Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 3 – How Much Will My Award Cost?

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I’ve updated this post to reflect the new American Airlines award chart that went into effect on March 22, 2016.

Book American Airlines Awards Like a Pro:

2016-03-25_16-30-06

Find Out How Many American Airlines Miles You’ll Need for Your Award Ticket!

American Airlines has 4 different types of award rates, but most folks will use either the off-peak or the MileSAAver rate.

Types of Awards

1.   Off-Peak MileSAAver Awards.  These awards let you travel for less than the regular (MileSAAver) number of miles to certain destinations.  The catch is that you have to travel during “off” or low season.

Off-peak awards can be used with both the American Airlines Travel Award Chart (for travel only on American Airlines and American Eagle) and with the oneworld and Other Airline Award Chart.

Here are the off-peak award costs for all flights booked after March 22, 2016. 

DestinationTo Destination Off Peak PeriodFrom Destination Off Peak Period1-Way Off Peak Award (Miles Required in Coach)1-Way MileSAAver Award (Miles Required in Coach)1-Way Off Peak Savings (in Coach)
HawaiiDecember 29 to March 12, August 11 to November 18, November 24 to December 10 January 7 to March 19, August 18 to November 27, December 3 to December 2520,00022,5002,500
Caribbean, Mexico and Central America September 7 to November 14, April 27 to May 20September 7 to November 14, April 27 to May 2012,50015,0002,500
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Manaus (Brazil)January 16 to June 14, September 7 to November 14January 16 to June 14, September 7 to November 1417,50020,0002,500
Argentina, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and VenezuelaNo longer has off-peak pricingNo longer has off-peak pricingN/A30,000N/A
EuropeJanuary 10 to March 14, November 1 to December 14January 10 to March 14, November 1 to December 1422,50030,0007,500
Japan and South KoreaTo Japan: January 1 to April 30, July 1 to November 30

To Korea: January 1 to April 30, July 1 to November 30
From Japan: January 16 to April 19, May 2 to 31, September 1 to December 31

From Korea: January 16 - May 31, September 1 - December 31
32,50035,0002,500
China and Hong KongJanuary 1 to April 30, July 1 to September 30, October 11 to November 30February 1 to May 31, September 1 to 19, October 2 to December 3132,50035,0002,500

Key points about off-peak awards:

  • Off-peak awards are valid only in coach.
  • You can use off-peak awards on partner airlines.  This is great, because it opens up a lot more possibilities to get to your destination.
  • Off-peak awards can’t be used to fly within the US and Canada (except Hawaii).

Off-peak awards are still a good value because you’ll save miles when traveling to certain regions.  Europe has 3 and a half months of off-peak awards at 45,000 miles round trip! 

However, if there are no available off-peak award seats, the next level of awards in coach are not the regularly priced MileSAAver awards, but the more expensive AAnytime awards.

Before paying double price (AAnytime awards) for coach awards, you should always search for Business Class MileSAAver awards because they may be cheaper than a AAnytime award in coach.

2.   MileSAAver Awards.  These are regular priced awards, but are capacity controlled.  This means that it may be difficult to get awards during peak times and for more than 2 people.

MileSAAver awards can be used with both the American Airlines Travel Award Chart (for travel only on American Airlines and American Eagle) and with the oneworld and Other Airline Award Chart. 

However, if you’re flexible (can leave early or later, or stay overnight in a hub airport, or break up your large travel group), you should be able to find awards to your destination.  Just remember to check for available partner airline award seats as well (which I’ll cover in later posts in the series).

If you are traveling on a oneworld (like British Airways) or other partner airline (like Etihad), you have to book your award using either the off-peak or MileSAAver rate, and can’t use the AAnytime rate.  This means that there must be low-level award seats available on the partner airline in order to book it. 

Every airline has a different name for these low-level seats.  Etihad calls these low-level awards “GuestSeats”, while British Airways would show up as the MileSAAver price on AA.com. 

