Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 5 – American Airlines, Alaska Airlines & Hawaiian Airlines for North American awards

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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:

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Travel Within the US, Including Hawaii and Alaska, With Your American Airlines Miles

American Airlines Awards

Booking travel within North America using American Airlines miles is very easy to do (if there are award seats available) and can be completed on AA.com

According to American Airlines, North America refers to the US (including Hawaii and Alaska), Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.  That said, award prices are different depending on where in North America you’re traveling!

For flights within North America, you can use your American Airlines miles for award flights on:

  • American Airlines (including American Eagle)
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines (EXCEPT between Hawaii and US Mainland)
  • Cathay Pacific from New York (JFK) to Vancouver, and LAN & TAM from New York (JFK) to Toronto

You can search for award seats on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines on AA.com as well as put the tickets on hold.

You can hold your award for 5 days if booked between 330 and 15 days prior to departure, 1 day if booked within 14 days of departure, and for 2 hours if booked within 24 hours of departure.  There is NO charge for holding an award.

General Rules

  • You can book a maximum of 4 one-way awards on a single ticket
  • The award booking window opens 330 days prior to the flight’s departure
  • Changes to award tickets (both MileSAAver & AAnytime) are free as long as the origin and destination remain the same
  • $150 fee to cancel and redeposit the miles into your account ($25 for additional tickets from the same account) waived only for top tier Executive Platinum members
  • All travel must be completed within 1 year (365 days) of making the booking
  • No stopovers are allowed 
  • You have to connect to another flight within 4 hours (regardless of available award seats) unless the next scheduled flight is more than 4 hours away (but less than 24 hours)
  • Even though you can no longer book award seats between Hawaii and the mainland US on Hawaiian Airlines, you can still book inter-island flights on Hawaiian Airlines on AA.com.  We will go into more details later.

Booking Awards on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines 

Booking awards on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines within North America is extremely easy to do online at AA.com.

That’s because American Airlines has the best online booking tool for domestic awards which will let you:

  • See available award seats for both low level (MileSAAver) and high-level (AAnytime) awards
  • Show you a 30-day calendar view of available award seats at a time
  • Sort availability by class of service

You don’t even need to be an AAdvantage member to see available award seats!

Award Booking Tips for Domestic Awards

1.   Book Early.   I’ve noticed that there are the most available award seats once the schedule is loaded 330 days from the day of departure.  Of course, airlines continually add or remove award seats, but if you know that you visit Florida every year during the 3rd week of August, it is probably best to book your seats earlier rather than later.

This is especially the case for those wanting to travel between the US and Hawaii, both in coach and First Class.  

Note:   These screenshots were taken before the changes in American Airlines’ award chart took effect March 22, 2016, so award prices may be different.

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Looking Only a Month in Advance, There are No Award Seats Available From New York to Hawaii in Coach at the Saver Level

There does however seem to be a trend of more award seats being available from the West Coast, especially from Seattle and Los Angeles.

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Plenty of Seats in Coach Available from San Francisco to Honolulu Only a Month in Advance

2.  Be Flexible.  It will be very hard to get your family of 4 on the same flight unless you are flexible or book early.  And even then it may not be possible.

Try to break up your family of 4 into say, 1 adult & 1 child and look for separate flights to and from your destination.  Or look for flexibility around your travel dates.  Or try to get 2 First Class and 2 coach seats on the same flight.  Or choose a destination based on available award seats.

3.  Consider Business Class SAAver awards.  Before spending nearly twice the amount of miles for a coach AAnytime seat (which guarantees you can have any seat available for sale), look for Business Class SAAver awards.  Very often there are Business Class seats available for the same price or less than coach awards!

4.  Dummy Searches.  Do dummy searches using the American Airlines award tool to see available award seats.  It is just like searching for a flight and you’ll see what your options are.  You’ll also get more familiar with the tool which will help you as you book more awards.

5.  Be Patient.  Booking awards can be very frustrating.  But if you’re patient and flexible, you’ll usually get the award you’re looking for.

6.  One Seat at a Time.  Instead of searching for 4 seats, start by searching for 1 seat and increase the number of seats with each search.  You’ll get a better sense of how many tickets are available.

