Using American Airlines AAdvantage Miles to Travel for Less

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It’s no secret that we’re fans of American Airlines. AAdvantage miles can be quite valuable and there are plenty of ways to make use of them. Here’s a small sampling of where you can fly with them.

American lags behind other airlines in that most partner awards are not searchable on its website. The only partners (besides its own availability) that can be booked online at are:

  • airberlin
  • Alaska Air
  • British Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hawaiian
  • Qantas
  • Royal Jordanian

For other partners like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN etc, we use British Airway’s site – – to do all our searches; we then call American with those flights numbers to book. Remind the agent that fees for partners not bookable online are waived should they try to charge you a fee.


Following in the footsteps of British Airways Avios, American has improved the cost to flights for distances less that 500 miles. It costs 7,500 miles for Main Cabin (economy) instead of the 12,500 it did in the past.


Flights to Europe

Off-peak MilesSAAver awards to Europe can provide a good deal. From January 10 to March 14 and November 1 to December 14, Main Cabin SAAver awards cost 22,500 one way. It is normally 30,000 for the regular SAAver award.

We avoid British Airways flights for coach redemption as the fuel surcharge will make it a bad deal.

Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, and South America

Destinations south of the US are well represented in American’s coverage.  Main Cabin prices cost 12,500 – 17,500 points each way. For Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America off peak dates are from September 7 through November 14, and April 27 through May 20 — prices drop to 12,500 miles each way. Off peak for South America is January 16 through June 14, and September 7 through November 14. Region 1 South American countries (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Manaus (Brazil)) during that time costs 17,500 miles.

Check out other discounted dates and regions on AA’s award chart.


Redemptions with OneWorld partners are also very enticing as some of their partners offer fantastic products.

Japan Airlines to Japan

For 35,000 miles, economy on Japan Airlines to Japan is nice deal. With 34” of seat pitch it’ll feel like economy plus so you’re getting more room for your mileage.  It’s 60,000 miles in business and only 20,000 more for a First suite.

You can easily search for award space on; call AAdvantage to book.


Cathay Pacific to Asia

We love Cathay Pacific’s product. It’ll run 37,500 miles in Economy, 70,000 in Business, and 110,000 in First. Find availability on and call AAdvantage to book.


Intra Australia

Intra Australia actually includes flights between Australia and New Zealand. It’ll cost 15,000 and 25,000 miles each way in economy and business, respectively. These are bookable on


Consult AA’s award chart for partners for more information.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are plenty of other ways to take advantage of AAdvantage miles.

Pad your miles with these credit card products and you’ll be flying for less (or free!) in no time:

Citi / AAdvantagePlatinum Select World Elite MasterCard

  • Earn: 2x for every dollar on eligible AA purchases; 1x on all other purchases
  • Earn 10% of redeemed AA miles back
  • Group 1 boarding
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

  • Earn: 2x for every dollar on eligible AA purchases; 1x on all other purchases
  • Admirals Club membership
  • VIP enhanced airport experience
  • Priority boarding
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®Application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $450 annual fee


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Comments (5)

  • Karol Gajda 6 years ago Reply

    Unfortunately, the fees — particularly if booking short haul — when booking on make AA miles not worth it in many situations. If the ticket normally costs anywhere under $500 or so I would just pay cash, gather more miles, and use my miles on a more expensive flight.

  • LostInAwardTranslation 6 years ago Reply

    I’m having problems using to find award space on JAL flights to Narita from LAX. How exactly do you find award space on JAL using the website?

    Step 1 is what? What do I click on? Do I have to create a account even though I only have an AAdvantage account?

    All of the search results on are confined to either BA or AA and try to route me through LHR instead of a direct flight from LAX to NRT. How do you do this?

    The Flight Deal 6 years ago Reply

    @LostinAwardTranslation –

    1) go to, create an account. it’s free
    2) login with that new account
    3) go to Executive Club -> Spending Avios -> Reward Flights. You will see an option to “Book a Reward Flight”. Click on that to search for award availability.
    4) JAL flies the following routes:

    NRT <-> JFK / LAX / BOS / ORD / SAN / DFW / HNL
    HND <-> SFO
    KIX <-> LAX

    Let us know if you have any further questions.

  • Aspiring Elite Status 6 years ago Reply

    I received a ridiculously awesome deal on an AAdvantage miles flight recently.

    One way, DCA -> ASE (Aspen) 12.5k AAdvantage Miles (1.5 hour layover @ORD). Purchasing the same flight would have been $462!!

    I’m always trying to juice the most value from my miles!

  • Disgruntled AA Miles Member 6 years ago Reply

    Ugh, they’ve really downgraded the flights to Europe.

    For the last few years I was using AA miles to travel to Europe for 20K one way, as long as you flew before May 15 (after May 15 it went up to 30K). Now they not only increased the 20K to 22.5K, they’ve vastly decreased the times you can use them. It used to be 30K one way to Europe between May 15 to Oct 15, for summer travel, then 20K the rest of the year (except for probably a holiday blackout period).

    The lower mileage only through Jan 10 to March 14 and Nov 1 – Dec 15, is terrible.

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