3.   AAnytime Awards.  These awards give you the most flexibility and if a seat is available on the flight, you can book it.  AAnytime awards can be used with ONLY the American Airlines Travel Award Chart (for travel only on American Airlines or American Eagle).

However, they cost significantly more than a regular MileSAAver Award. There are 2 types of AAnytime awards – Level 1 and Level 2.

The rules aren’t specific to show which award goes in which level, but generally awards booked in advance and during non-peak travel times (not during major holidays like Christmas and New Years) are Level 1, while seats that aren’t will be Level 2 awards.

For example, it costs 110,000 miles on a Level 1, 1-way AAnytime award to London in Business Class instead of 57,500 miles if you used a regular MileSAAver award.  If you book too close to departure or around a holiday and have to book the Level 2 rate, it’s even more expensive at 135,000 miles 1-way!

Talk About a Big Difference Between MileSAAver Awards and AAnytime Awards!

Talk About a Big Difference Between MileSAAver Awards and AAnytime Awards

Tip:  Before paying the AAnytime rate for a coach or Business Class award, check the MileSAAver availability for the next highest class of service (Business or First Class).

For example, before paying 65,000 miles for an AAnytime award to London in coach, check to see if there are MileSAAver (regular) awards for 57,500 miles in Business Class.

Often times, you will find a MileSAAver award in the next class of service which would cost the same (or less) amount of miles as the AAnytime award!

Note that AAnytime awards are ONLY for flights on American Airlines.  You can NOT book oneworld and other partner airlines at the AAnytime rate.

So if your flight involves partner airlines (say, British Airways from London to Dubai), you won’t be able to pay more miles and get last seat availability.

4.   American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards.  American Airlines AAdvantage credit card holders have access to reduced mileage awards (changes quarterly) which save you either 5,000 or 7,500 miles for round-trip flights within the US and Canada.  The exact amount varies based on which type of American Airlines card you have. 

  • Citi AAdvantage Gold Visa, Mastercard, & American Express and the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Blue:  20,000 miles (instead of 25,000 miles) in coach and 45,000 miles in Business Class (instead of 50,000 miles)
  • Citi Select Visa & MasterCard, Citi Platinum Select Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite, AAdvantage Aviator Red & AAdvantage Aviator Business 17,500 miles (instead of 25,000 miles) in coach and 42,500 miles in Business Class (instead of 50,000 miles)

However, the catch is that you have to call American Airlines Reservations (800-882-8880) to book this deal.  

The list changes monthly, and these awards must also be used on flights operated by American Airlines themselves.  This means that you can search for available award seats online at AA.com (which will show you American Airlines options) and then call to book the award.

January and February Sounds Like a Great Time to Get Away to Somewhere Warm, Like Austin, TX!

January and February Sounds Like a Great Time to Get Away to Somewhere Warmer, Like Austin, TX!

These awards are subject to the same capacity restrictions as MileSAAver awards.  In other words, if you find a MileSAAver award online to a destination on the quarterly reduced mileage award list, you can call American Airlines reservations, give them the award code from the Reduced Mile Award page, and book your award for fewer miles.

The reduced mile awards to Canada are an especially good deal since tickets to Canada can be quite expensive.

Tip:   Some folks have had success getting reduced mile awards even if they originate from a city on the reduced mileage list.  Technically, you should receive the discount only if your destination is a city on the reduced mileage list.  As always, it doesn’t hurt to see if you can get the lower price if you originate (or leave) from a city on the reduced mileage list.  However, some of our readers have said this may not work anymore.  

Award Fees

1.   Telephone Booking Fee.   American Airlines charges a $30 telephone booking fee for domestic award flights which includes the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Hawaii, and a $40 telephone booking fee for international flights, which are waived only for Executive Platinum members.  This fee does not apply to awards that can’t be booked online, such as oneworld partners Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.

However, if a flight can be booked online and you choose to book over the phone, such as a seat on British Airways, you will have to pay the $40 fee.  