Using American Airlines Award Booking Tool for American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines 

Here are a few screenshots to help get started with searches on AA.com.  Remember, you can follow these same steps for booking awards on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines (except flights from Hawaii to Mainland US). 

Step 1

Go to AA.com.

Step 2

Enter in your flight information and select “Redeem Miles.

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Search for Award Seats on AA.com

You can see available award seats in 30 day blocks and can search for award seats based on MileSAAver (regular) or AAnytime (double-priced) awards.

2016-04-11_09-31-19

You Can View Available Award Seats in 30 Day Increments

Hawaiian Airlines Award Bookings 

You can use your American Airlines miles for flights to Hawaii, which can include an American Airlines flight to a main island followed by a Hawaiian Airlines flight to a neighbor island that American Airlines doesn’t serve.

Hawaiian Airlines Serves Several Destinations that American Airlines Doesn't

Hawaiian Airlines Serves Several Destinations That American Airlines Doesn’t

Search for inter-island flights on AA.com as you would any other North American route.  These could include:  

  • Hilo (Big Island)
  • Kahului (Maui)
  • Kailua-Kona (Big Island)
  • Lanai
  • Lihue (Kauai)
  • Molokai

Flights between the mainland US and Hawaii are priced at 40,000 miles round-trip during off-peak times, and 45,000 miles round-trip at the MileSAAver level.  However, flights that include 1 of the destinations above that only Hawaiian Airlines serves cost an additional 7,500 American Airlines miles each way, for a total of 55,000 miles for a round-trip, off-peak flight. 

For example, a round-trip award flight booked between Los Angeles and Lanai would include:

  • American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu
  • Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to Lanai
  • Hawaiian Airlines flight from Lanai to Honolulu
  • American Airlines flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles

Hawaiian Airlines Flights to Asia

While you can no longer use American Airlines miles to fly Hawaiian Airlines between Hawaii and the mainland US, you can use American Airlines miles to fly between Hawaii and Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.

You can redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on Hawaiian Airlines flights between Hawaii and:

Note:  If your trip begins in the mainland US, this award booking would require 2 one-way flights (not a 1-way with a free stopover).  I would NOT recommend this as it is much more expensive booking this way. However, if you live in Hawaii, this would be a round-trip flight from Honolulu to your destination. 

Currently, Hawaiian Airlines serves the following destinations in Asia, the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand:

  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Beijing, China
  • Osaka, Japan
  • Papeete, Tahiti
  • Pago Pago, American Samoa
  • Sapporo, Japan
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tokyo, Japan (HND)

This is great news for American Airlines travelers in Hawaii.  Because you can take a flight directly from Hawaii to these destinations.  This would be the same price as if you connected through a city in the mainland US such as Los Angeles. 

Bottom Line

By using AA.com, you can book award flights using American Airlines miles on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines to many locations in North America, the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. 

However, you can NOT use American Airlines miles to book Hawaiian Airlines award flights between the mainland US and Hawaii.  

Hawaii, here I come!

Next in the series will be:  booking international awards.

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144 responses to “Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 5 – American Airlines, Alaska Airlines & Hawaiian Airlines for North American awards

  1. Can i use my advantage miles?/How to book 2 one way fares from ORD to LGA, 2 days stay in NY and then from LGA to buffalo NY, ( car rental? one week stay in canada and then one way flight from Canada to ORD? all of them have to do saperate miles redemption?
    thanks

  2. Great step by step post…keep up the good work!

  3. Quick question – do you use additional points to go from Kansas to LAX or you just use a total of 37.5k to go from Kansas to HNL but on two different bookings that are combined into one?

  4. Thanks for all the detailed instructions. I just applied for the Citi AA Visa and American Express cards for a total of 100,000 miles ( Instantly approved for both) and I am new the American Airlines and their award booking tools. I have been reading all of your posts and they are very informative. I live close to the Columbia, SC airport which is not a huge airport. Looking forward to trying out AA!

  5. @Anjum: I was just about to ask that 🙂 I’d need to go from DEN to the HI departing city so I’d need to do an entire route on AA metal or AA to LAX (for example) and then Hawaiian Air to HNL.

    • @robin – You’d have to book ORD to LGA as 1 award, LGA to buffalo as the 2nd award (because AA doesn’t allow stopovers on domestic awards), and the flight from Canada to ORD as the 3rd award.

      @Randy & @Kathy – Glad you found it useful!

