25 Best Ways to Use American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

25 Best Ways to Use American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

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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.

In addition to its own extensive route network, American Airlines partners with over 20 airlines. That opens up excellent opportunities for redeeming your miles throughout the United States and around the world. There are plenty of values to be found, whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime luxury vacation or you simply want to save on a domestic flight.

We'll explain how American Airlines prices its awards and then take a look at some of the best ways to use AAdvantage miles.

American Airlines miles chart

Unlike Delta and United, American Airlines still publishes region-based award charts. That means you can find the cost of an award flight by referencing your departure region, destination region and class of service. But, that doesn’t mean that American Airlines' award pricing is straightforward.

There are four published award rates for American Airlines award flights: MileSAAver Off Peak, MileSAAver, AAnytime Level 1 and AAnytime Level 2. In addition, American Airlines notes that select dates may “require a higher number of miles (in addition to Level 1 and 2 awards).”

That means that an award flight could be priced at a wide-ranging number of miles. For example, let’s review just the published award prices for an economy award flight between the United States and Europe:

Fare type
Synopsis
MileSAAver Off PeakDiscounted awards during defined off-peak times of the year.
22,500 miles between US-Europe
MileSAAverThe traditional saver award rate.
30,000 miles between US-Europe
AAnytime Level 1The first level of “AAnytime” awards.
47,500 miles between US-Europe
AAnytime Level 2The highest published level of AAnytime awards.
65,000 miles between US-Europe
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The complexity doesn’t end there. In late 2018, American Airlines introduced Web Special awards, and Web Specials have since been expanded to cover all cabins and routes. These awards are exclusively available on American Airlines' website and offer award prices that are discounted from the MileSAAver or AAnytime award level at which the flight is currently being priced. In exchange for that discount, you won’t be allowed to make changes to the ticket.

American Airlines may apply Web Special pricing to discount the price of any one of the four published award rates. For example, here’s an economy award that’s currently priced at AAnytime Level 2 (65,000 miles). However, you can book an Economy Web Special for 41,000 miles one way:

American Airlines miles chart

Reduced mileage awards

Eligible AAdvantage credit card holders can save up to 7,500 miles off of domestic round-trip awards through the Reduced Mileage Award program. To get the discount, you’ll need to find MileSAAver award availability and fly to or from an eligible airport. To complicate things further, the list of eligible airports changes every two months.

Many AAdvantage cards are eligible for the full discount of 3,750 miles each way. That drops the price of a domestic economy MileSAAver award to 8,750 miles each way. If you’re flying on a nonstop flight under 500 miles in distance within the United States, you’ll get a 1,000-2,000 mile discount, depending on your AAdvantage card, dropping the price down to 5,500-6,500 miles each way.

The Reduced Mileage Award discount can be applied to economy, business class or first class MileSAAver awards. However, you can’t apply a Reduced Mileage Award discount to a Web Special award. To book a Reduced Mileage Award, you’ll need to find award availability online and then call American Airlines to book.

How many American Airlines miles do you need to fly?

From cheap Economy Web Specials to unpublished AAnytime award levels, American Airlines charges a very wide range of prices for award flights. American Airlines recently charged as few as 5,000 miles each way for Economy Web Special awards. Meanwhile, a first-class award from Dallas/Fort Worth to Hong Kong is currently priced as high as 460,000 miles each way:

How many American Airlines miles do you need to fly?

This wide range of award prices can make it hard to know in advance how much an award might cost. You can generally plan to spend between 10,000 and 20,000 miles each way per passenger for domestic economy award flights. However, award prices may be much higher around holidays.

How many American Airlines miles do you need to fly?

For trips to Europe, you can expect to pay between 20,000 and 45,000 miles each way per passenger in economy class. If you want to splurge for business class, MileSAAver awards start at 57,500 miles each way, but the award rates sharply increase from there.

Across all routes, American Airlines generally charges lower award prices if you’re willing to make a connection. For example, an award on a nonstop flight from Los Angeles to London may cost 174,000 miles in business class:

How many American Airlines miles do you need to fly?

However, a one-stop itinerary on the same date might cost just 57,500 miles:

How many American Airlines miles do you need to fly?

How much are American Airlines miles worth?