2.  Close-In Ticketing Fee.  American Airlines charges a $75 fee if you book your ticket within 21 days.  This fee is waived for Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum members. 

3.  Cancellation / Redeposit Fee.  There is no fee to cancel your award, but you have to pay a $150 fee to have the miles redeposited into your account (waived only for Executive Platinum elites).  However, the fee is only $25 for additional awards after the 1st if you redeposit the miles at the same time.  Therefore, it may be worth it (if possible) to book award travel from the same account so that you pay lower fees if you cancel and redeposit the award.

4.  Taxes and Fees.  You will have to pay taxes and fees on your award ticket.  These fees are usually pretty reasonable, except if you travel on British Airways or travel to / from countries (think UK & France) with higher than usual fees.

Talk About a High Fuel Surcharge for a Flight in Coach!

Talk About a High Fuel Surcharge for a Flight in Coach!

American Airlines collects fuel surcharges when you use your American Airlines miles on British Airways flights (up to $900 per long haul flight segment), so stay away from redeeming for British Airways awards in coach.  However, there are often lots of award seats available on British Airways and there are often 4 seats in First or Business Class!

Next in the series will be:  Stopover, Openjaws, routing rules, & booking domestic and international awards.

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80 responses to “Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 3 – How Much Will My Award Cost?

  1. @ darius,

    Will I receive 1099 from CITI if i received 156k advantage miles from their citi aadvtange cards?
    Will I receive 1099 from AMEX if i received 100k in amex membership rewards point from their amex gold and premier rewards card?

    I have heared horror stories of people getting $1000 iRS taxable income letter for 50k miles .

  2. Are fuel surcharges on BA a recent development? I flew on BA to Germany/Russia 2 years ago, and my taxes & fees were very similar to AA metal flights (~$250 r.t. in business class).

  3. This is a great post. Thanks to you, I’m sitting on a whole lot of AA miles, and it’s nice to have someone else take me through the rules. I’m still confused about taking advantage of the domestic stopover rules on AA to add legs to my flights. Hope there’s a post on that coming soon 🙂
    I like your spreadsheets. Is there any way you can make your spreadsheets downloadable as spreadsheets, and not as a pdf. That would make it easier to keep them as reference, and add my own notes.

  4. Recently I was looking at a trip to South Africa and was having to pay a couple hundred dollars in fees for a frequent flyer ticket to London but when I split it to arriving in London and departing from Barcelona the fees dropped to less than a hundred dollars.

  5. Thank you Daraius!
    This series is very interesting and helpful. My wife and I have collected AA miles from the AA credit card sign-ups. (4 personal, 1 business).
    When you cover the stopover, if you have not picked your cities for that, could you use an example of using the AA miles/ Oneworld miles for Phoenix to London for a couple day stopover, then Barcelona. On the way back from Barcelona a stopover in Paris for a few days, then to Phoenix?
    Also, is there a 7,500 AA Citi reduced award if you book two one-way tickets vs. a round trip?
    Thanks again for all your great posts!

  6. Israel Husarsky

    I just used a bunch of AA miles for flight to Vancouver form NYC onCathay Pacific.

    The price on Expedia was $630 for coach round trip..

    AA miles were 25,000 for coach round trip

    50,000 miles for business class

    65,000 miles for First class.

    I did the first class! It is a great value for the for the amount of miles and gives me a great opportunity to fly first class which is something I have never done.

  7. Thanks much for this series of posts, Dairius.

    Would you check the title on the 4th column of your spreadsheet? Should it say “1-Way PEAK Miles”? I was a little confused as I read it.

    Thanks. Looking forward to the lesson on stopovers. 🙂

  8. I think you should have mentioned that the off peak awards are only for coach in the very first sentence since that is a killer for many of us. Nice article otherwise.

    Quick question regarding BA. Will it cost me more miles if I fly BWI-JFK-LHR as oppose to BWI-LHR? Obviously the product leaving NY has nicer seats in first than the 767 from BWI.