      @Anjum & @Ken – AA will let me put up to 4 separate segments ( I can mix & match different airlines) on one 1-way award. So I pay 37.5K in total to go from Kansas City to Hawaii in total. I’ve updated the post to make that clearer!

  6. That’s awesome, thanks Daraius!

  7. Thanks for the clarification! This is great to know! Another question – the whole reason you booked it as two separate segments was b/c there was no availability on AA from Kansas to HNL, right?

    I recently needed to book a flight from Austin to Honolulu. I spent quite some time figuring out the best way to do it and ended using Avios points to book from LAX to HNL for 12.5k (the same leg booking on AA was 17.5k!) and then purchased (is that a faux-pas?!) a one-way ticket from AUS to LAX on Southwest (only $100, so worth it). What I love is that you get the exact same flight on AA for fewer points (sometimes) when you book on BA versus AA. I flew business class to Brazil from DFW last year using Avios points and ended up spending 5k miles less than if I had booked on AA. Now that I know about Hawaiian Air, I’ll keep my eye out for that, too!

    Thanks, again!

  8. Great to know! I have been using aa.com to search for segments, then BA to book for cheaper recently. Knowing Hawaiian can be thrown in the mix is great!

  9. How about information regarding booking AA flights in N America using miles or points from partners? It’s pretty straight forward using AA miles to book on partners but not as straight forward on the ins and outs of using partner miles to book on AA.

    • @Ken – You’re welcome!

      @Anjum – Correct. There was no availability from Kansas City to Hawaii on AA, so I got to a Hawaiian Airline gateway city on AA and then flew on Hawaiian Airlines. It is actually 3 segments – Kansas City to Chicago, Chicago to LA & LA to Hawaii. I like Avios for the same reason – that many flights cost less than what it would cost using AA miles. Hawaiian Air is NOT a British Air partner so you won’t be able to use Avios for Hawaiian Air flights.

      @Pat O – You can’t book Hawaiian Air flights with BA miles because they are not a partner airline for British Airways.

      @Brant – I’ll be writing a series on using BA Avios miles soon. Was there any other partner you had in mind?

  10. Great Post! Question: Why don’t we buy round trip? Or it is better to buy two one-way award tickets?

  11. Daraius: Any reason you didn’t fly on AA metal on all 3 segment examples to HNL? Does Hawaiian Air have a better product than AA?

  12. Daraius,

    Since one can use AA miles on Hawaiian do you know if the opposite is true? Can I use my Hawaiian miles to book a flight on American? I would love to redeem some Hawaiian miles for an international flight.

  13. @Ken
    I guess he is only showcasing one can also try looking for Hawaii Award ticket in case you can not find low AA award ticket to Hawaii.

  14. If I am flying from a Hawaiian gateway city (LAX) to honolulu by using Hawaiian super saver miles, is it necessary for me to use AA supersaver award to travel from my hometown to the Hawaiian gateway city? Or can I use AAnytime awards to get to the gateway city? I am asking because it is easier to find AAnytime award availability. Thanks.

  15. thnx Daraius for this post. i completely forgot….duh that Hawaiian is part of OneWorld. they are also part of star alliance. are they the only airline that is a part of both?

    also Hawaiian has non stops to Maui from San Jose (SJC) now as well. new service.

  16. FYI… if you have Alaska Airline miles and want to use them on American… it’s sometimes LESS miles if you go thru their website. I’m flying DFW-BTR in 2 weeks. On AA.com it would cost me 37k AAdvantage miles, however for the same flights… if I use my Alaska Air miles it will only cost me 25k. thought i would just point it out to some of the readers.

    • @Li – AA only books 1-way awards and I was using that as an example. You’d just book another 1-way award for your return flight.

      @Ken – No availability on AA, so I tried Hawaiian.

      @Scott – Unfortunately, not. Here’s a list of Hawaiian Air’s partners.

      @Li – You got it!

      @Sara – If you are using an AAnytime award, you can get availability on AA to Hawaii because you are paying double miles. You wouldn’t need to fly Hawaiian Air!

      @mike
      – Hawaiian isn’t part of either alliance, but they do have partnerships with certain airlines in both alliances. Nice to know about the service to San Jose.