We value American Airlines miles at around 1 cent per mile. To calculate the value of miles for a particular redemption option, use this simple equation: Cash price (minus taxes and fees) / Number of miles needed for flight = Miles value

American Airlines partners

Between the oneworld alliance and its non-alliance partners, American Airlines currently has a total of 22 mileage partners. Of these, you can both earn and redeem miles on 20 of these partners. One partner is earn-only (Interjet) and one partner is redeem-only (Cape Air).

American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld Alliance, which is an alliance of 13 airlines that spreads across a network of over 1,000 airports worldwide. Member airlines provide reciprocal elite benefits — such as baggage allowance and access to over 650 lounges — and travelers can earn and redeem miles when flying alliance partners.

Oneworld Partners
British AirwaysJapan AirlinesRoyal Air Maroc
Cathay PacificMalaysia AirlinesRoyal Jordanian
FinnairQantasS7 Airlines
IberiaQatar AirwaysSriLankan Airlines
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In addition to its oneworld partners, American Airlines has non-alliance partnerships with 10 airlines. You can earn and redeem miles on most of these, but some partnerships are limited to just earning or redeeming miles.

Non-Alliance Partners
Air Tahiti NuiFiji Airways*
Alaska AirlinesGOL Airlines*
Cape Air (redeem only)Hawaiian Airlines*
China Southern Airlines*Interjet (earn only)*
Etihad AirwaysSeaborne Virgin Islands*
*Codeshare partners eligible to earn award miles, EQMs, EQDs and EQSs
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Generally speaking, you won’t earn or receive elite benefits on these non-alliance partners. Alaska Airlines is the exception to the rule. Starting April 1, 2020, American Airlines flyers can earn elite-qualifying activity on Alaska Airlines flights — whether booked with an Alaska or American Airlines flight number.

AAdvantage flyers can also earn elite-qualifying activity when flying on codeshare partners. American Airlines has codeshare partnerships with China Southern, Fiji Airways, GOL Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Interjet and Seaborne Virgin Islands. If you book a flight on one of these codeshare partners, you’ll earn award miles, Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM), Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS) as if you were flying on an American flight.

Other redemption options

Generally, you’re going to get the best value out of AAdvantage miles by booking award flights. However, you can also redeem miles to enhance your travels in other ways.

You can use them to score an upgrade to business class or first class. Just keep in mind that you will likely need to pay a cash co-pay to upgrade most tickets. Still, some travelers may find it a great deal to pay just 25,000 miles plus $350 to upgrade an economy ticket to business class between the U.S. and Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia or New Zealand.

AAdvantage members can also redeem miles to buy or redeem an Admirals Club lounge membership. The cost of a new individual membership ranges between 55,000 to 65,000 miles, depending on your elite status level. For travelers looking for lounge access, it can make a lot more sense to pay the $450 annual fee for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, which grants complimentary Admirals Club membership.

Members can also redeem AAdvantage miles to cover for the non-flight portion of American Airlines Vacation packages. This includes hotel and resort stays, car rentals, transfers, tours and activities.

If you’re sick of traveling, you can also redeem miles for newspaper subscriptions or you can donate miles.

Best ways to 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 American Airlines flights, scroll down to #15 below. Note that the miles needed for each flight may be subject to change at any time.

1. Etihad Airways first-class apartment from New York to Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways first-class apartment from New York to Abu Dhabi

Fly from New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) in an Etihad Airbus A380 to experience the luxurious Etihad first-class Apartment. The spacious “Apartment” includes a couch that converts to a 6-and-a-half-foot bed, a leather upholstered armchair, a vanity with a makeup mirror, a wardrobe for your clothes and loungewear that you can take home after you enjoy onboard.

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 115,000 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, first-class ticket on Etihad from JFK to AUH could set you back more than $16,000 if you were paying with your credit card, rather than with 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. 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 the Middle East or India

Qatar Qsuite business class from Chicago to the Middle East or India

Fly from Chicago (ORD) to Doha, Qatar (DOH) — or beyond — in Qatar Airways Qsuite business class for a very reasonable 70,000 AAdvantage miles each way.

Qatar’s award-winning Qsuite business class suites have seats that can be converted into lie-flat beds, plus doors for privacy. If you’re flying with travel companions, the partitions can be removed to turn a set of four seats into a communal area. Qatar’s incredible on-board service includes turn-down service with a plush duvet, sleepwear and slippers.

You also have plenty of other route options besides Chicago. Qatar is currently operating Qsuite-equipped aircraft to New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Boston (BOS), Houston (IAH), Washington DC (IAD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Philadelphia (PHL).