    Thanks

  9. Incredible series, Daraius! Well done, indeed.

  10. THANK YOU DARIAUS! EXCELLENT POSTS! I WILL BE APPLYING FOR THE BIZ INK BOLD THROUGH YOUR LINKS! YOU DESERVE SOME REWARD!

  11. Excellent Job! Is other airline program say UA/CO similar to AA in terms of award tickets? Hoped you will also talk about UA/CO program in the future…

  12. @ KD.

    My understanding is, You will receive the 1099’s only if you had received miles for a citi chk/savings acct. citi is not sending any 1099’s for the credit card side.

    • @kd – Dan’s correct. You’ll only get the 1099 if you opened a bank account (not credit card) with Citi and received miles. I wouldn’t worry much about getting a 1099 for your credit card sign up bonus.

      @Max – There have been fuel surcharges for quite some time on BA flights if you book them with AA miles (or BA miles for that matter).

      @Kay – I’ll post on stopovers soon and I’ll email you the spreadsheet!

      @Jason – The UK has a high departure tax so leaving Europe from Barcelona would avoid that.

      @Ken – Unfortunately, AA has a very restrictive stopover policy which allows stopovers only in the North American gateway city. You’d have to book your trip as 3 one way awards. Phoenix to London (1 award) London to Barcelona (2nd award or just buy the ticket) Barcelona to Phonix (3rd award).

      @Israel Husarsky – Hope you have a great flight!

      @jac – You’re right – it is a typo. Thanks for letting me know, and I’ll fix it!

      @Richard – It will cost you more miles because you will have to pay for the Baltimore – New York segment separately But that’s only an extra 4,500 Avios point per segment.

      @Darren
      – Thanks! It means a lot coming from you.

      @wackyguy
      – Thanks! Emily and I are very grateful!

      @Li – United and Continental are part of the Star Alliance so the options are quite different. United and Continental also have much better stopover policies. I’ll do a series on United and Continental later.

      @Dan – Thanks for helping out!

  13. Great Posting…getting so much info from your site…

    One quick question…how AA’s infant policy on rewards? I plan to take my 1 year old to Asia and when I input my kids as a lap child (under 2 years old), it is requiring the same reward miles as an adult.

    Has anybody have booked reward ticket with a child (lap child)?

  14. do I get 1099 if i sell points/miles to others using paypal and receive payment?
    will PAYPAL notify IRS of this payment i receive for miles/points sold?

  15. @Ken AA books it’s award flights as one way flights. First flight AA PHX to LHR.

    Then there are several discount airlines that fly from London to Barcelona. Try Easy Jet, sort of a low rent Southwest. Ticketed way in advance, that London Barcelona flight might be only $150 all in. Or less…

    For around $200 without a train pass, Barcelona to Paris by high speeed train is only about 8 hours. Then fly home on your mileage.

    The other option is to use your AA miles to fly on British Airlines from PHX to LHR, then stopover before continuing to Barcelona with BA. Train back to Paris. Then the second flight on BA is Paris to LHR, with or without a stopover in London, continuing BA to PHX non-stop. Or take the chunnel to London and go home from London on AA.

    BA PHX to LHR and back is easier to book in Bus and First than on AA. Only problem here is BA wants around $350 per person “fuel surcharge” on those trans-Atlantic flights. Each way ! :>{ So its a better deal in Bus/First than in coach, compared to just buying a ticket.

    Good Luck….

  16. Great post, Daraius, thank you very much! We currently have a OGG(Maui)-ORD-BRU ticket on AA metal, one way was 20k miles pp (Economy Saver award-incredible deal!!!!) using the gateway city concept you mentioned in one of your responses (several month layover in ORD in our case) and starting the trip at an off peak (to Europe) time from OGG (early April). Trouble is, it’s economy class. Subsequently, they’ve gotten rid of the direct ORD-BRU flight, making it OGG-ORD-JFK-BRU. My question is, how would an upgrade to First work on a First Saver award – shouldn’t it be 37.5k miles for the one way and each leg would be upgraded to First? I’ve called AA 5 times on this and I get 5 different answers each time (including it can’t be done), perhaps due to the additional legs AA added when they cancelled their nonstop ORD-BRU flight. Your insight is appreciated!

