American Airlines AAdvantage Miles aren’t as valuable as they once were a few years ago – mainly due to the fact that there was a massive award chart devaluation a few years ago and also the fact that it is increasingly harder to earn AA miles as the only transfer partner available is Starwood Preferred Guest. AMEX, Chase, and Citi do NOT partner with American Airlines so you can’t transfer your bank points to AA from those programs.
AAdvantage miles are insanely useful for redeeming on American Airlines’ oneworld and non-oneworld partners (Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, Cape Air, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Gulf Air, Hawaiian Airlines, Interjet, Jet Airways, Seaborne Airlines, and WestJet). Note: while you can redeem on all oneworld airlines, you can’t redeem on all AA non-oneworld partner airlines (some of those partners are available for earning miles only).
The best ways to collect AA miles include flying oneworld, credit cards, promotions, and transferring from SPG. Here are my favourite ways to redeem American Airlines miles.
Fly Etihad Airways First Class
Etihad Airways First Class is amazing – especially on the Airbus A380 – First Class features a private apartment. Other amenities include a bathroom with a shower, delicious catering, and a lounge. Etihad partners with American Airlines, meaning you can earn and redeem AA miles for travel on Etihad Airways.
You can fly Etihad’s A380 First Class between Abu Dhabi and New York JFK, London, Paris, Sydney, and some other seasonal destinations. It will cost you 100k American Airlines miles for First Class between the Middle East and Australia, or just 62.5k miles for First Class between Europe and Abu Dhabi.
Fly Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines to Asia
You can fly incredible airlines – Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines in First or Business Class to/within Asia. Cathay Pacific First Class to Asia Region 2 will cost 110k miles one-way or you could fly Business Class for 70k miles. If you want to visit Asia Region 1, you could fly Japan Airlines First Class for 80k miles one-way or Business Class for 60k miles. If travelling to Asia Region 2, you can transfer via Asia Region 1 (so you could fly to Singapore via Tokyo).
You can also use AA miles to fly partner airlines within Asia for just 20k-30k miles in Business Class one-way. That means you could fly from Tokyo to Beijing to Hong Kong to Bali all for 30k miles in Business Class – and you could even have layovers in each of those cities for up to 23 hours and 59 minutes if you wanted to.
Flying Within One Country
American Airlines offers cheap redemption options for both Economy and Business Class if flying within one country (where available):
- within 48 United States: 12.5k Economy or 25k First/Business one-way
- within Finland: 10k Economy one-way
- within Spain: 10k Economy or 15k Business one-way
- within the United Kingdom: 10k Economy or 15k Business one-way
- within Russia: 10k Economy or 17.5k Business one-way
- within Jordan: 7.5k Economy or 10k Business one-way
- within Argentina/Chile/Colombia/Peru: 6k Economy one-way
- within each of those countries, NOT between those countries
- within Ecuador: 5k Economy one-way
- within Brazil: 7.5k Economy or 17.5k Business one-way
These flights will be on American/Alaska Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, British Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, and LATAM within those countries.
Flying within South America on LATAM
LATAM – LAN and TAM put together are a oneworld member with several destination cities in South America, North America, and Europe. While you can use AA miles to fly on any LATAM flight, the real value is flying within South America. Travel between South American countries costs 10k-12.5k miles one-way in Economy Class or 20k-25k miles one-way in Business Class. When you consider how big the continent is, the value of these redemptions is incredible.
Fly to Fiji or French Polynesia
American Airlines partners with both Fiji Airways and Air Tahiti Nui, meaning you can redeem miles for travel to very exotic destinations where a normal cash ticket could cost thousands. You can fly from Asia or North America to Fiji or French Polynesia. Fiji Airways offers flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Nadi and Air Tahiti Nui offers flights from Los Angeles to Papeete.
It will cost you 40k miles one-way in Economy or 80k miles one-way in Business Class to the South Pacific region (Australia is also part of the South Pacific region). However, if you’re in Asia, you could fly for just 30k miles in Economy or 40k miles in Business one-way to the South Pacific – and you could even stop in Australia for a night if you wanted to (23h59m layover).
Fly American Airlines Off-Peak Economy to Europe
American Airlines offers flights in Economy to Europe for 30k miles one-way all year. However, there is a time during the year which is considered “off-peak” and flights during this time will cost just 22.5k miles one-way to Europe in Economy. This includes flights from any city in the 48 U.S. states. So you can fly Seattle to Los Angeles to London for 22.5k miles one-way in Economy off-peak.
Flying within the South Pacific
American Airlines defines the South Pacific as: Australia, Easter Island, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Palau, New Caledonia, Republic of Tonga, Republic of Vanuatu, American Samoa and Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.
You can fly between any of these countries for 15k miles in Economy or 30k in Business one-way. However, you can also fly within Fiji for just 5k miles in Economy Class or 10k in Business Class one-way, within Australia for 10k miles in Economy or 20k miles in Business Class one-way. These flights will be on Fiji Airways or Qantas Airways.
You can also fly between Australia and New Zealand for 15k miles one-way in Economy or 25k in Business Class.
There are an infinite number of ways to redeem American Airlines miles – and there are a TON of great ways to use them. For short-haul travel, they might even be similar to British Airways Avios in that you can redeem just a few miles for a short non-stop flight (in the case of AA, it doesn’t even have to be non-stop).
The examples above are my absolute favourite ways to redeem American Airlines miles. Remember to search for availability, you will have to use the British Airways website as AA.com does not display all oneworld airlines. To search for partner airline award space, you will likely have to visit the partner airline’s website and check availability at the Saver Level.