A flight on Qsuite between the U.S. and the Middle East — or to India, Sri Lanka or other countries on the Indian subcontinent — will cost you just 70,000 American AAdvantage miles each way.

A cash ticket between Chicago and Doha costs over $5,500 if you were paying cash. You can search for Qatar 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 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 on-demand dining along with soft leather seats, plenty of privacy, a storage closet for your belongings and turndown service with a mattress pad, pillows and duvet.

A first-class flight on Cathay Pacific between NYC and Hong Kong costs almost $12,000 one way. You can search and book Cathay Pacific awards right on American Airlines’ website.

4. Qantas A380 first class from Los Angeles to Australia

Qantas A380 first class from Los Angeles to Australia

It’s notoriously difficult to find first-class award seats on Qantas. But if you ever find it, you should quickly hand over the 110,000 AAdvantage miles needed for a one-way trip. You can fly in luxury and comfort in Qantas first class from Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL) or Sydney (SYD) or from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Sydney (SYD).

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.

First-class flights on Qantas between the U.S. and Australia currently cost over $9,700 each way, making the 110,000 AAdvantage mileage cost quite a deal. You can search for Qantas award space and book your tickets on the American Airlines website at AA.com.

5. Qantas business class San Francisco to Australia

Qantas business class San Francisco to Australia

You may have an easier time finding Qantas business class award availability between the U.S. and Australia. Fly between Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) and Brisbane (BNE), Melbourne (MEL) or Sydney (SYD) for just 80,000 AAdvantage miles each way.

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.

Although you used to need to call American Airlines to book Qantas awards, you can now search for award availability and book on American Airlines’s website.

6. Royal Air Maroc business class from Washington D.C. to Istanbul

Royal Air Maroc business class from Washington D.C. to Istanbul

One of American Airlines’ newest partners is Royal Air Maroc. No joke: the Moroccan airline joined the oneworld alliance on April 1, 2020. Now, AAdvantage members can earn and redeem miles on Royal Air Maroc flights between the U.S. and Morocco and beyond.

Even better, American Airlines now considers Morocco as part of Europe for award purposes. So, you can pass through Casablanca on the way to any destination in Europe for just 57,500 miles each way. You can stretch this and fly to the edge of American Airlines' Europe region: Istanbul (IST).

Royal Air Maroc business class sports the solid Super Diamond business class seats. The soft product includes a well-stocked amenity kit with Pier Augé hand and face creams.

As far as one-way international business class flights go, Royal Air Maroc isn’t bad at around $2,180 one way between Washington D.C. and Istanbul. However, paying just 57,500 miles is much more affordable. Plus, you can search and book Royal Air Maroc award flights right on American Airlines' website.

7. Iberia Airlines business class from Miami to Madrid

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.

As with most American Airlines partner awards, you can search and book Iberia flights using AAdvantage miles right on American Airlines’ website at AA.com. Just make sure to scroll past the American Airlines and British Airways offerings to get to the Iberia flights.

8. Japan Airlines first class from Los Angeles to Tokyo

Japan Airlines first class from Los Angeles 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 other destinations in Asia.

You can book a one-way first-class award on Japan Airlines for just 80,000 AAdvantage 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. 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) to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Chicago (ORD) and New York (JFK).

If you can’t find first-class availability, you can book an award flight in Japan Airlines business class for 60,000 miles.

American AAdvantage miles are one of the most affordable ways to book Japan Airlines first-class flights, which cost over $11,600 if you were to pay with cash.

9. Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles to Tahiti

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. However, you may need to search well 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 Houston to London

British Airways first class from Houston 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 and 787-10 aircraft offer a first-class experience that is a step up from the airline’s typical offerings. Passengers get the same high-end champagne in new, sleekly designed space with lie-flat beds and pajamas.

If you don’t want to leave from Houston, you have plenty of other choices. British Airways also operates Boeing 787s out of a number of other U.S. airports including Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Seattle (SEA), Atlanta (ATL), Nashville (BNA) and Newark (EWR).

The one-way ticket will cost you 85,000 AAdvantage miles, and likely hundreds of dollars in surcharges — that’s because British Airways charges hefty carrier-imposed surcharges on award tickets. But if you fly first class out of London, you can enjoy the British Airways’ legendary Concorde Room — which includes pre-flight dining in private dining booths with full waiter service and a la carte menu.