  17. Thank you so much for your detailed instructions!! I especially like when you repeat important details several times throughout your post…you’re a great teacher! 🙂

  18. Interesting. I booked the whole thing online last year from RDU-ORD-LAX-HNL – round trip for 75,000 in first. I know it was one too many flights, but I love the lounges. 🙂 Hope you have a fantastic trip! While still an American flight to HNL, the menu was actually fantastic. They advertised Sam Choy as a gimmick I thought, but the food was some of the best ‘domestic’ I’ve had.

    Cecil (from Winterhaven the weekend you stayed at Z South Beach).

  19. Sweet post – just in time for booking my flights to Maui this coming August.
    Quick question though: there are no direct flights (SFO-OGG) for the dates I’m traveling, only SFO-(HNL)-OGG. The AA agent I spoke to said that to book the flight connecting through HNL, I’ll have to book a separate intra-island flight for 5000 miles, while the SFO-HNL can be booked using 17500 miles. Is that correct? Or is she wrong?

    Thanks in advance.

  20. Per flyertalk thread, it states that inter-island flights are not included. So I think she was correct.

    • @Houstonmama – Glad you found it helpful!

      @cecil
      – I’m not actually going to Hawaii (I wish I were, though!). I just made a dummy booking for the post!

      @BBL– She’s correct – the inter island flights cost extra.

  21. Is it true that you can’t combine MileSAAver and AAnytime awards on one award ticket?

  22. Once the agent puts the itinerary on hold, can you use AA.com to pay and ticket it and thus avoid the $25 booking fee if you were to call back to ticket?

    • @Churnity – I’m not sure I understand the question. If you pay the AAnytime rate you have access to the last seat on the plane so you wouldn’t need to combine the MileSAAver rate. However, you wouldn’t have access to the last seat on partner airlines.

      @M – Unfortunately not. But it does work with Delta!

  23. You CAN fly OAK-OGG with American points on Alaska Airlines non stop. I will be on this route March 2.

  24. Million Mike Secrets,
    My Citi AA Visa/Amex comes up for renewal next month. I called to cancel and they offered retention bonus of $85 statement credit for making 5 purchases within the next 3 months. So, I kept the cards. Then, it got me thinking on my first Citi AA churn later this year (18 months). If I have the existing cards, will they still issue me another Citi AA card with the current bonus (now at 50k)? Should I close the cards now, wait a few months?

  25. @MMS
    to clarify, flights on Hawaiian air are considered MileSAAver awards. When I tried to combine another segment, which was an AAnytime award seat, the agent told me mixing AAnytime and MileSAAver on one award ticket is not allowed.

  26. Hi Again Darius!!

    Because of your advice!! We were able to get 100K miles through AA Citi visa and amex!! Correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve read all your part 5 series and I just want to make sure hubby and I make use of our miles smartly.

    Our trip is fairly simple and hoping to accomplish it either Nov or Jan 2013
    Fly from IAD – NAP stay in NAP and do an open jaw since last stop will be Rome and fly back to IAD. So you mean I buy 2 award ticket for each of us? second can I do I dummy search on AA website cause the way I understand your posts I can’t search for international flights and will have to do it with their partner airline but I want to check on availability. Hope to get some advice from you on this! hate to make a mistake on our first “free” trip! Thanks so much!!

    • @Dave Op – They may issue you the new cards if your credit exposure to them is not too high. You could always cancel the cards after the $85 credit posts to your account.

      @Churnity – That’s correct to the best of my knowledge.

      @carmen – There’s more to the series coming up mainly focusing on international awards. If you are willing to pay fuel surcharges and fly in Business or First Class, you could fly British Airways from many US cities to London and connect to Naples. Or connect in Spain via Iberia. For the return, you could either fly from Rome back to the US direct on AA or connect in London through British Airways or in Spain through Iberia. However, you can’t search for partner availability online as yet, so you have to call American Airlines to check those routes. I’ll be writing how to check BA award availability next week. But you can also call AA and specifically ask them to search for BA or Iberia flights on certain routes. There are rumors that BA awards will be on aa.com as soon as March!

  27. Hi,

    it is good to know that AA does not charge for changing award tickets. could you write about different airlines’ policy regarding changing reward tickets? a chart will be helpful.. thanks.