  17. @Sam
    Points/miles are not really your property, that you can sell. They are a feature of your contract with the company that issues them. Check that contract to determine if the issuer would transfer or reassign your points to another person.
    In case of AAdvantage program, I know you can do the following:
    1. You can reassign your miles to another person for a fee that’s about as high as buying points from AA. Thus it makes no sense.
    2. You can use your miles to buy a ticket for another person. If you then charge that person for the ticket, it may violate your contract with AA. So be careful how you arrange the transaction, or AA can cancel the ticket.

    • @Jack – If your infant is a lap child, you’ll have to 10% of the fare for that route. You also have to call in since you can’t do this online.

      @SAM – Max is spot on. I don’t recommend selling miles because that is against most airlines’ policy and could result in you losing all the miles in your account.

      @Robert Hanson – Thanks for helping out! AA limits you to less than a 24 hour stopover while traveling internationally, so it won’t be possible to fly from Phoenix to London on BA, stop for more than 24 hours and then go to Paris on an AA award ticket.

      @BothofUs2 – Perhaps I’m not following, but it is 62.5K miles each way to Europe. So you’d need to pay (62.5 – 20) or 42.5 to upgrade to First Saver seats if available. The upgrade should be valid in all segments, but some segments may not have 3 classes or may not have first class availability.

      @Max – Thanks for helping out!

  18. Daraius, you are correct, actually I should have indicated that we are just trying to upgrade to First on the OGG-ORD segment. My apologies for that miss. Perhaps thats where American has the issue; in other words you have to redeeem First points for each segment of your itinerary (not allowed to fly First for 1/2 the itin and coach the other half). I got the 37.5k number from the AA website when I searched OGG-ORD. Thanks for looking at this and your advice.

    • @BothofUs2 – If you have the flight booked all the way from OGG to BRU on 1 PNR, you have to pay miles to upgrade the entire journey. But you can always sit in coach or business class on some segments if there is no availability in first (but won’t get a refund for just those segments)

      @Rajesh
      – You can use the miles to get a ticket for someone else, but accepting money for that is against AA’s terms and conditions. As is selling the miles (besides exchanging on points.com). There are more details here: “At no time may AAdvantage mileage credit or award tickets be purchased, sold or bartered (including but not limited to transferring, gifting, or promising mileage credit or award tickets in exchange for support of a certain business, product, or charity and/or participation in an auction, sweepstakes, raffle, or contest). Any such mileage or tickets are void if transferred for cash or other consideration. Violators (including any passenger who uses a purchased or bartered award ticket) may be liable for damages and litigation costs, including American Airlines attorneys fees incurred in enforcing this rule.”

      I’ve heard of AA cancelling folks accounts and award reservations made for selling/trading miles. Sure, you may get away with it a few times, but you will eventually get caught.

  19. @Max, you are absolutely incorrect and wrong! Doesn’t know what he is talking about and just trying to sound smart!
    the points are what you earned and you can privately sell by transferring to another person’s account , use by urself, buy ticket for someone else and get paid by check, paypal or however you want to be paid.
    @ Dairius, you also don’t know what you are talking about!

  20. @Max, you are absolutely incorrect and wrong! You don’t know what you are talking about and just trying to sound smart!
    @ Sam,the points are what you earned and you can privately sell by transferring to another person’s account , use by urself, buy ticket for someone else and get paid by check, paypal or however you want to be paid.
    @ Dairius, you also don’t know what you are talking about!