You can search and book British Airways flights right on American Airlines' website.

11. Qatar business class from the United States to South Africa

Qatar business class from the United States to South Africa

You can fly one way in business class from the United States to anywhere in Africa on partner airlines for 75,000 AAdvantage miles. By far, the best option is to fly Qatar Airlines, transit Doha and continue on to South Africa.

Combining the U.S.-Doha and Doha-South Africa flights, you can fly in Qatar’s Qsuite product for over 25 hours on just one award. If you want to consider it on a per-hour basis, it’s just 3,000 AAdvantage miles per hour for one of the best business class products in the sky.

12. Fly economy within Europe

Fly economy within Europe

You can fly one way across Europe on an American Airlines partner airline for just 12,500 miles each way. This can be a quick and economical way to get from one European country to another.

American Airlines’ region definitions for Europe are quite broad. So, you can do a lot of flying for those 12,500 miles — whether it’s from Iceland to Istanbul or from Madrid to Moscow.

While partner award availability shows on AA.com for flights between the U.S. and Europe, it’s not as reliable for intra-Europe flights. Your best bet will probably be to check the British Airways website for availability on various partners and call American Airlines reservations to book.

13. Fly between Florida and Northern Brazil on GOL Airlines

American Airlines’ South American connections were dealt a blow by LATAM Airlines’ departure from oneworld effective May 1, 2020. But American Airlines quickly made up for this loss by partnering with Brazil-based GOL Airlines.

GOL Airlines flies between Manaus (MAO) in the north of Brazil and Orlando (MCO) and Miami (MIA). While most of Brazil is considered South America Region 2, Manaus is specifically included in South American Region 1. That means it costs just 20,000 AAdvantage miles to fly between Florida and Manaus.

Unfortunately, GOL is one of the few AAdvantage partners that you can’t search on American Airlines' website. You can use a paid award availability service like ExpertFlyer to search award availability, or you can call an American Airlines agent to check for award availability.

14. Experience the Etihad first-class apartments for 50,000 miles

While we are focusing this list on sweet spots to/from the United States, there’s one non-U.S. sweet spot that we can’t ignore: flying the incredible Etihad first-class “Apartment” for just 50,000 AAdvantage miles. That’s less than half of the cost (115,000 miles) of flying the same product from the U.S.

To get this amazing rate, you’re going to need to travel between Japan or Korea (Asia Region 1) and the Middle East or Indian subcontinent. Currently, the only option between these regions in the Etihad Apartments is between Seoul (ICN) and Abu Dhabi (AUH). The flight time is almost 10 hours on this route, making it an incredible deal for just 50,000 miles each way.

Award availability for Etihad awards isn’t currently being shown on American Airlines' website. So, you’ll want to search for guest seat award availability on Etihad’s website and then call American Airlines to book the award flight.

Best ways to redeem AAdvantage miles on American Airlines

In addition to the many lucrative partner award opportunities, there are some great redemption options on American Airlines flights.

15. Fly American business class from Dallas to Seoul

Fly American business class from Dallas to Seoul

You can fly American Airlines business class one way to AAdvantage’s Asia Region 1 — which includes Korea and Japan — for 60,000 AAdvantage miles. You can also fly in premium economy on this route for 50,000 miles each way, but it’s absolutely going to be worth paying the extra 10,000 miles for business class if you have the choice.

American Airlines only operates one route between the U.S. and South Korea: Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Seoul (ICN). American Airlines switches between using a Boeing 787-8 and a Boeing 787-9 aircraft on this route. If you have the chance, try to fly the 787-9 as it has a more-private, reverse herringbone style business class cabin.

16. Fly economy for an affordable European vacation

Fly economy for an affordable European vacation

Your AAdvantage miles can get you a MileSAAver 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 Nov. 1 and Dec. 14 and from Jan. 1 through March 14.

If you’d rather take your trip outside of these dates, MileSAAver awards cost 30,000 miles one way or 60,000 round trip — although Economy Web Specials could be even cheaper. American Airlines' region definition for Europe encompasses 45 counties, ranging from Albania to the United Kingdom.

17. Fly American Airlines business class from New York to Peru

Fly American Airlines business class from New York 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 Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Manaus, Brazil.

One of the longer options is flying between the U.S. and Peru. American Airlines flies from Miami (MIA) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Lima, Peru (LIM). If you have the choice, we recommend flying through Dallas. American Airlines is operating a domestically-configured Airbus A321 aircraft between Miami and Peru. Meanwhile, American Airlines' flight from DFW to Lima is using a Boeing 787 with lie-flat business class seats.

