000 AAdvantage bonus miles by spending $25 in your first 30 days.
List of American Airlines partners
Before we share the best ways to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles, it may help to take a look at the list of American Airlines partners, many of which offer excellent options for redeeming your AAdvantage miles. American Airlines partners in the Oneworld alliance are:
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- LATAM Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
Other American Airlines partners, which also include some good AAdvantage miles redemption values, are:
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
- Cape Air
- China Southern Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Fiji Airways
- Gulf Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Seaborne Airlines
Our picks for best ways to redeem American AAdvantage miles for max value include flights on Oneworld alliance members and other partners, as well as on American Airlines.
You should know that you can’t transfer American Airlines miles to partner airlines and not all partner flights are searchable on the American Airlines website at aa.com. In order to redeem AAdvantage miles for a flight on a partner airline, you may need to search for flight availability on the partner airline’s website, or on the website of another partner airline, and then call AAdvantage customer service at (800) 882-8880 to book your flight.
Keep in mind that if you call American to book an award flight you could have booked online, you may be charged a fee of $30 for U.S. domestic travel and $40 for international travel. This only applies if the flight is bookable online, so when in doubt, just ask before you book. You will probably also have to pay taxes and fees on your award ticket.
Regions in the American Airlines Award Chart
American Airlines has a chart for redeeming AAdvantage miles on American Airlines and a separate chart for redeeming AAdvantage miles on Oneworld and other partner airlines.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how American Airlines award charts split up the world into regions. The full list of American Airlines region definitions can be found on the AA.com website, but here is a summary of the definitions for the regions that may trip up travelers trying to book award tickets:
- Asia Region 1: Japan, Korea
- Asia Region 2: Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
- South America Region 1: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil (Manaus only), Peru
- South America Region 2: Argentina, Brazil (except Manaus), Chile, Falkland Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela
These region definitions are important to keep in mind when you search for award space. Often there may be large differences between regions in the number of AAdvantage miles required to get a ticket, especially between the Asia 1 and 2 regions and the South America 1 and 2 regions.
How to maximize value on American AAdvantage miles redemptions
Now that you know a little more about the ins and outs of the AAdvantage program, here are 25 of the best ways to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles. We started with the most aspirational and luxurious redemptions for international flights on partner airlines, followed by redemptions for international first and business class flights on American Airlines and finally a list of budget-friendly ways to redeem your AAdvantage miles for domestic flights.
It’s worth noting that finding MileSAAver level award tickets on American Airlines can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re traveling with a group or are not able to be flexible with your plans. If you’re determined to find a MileSAAver award ticket, you may need to start looking for flights well in advance and check back frequently to see if space has opened up. Being willing to book legs of your flight separately may also help you to find space. And keep in mind that space sometimes opens up at the last minute.
The information related to the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.