  21. One way to get three international tickets to Europe is to get mile saver flights outbound for 3 tickets and 2 returns and later [if mile saver does not become available] paying AAnytime for the one return. That is what I had to do for this summer. I used 60K for one Alaska account, 60K from another alaska account for two round trips LAX – BRU in July and only could get the outbound for 30K on the same AA flight to Brussels with the family. I did not have the return, but was not worried, as soon as the AA credit card posted, I spent 60K for my return only, a total of 210K miles for 3 round trip coach flights [2.3 cents a mile]. But thanks to Daraius, I am definitely looking forward to going Business class for all in 2013! Also, I have found [on various airlines] that if you tell them you tried to get the ticket on line but it was not possible/working, the ticketing agent sometimes waives the $25 fee for calling in. Just my thoughts on D’s great article.

  22. Darious,

    you don’t make sense. there is no such thing as MILES for sale, any one can transfer the miles/points to another account. be it your own or someone else’s account and that is not any violation. ADVANTAGE MILES are always transferable , when you transfer miles, it doesn’t ask you if you are selling . you can transfer miles or points and can get paid by cash, check, money order , paypal or whatever that is. stop talking nonsense!

  23. @Daraius
    Thanks for including the link to the official program terms (about selling miles).
    I am also looking forward to the upcoming part of your article about the stopover rules. That’s been a confusing part of AAdvantage program for me.

  24. I absolutely LOVE the AA off peak awards. I feel that they have the most generous off peak chart compared to the other North American Legacy carriers by a long shot. I mean 40k r/t to Europe for pretty much every season except Summer?! That’s amazing!

    I also love the reduced mileage awards from their credit cards in North America, but I haven’t actually ever booked one. Saving them for whenever I can arrange enough time for a 16 stop RTW ticket in business.

    • @Marriott Marty – Thanks for sharing! Flexibility is the key to getting multiple awards on the same flight and sometimes you may have to pay double miles. You may want to see if you can get the return at the BusinessSAAver level of 50K (seats could open up) and you save 10K miles and get to fly in business class!

      @Rajesh – Yes, you can transfer miles to someone’s account or book an award for them. But when you take money for that it becomes a sale and goes against the terms I linked to above.

      @Max – I’ll post on stopovers next week!

      @Travel and Credit – Agreed. It is a very generous chart!

  25. I am trying to use AA miles to take a ticket from Brasil (GRU) to Las Vegas and all options I have in AA website is to use 30.000 or 60.000 miles + up
    to 775,00 USD.
    Can any one inform what dos the +up 775,00 USD means?
    Does it means that I have to use 30.000 miles and pay more 775,00 USD?

  26. hi, do you know when the next quarter’s list for Citi AA Reduced Mileage Awards will be published? i want to book a early April ticket, but do i have to wait till the last minute? will AA be able to tell me over the phone? thanks

  27. You’re so awesome! I bought a ticket to Israel and Jordan with the AA miles I got after reading your summer post, and I’ve more to spend. I’m thinking of taking advantage of the stopover rules to create this routing:

    ticket 1: EWR-LAX (Aug 31 – already have this ticket)

    ticket2: LAX-NYC (stopover)-LIM (return from LA on Sept 3, fly to Lima on February 16)

    ticket 3: LIM-NYC (return from Lima on February 18)

    Ticket 2 is the one I’m not sure about. If I’m reading the rules correctly, I can have a stopover in NYC from September to February. Since I’m flying in February, I’ll be able to take advantage of the lower Miles Saver Offpeak redemption. I want to fly on LAN, which has a direct overnight flight from New York to Lima, so I’ll need to call up AA, and pay them their $25 ticketing fee. Do I have it all right?

    • @Kay – Glad you’re enjoying your miles! Lima is in Peru so it is in the Central America/South America 1 zone and I didn’t see an off peak award. You should be able to book this by calling AA and paying the $25 ticketing fee.

  28. Planning a trip to Lima this summer. Originating at DFW, any tips or thoughts on getting a business milesaaver ticket? The go to route is with a stop in Miami but I would go another route if it was beneficial. Thanks!