This added comfort may come with an extra cost. American Airlines recently added a 7,500-mile surcharge if an award includes travel on an aircraft that offers lie-flat seats. In practice, this isn’t consistently applied.

Fly American Airlines business class from New York to Peru

18. Fly to Hawaii in economy during off-peak dates to vacation for less

Fly to Hawaii in economy during off-peak dates to vacation for less

One way to maximize the value of your AAdvantage miles is to travel during American Airlines' MileSAAver off-peak dates to save miles on your trip. To find these deals, look for MileSAAver off-peak awards on the American Airlines redemption chart.

You can fly in economy from anywhere on the mainland to Hawaii for just 20,000 AAdvantage miles 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 for flights from Hawaii to the mainland. The dates for traveling from Hawaii are:

  • Jan. 7 to March 19
  • Aug. 18 to Nov. 27
  • Dec. 3 to Dec. 25

Cash flights to Hawaii from the West Coast can be especially cheap during off-peak dates. So, the best redemption options are going to be from the East Coast to Hawaii. For example, you can fly from Raleigh/Durham (RDU) to Honolulu (HNL) for 40,000 miles plus $11.20 in taxes and fees:

Fly to Hawaii in economy during off-peak dates to vacation for less

The same flight costs $802 round trip if you were to pay with cash:

Fly to Hawaii in economy during off-peak dates to vacation for less

There’s no need to do anything special to get these deals. The off-peak rates will show up on AA.com when you search for award flights within the specified dates.

19. Fly American in economy off peak to the Bahamas or the Caribbean

Fly American in economy off peak to the Bahamas or the Caribbean

Another option for a great deal on a sunny vacation: You can fly to the Caribbean region — which includes Bermuda and the Bahamas — for just 12,500 AAdvantage miles one way during the off-peak season. That’s the same mileage cost as domestic U.S. MileSAAver awards, and you get to go all the way to the Caribbean.

The MileSAAver off-peak dates between the U.S. and the Caribbean are:

  • April 27 to May 20
  • Sept. 9 to Nov. 18

To really maximize this redemption, start on the U.S. West Coast and fly all the way to Aruba, Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago.

20. Fly 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 MileSAAver 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 international destinations not covered above:

Asia Region 1 (Japan):

  • To Japan: Jan. 1 to April 30 and July 1 to Nov. 30
  • From Japan: Jan. 16 to April 19, May 2-31 and Sept. 1 to Dec. 31

Asia Region 1 (Korea):

  • To Korea: Jan. 1 to April 30 and July 1 to Nov. 30
  • From Korea: Jan. 16 to May 31 and 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 and Oct. 11 to Nov. 30
  • From China/Hong Kong: Feb. 1 to May 31, Sept. 1 to 19 and 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 MileSAAver awards are a great way to go.

21. Fly from the United States to Mexico or the Caribbean during peak season

Fly 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, the Caribbean or Central America during peak season on American for 15,000 AAdvantage miles using MileSAAver awards.

Again, you can really stretch these awards to get maximum value. Fly from Seattle to Aruba or Boston to Cabo San Lucas for just 15,000 miles each way.

If you want to splurge for first class on these routes, it costs just 25,000 miles each way. That might not be worth it for short flights, but it can make long journeys a lot more pleasant. Just note that if you score an aircraft with lie-flat seats, American Airlines may charge a 7,500-mile premium for the improved experience.

22. Fly from New York City to New Zealand

Fly from New York City to New Zealand

You can fly one way on American Airlines in economy from the United States to New Zealand for just 40,000 AAdvantage miles each way. Or, if you can find MileSAAver award availability, it’s definitely worth paying 80,000 miles for business class for the long journey. If there isn’t business class award availability, you can still fly in comfort by booking premium economy for 65,000 miles each way.

For years, American Airlines' only New Zealand route has been between Los Angeles (LAX) and Auckland (AKL). However, American Airlines is in the process of tripling its New Zealand routes. American Airlines plans to launch flights from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Auckland (AKL) and Los Angeles (LAX) to Christchurch (CHC) in 2021.

23. Hunt for a Web Special

Hunt for a Web Special

American Airlines launched Economy Web Special awards on a few routes in October 2018. Since then, this form of dynamic award pricing has expanded to cover all routes and classes of service that American Airlines operates.