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  38. My wife and I have AAdvantage Cards with 50000+ miles each and British Airways Viza with 50000+ miles each. How can I used the miles together to fly to Germany in December 2012. What is the best way to use these miles together?

  39. Not previously answered.

    My wife and I have AAdvantage Cards with 50000+ miles each and British Airways Viza with 50000+ miles each. How can I used the miles together to fly to Germany in December 2012. What is the best way to use these miles together?

    • @Ronny Horton – You could use AA miles to fly to Europe on either AA or their partners which includes BA. And you can use BA points to fly back to the US. It is 30K AA miles in coach and 50K for a 1 way business ticket. You will pay fuel surcharges if you use BA points to fly to Europe, so perhaps save the BA points for use later and use AA miles to Europe.

  40. Something I’ve come to find is that since AA signed their deal with BA if you want to go to Europe from the US and not get hosed with the LHR fees you’re screwed… You used to be able to book the saver awards for coach, business and even first and not go through LHR but since they’ve partnered with BA they pulled all those flights (no matter what time) to the full fare. That make a HUGE difference – before my wife and I could fly business class to Milan for 200k points and about $75 total in taxes. Now that exact same trip but going through LHR using 200k miles costs over $1300 just in taxes!!! Do you know of any way to avoid this?? I’ve even looked into CDG and it’s all LHR transfers. I knew it had to be too good to be true when they announced the partnership and now I know why – they are trying to scam Americans out of about $500/person given directly to LHR – what a joke…

  41. Well after I looked around for a while I found out that it’s not an LHR thing is a BA thing… BA charges the crap out of you for the fuel no matter if you’re paying or using miles – what a waste… Also, it turns out that my previous thought is true – AA sold their soul to the devil when it comes to European award travel and now the only way to get there using saver awards is on the penny-pinching, fee-sucking British Airways. To call me disgusted would be an understatement. The 200k miles I’ve accululated just lost over a $1000 in value. Thanks a lot AA and BA (mostly BA). And the Brits think the US is bad about hiding their fees…

  42. what about booking europe award (non saver) non lhr 6ok and then upgrade to first class 62.5k award if seat is available? am gold…would aa do that on the day of flight?

  43. I know that you can book AA Award travel starting 331 days prior to the date of travel. What time does AA put these online? Is it 12:01 am or some other time? Also which time zone is this based on? Thanks much for your great site!

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  45. American User

    America can issue seats anytime after midnight Central Time. Rarley at 12:01am central time. It can take up to 6am CST for it to occur. Wish the would just a pick a time and stick to it!

  46. hi, thank first
    I have a question about this situation.
    2. Close-in ticketing fee. American Airlines charges a $75 fee if you book your ticket within 21 days. This fee is waived for Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum members. You may be able to avoid paying this fee by booking an award outside of the 21 day window and then calling to change the award to a date within 21 days.
    Do you have any suggestion to avoid this fees? since the CS told me it’s unavoidable if it within 21 days.

  47. have done that frequently….before i became gold.

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  49. Booked an award ticket in July of 2012 to fly one way to London via AA in coach. Noticed exit row seats are available at an $89 fee or MCE for $118. Called award reservations and spoke to two different agents to pay the upgrade for exit row and was told I couldn’t because I was using award tickets. Is this correct or am I getting some inexperienced agents?

  50. Trying to book a trip on AA. Ord to Europe off peak, and use gateway Ord to hnl during high season because daughter turns 2 during aug off peak. is this possible without second flight being converted to 60k miles versus 20k off peak.?

  51. Hi Darius. Is the Anytime award price offset by the “benefits?”.
    “When you travel using an AAnytime Award, you’ll also receive additional travel benefits including two free checked bags, complimentary access to Preferred Seats and Priority Access privileges, which include expedited check-in, exclusive security screening lanes (where available) and priority boarding.”

  52. Pingback: 10 Ways to Use 50,000 Alaska Airlines Miles! | Million Mile Secrets

  53. Darius,
    are the fees on aa trips to europe always around $300-350 per ticket?
    I’m trying to plan august 2014 travel and have points but looks like best i can do is 60k rt points plus 350$
    Can I do better – should I try another airline???
    Any thoughts on this.
    And Merry XMAS to you

  54. Great Info! I’m planning an open jaw award between SFO to Asia on Cathay and/or JAL. What are the pros and cons of booking 2 one way awards versus booking one open jaw award?

    • @gil – Happy New Year! It is $300+ only if you travel on British Airways. Try flying on Iberia, Air Berlin or American Airlines to see lower fuel surcharges.

      @Ray – You can’t book an open jaw with AA miles in one award. You have to break them up into 2 1-way awards which can end up replicating an open jaw itinerary. The cons of 2 1-way awards is that you pay more change fees if you decide to cancel.

  55. I am booking a flight for my brother and his family of (4 total) from DFW to SGN. However there is always a layover in NRT. I wanted to fly all of them 1st class with milesAAver (135,000 RT/PP). However each time I called reservations they only had 2 milesAAver seats (16 first class seats on the plane). I was told to book 2 tickets with milesAAver and cross my fingers and call back daily to check if any milesAAver seats become available, well nearly 4 weeks later (calling daily) still NOTHING is available, they only have AAnytime seats available (290,000 RT/PP) or seats for purchase.

    Is there any way around this? Even if I purchase 2 AAnytime seats (more than double milesAAver) they would not be able to sit together on the shorter flight NRT to SGN (although I am paying more than double miles, with the AAnytime, the two would have to sit coach).

    This is so frustrating. I may have to eventually cancel this flight (get a refund minus the fees) and just purchase 4 coach tickets out of pocket (4x$1,300) v 850,000 miles used (folks, we get 1 mile per dollar -_-)

    • @Mimi – Can you get 2 business class or coach seats on the same flight? You could book those and then upgrade once the seats open up. You can set ExpertFlyer seat alerts to let you know when a seat opens up.

  56. My wife, baby girl and I are planning to travel to Fortaleza, Brazil this summer. I cannot go until June 5 at the earliest. My wife and baby can go in May. I do know that peak time starts June 1 in Brazil. Can you give me advise on how to get the most I can from using miles? Which ones would I use, the MileSAAver Off-peak, the MileSAAver Peak, or the AAnytime miles?

  57. Does anyone have the number for Cathy pacific at American Airlines? I would liek to book something in the next 12 months CLT to BKK in the 100,000 to 135,000k RT range…

    .

  58. I have been looking at booking a trip from COS to SJO. For the lowest # of miles each way (17500) there are always two stops when there is a one stop route through DFW. How is it to American’s advantage to have me take three flights when I get there one two?

    Is it just to force me to spend more miles?

  59. Thank you Daraius!

    I currently live in Charlotte, but expect to be moving to Chicago by the end of the summer. I have a wedding to attend in Honolulu in September. If I book my flight now using AA miles, will I have the ability to change departure location in case my move to Chicago does not work out? I have about 115k AA Miles, with 100,000 being from my Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard

  60. Greetings!
    My wife has an AA Advantage account, presently at 147,700 miles.
    We would like to fly LAX to Milan sometime in September-early October, round trip.
    You explain things thoroughly, I know. Still, artist that I am, all the acronyms and data defeat me.
    Any OneWorld airlines we can choose??
    thanks for any light you can shed here…

  61. Thanks for the updated, convenient charts, particularly for off-peak pricing, which to me is one of the more significant of the changes that were made. I did pick up a Caribbean flight at the new lower level, so though the changes are mostly bad, there are some silver linings.

  62. Hello Darius,

    Thank you for all the tips. The Citi AAdvantage cards have a 24-month waiting period to receive the sign up bonus. Any tips on getting around it? Are business cards grouped together?

    Thanks