By their very nature, Web Special prices will change constantly. We have seen Economy Web Specials for as low as 5,000 AAdvantage miles one way. And, we have seen Web Special awards in premium cabins in the hundreds of thousands of miles:

Hunt for a Web Special

There’s no trick to finding Web Special awards. By searching awards on AA.com, you’ll automatically see Web Special pricing. And you won’t know if it’s a Web Special award until you select the award option.

Recent examples of incredible premium cabin Web Special awards include:

  • U.S. to Tokyo for 55,000 miles one way in first class or 45,000 miles in business class
  • First class to Hong Kong for 61,000 miles one way or 50,000 miles in business class
  • First class from U.S. to London for 62,000 miles one way or 50,000 miles in business class

24. Take short hops within the U.S.

Take short hops within the U.S.

In March 2016, American Airlines dropped the price on nonstop award flights of under 500 miles within the United States to just 7,500 miles each way.

There are dozens of options within the United States where you can take advantage of this rate. 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 Miami (MIA) to Tallahassee (TLH), Florida.

This can be a great option to take a trip where it’s too far to drive and the cash rates for flights are high.

25. Book a reduced mileage award for a flight within the U.S. or Canada

Book a reduced mileage award for a flight within the U.S. or Canada

If you have an eligible American Airlines co-branded credit card, you may be able to take advantage of the Reduced Mileage Award program. This discount award program can get you a great deal on a flight within the United States and Canada.

The complication here is that the list of airports is different every month. American Airlines hubs are never targeted, but the list usually contains between 75-150 eligible airports each month.

The discount depends on which credit card you have. Most credit cards are going to be eligible for the full discount of:

  • 3,750 miles each way (7,500 miles round trip) on domestic MileSAAver awards
  • 1,000 miles each way (2,000 miles round trip) for domestic MileSAAver awards on nonstop flights under 500 miles. These awards typically cost just 7,500 miles each way.

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.

How to book a flight with American Airlines miles

American Airlines makes it very easy to search and book award flights on its website. And, it’s not just American Airlines flights that you can book online. AAdvantage members can book award flights on 18 partner airlines right on AA’s website. The only AAdvantage redemption partners that you can’t currently book online are China Southern, Etihad and GOL Airlines.

You can start your award search right on the homepage by selecting the “redeem miles” option:

How to book a flight with American Airlines miles

If you are flexible on dates, you can select the calendar option at the top-right corner of the results:

How to book a flight with American Airlines miles

In both views, you can limit the results to nonstop, one stop, two stops or any number of stops.

You can search and select flights without logging in. That makes American Airlines' website a great option for searching award availability on the 19 supported airlines — even if you end up using a partner’s miles to book the flights. If you are using AAdvantage miles, you’ll need to log into your account once selecting a flight option in order to book it.

Can you transfer American Airlines miles?

AAdvantage miles cannot be transferred to airline or hotel partners. However, you can transfer miles to other AAdvantage members for a fee.

Can you sell American Airlines miles?

The AAdvantage terms and conditions forbid the purchase, sale, advertisement for sale or bartering of miles and award tickets. However, you may be able to redeem AAdvantage miles for gift cards through Points.com.

Can a spouse redeem miles on American Airlines?

American Airlines miles can be redeemed for family members or friends as a gift. However, AAdvantage miles and award tickets cannot be purchased, sold, advertised for sale or bartered.

Can you transfer American Airlines miles to someone else?

American Airlines miles can be transferred to other AAdvantage members for a fee. The cost varies based on the number of miles that you transfer.

Can I use AAdvantage miles on other airlines?

AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for award flights on American Airlines and 21 partner airlines — including Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways and Japan Airlines.

Can I redeem American Airlines miles for car rental?

American Airlines miles can be redeemed for car rentals as part of a package through American Airlines Vacations.

Can I redeem American Airlines miles for hotels?

AAdvantage miles can also be redeemed for hotel and resort stays, transfers, tours and more through American Airlines Vacations.

JT Genter

JT is a freelance writer who has written about credit cards and points & miles since 2015. He published over 2,000 articles on The Points Guy and can now be found writing for ValuePenguin, NerdWallet, Forbes Advisor, and AwardWallet. Since June 2017, JT and his wife have traveled full-time as digital nomads - using points, miles, and credit card benefits to drastically reduce the cost of living on the road.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).