  28. I am trying to fly hnl-ord and there is no availability on aa.com for the date I want. I found a super saver award on Hawaiian air from hnl-las. I also found a milesaaver award on aa.com from las-ord to get back home. The problem is the flight to ord departs 6 hours after the first one arrives. Am I correct to think this won’t work because of the 4 hour limitation? There is an aanytime award available within the 4 hour window but not a milesaaver award.

    • @allen – There are no change fees for date and time changes, but they *are* fees for changes to the origin/destination.

      @Sarah – I believe it won’t work b/c of the 4 hour connection time. But you can always call and try. AA agents can generally match Hawaiian super saver in business class, but I’ve had issues with getting them to match the super saver awards in coach. Good luck!

  29. I took advantage of the 2 AA credit card offer, finally got my miles and the milesaaver awards for the flights I have been looking for have just been sold out! Do I have any options?

    Thanks again for this blog, it is more helpful than you know!

  30. Thanks! I am really flexible, it looks like all of the outbound flight for Brazil in the month of May are full miles! Getting back on milesaaver is not problem, odd. I believe AA is the only one I can use to get down there but I will be taking your advice and using a partner airline (GOL) while down there to spend less than 24 hours in one city.

  31. Thanks Daraius! LAN only flies to the western coast of Brazil, so maybe I should go to Peru and see the ruins.

    Right now I have an open jaw European trip on hold (into Milan and out from Zurich), not sure if I can afford the high expense of Europe! Trying to stay around $1,000 (boy am I finding this challenging).

    Do you have any suggestions for the budget travel wanting to spend 40,000 miles in May. Looking for a trekking/hiking/high adventure trip, not really interested in big cities.

  32. I am looking for 4 saver awards from JFK to HNL. There is availability on Hawaiian’s website for the 4 seats at the mileage saver rate (20,000 miles), but when I called to book it, the American agent said there was only 1 seat available. Is it possible that Hawaiian doesn’t release all of it’s seats to American to book? Or did I just get an uninformed agent?

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  39. I read this post back in early March and decided to give it a try. I found a super saver award from OGG to LAS on HA and a super saver from LAS to ORD on AA. I called AA to book the flight and everything was great (22,500 miles redeemed). Now I have checked my reservation again and the HA flight has been changed. It is now arriving at LAS 6 hours later which is obviously to late to catch my flight to Chicago. I am really new to all of this and haven’t even flown much. Was nobody at either airlines going to contact me? Both flights were under one reservation. Who should I contact? AA or HA?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • @Darren – Since you booked the flight using AA miles you should call American Airlines. I’d search for other award flights which meet your needs so that you’re prepared when you call and ask them to change the flights. If there are no flights which work, you should be able to ask them to cancel and redeposit the miles into your account and waive the usual $150 fee. Unfortunately, airlines aren’t very proactive about monitoring your schedule.

  40. Yesterday, I checked flights one-way from PHL-ORD on Aug 3rd and it was 12.5k, today I went back on to purchase and it’s up to 25K. Once flights go up to 25k do they ever come back down to 12.5k or is that it?

    Thanks!

    • @Jasmine – The prices keep on fluctuating, but it may not change until a few days before departure (if at all). That’s why you should always put your flights on hold. If is free to put them on hold and gives you more time to make your decision.

  41. AA is very generous with a schedule changes. Agents will accomodate most changes with flights that have open seats. They are usually not bound by award availability once a schedule change has occurred by aa or their partners. You might even get all AA metal, which isn’t too bad out of ORD and DFW.

  42. I am taking a cruise that ends in HNL in September. I need to fly from HNL to DFW but there are no non-stops available using my miles. Is it possible to use my AA miles to take a early morning flight from HNL to LAX on HA and then take another flight a couple hours later to DFW via AA? I want to fly business class on all of the flights so I saw that it would be 40,000 miles for HA which is fine. But would I have to use more AA miles to fly from LAX to DFW?

    • @Robin – As long as your flight from LAX to DFW is not more than 4 hours apart (or overnight) you will be able to combine 1 segment on Hawaiian Air and the other segment on AA for the same amount of miles as a Hawaii- US award. We’re just using HA to see award availability, but will have to pay the miles charged by AA which is 37.5K 1 way regardless of a HNL-LAX routing or HNL-LAX-DFW routing. However, you’ll have to pay $25 to call in and make the booking.

  43. Stephanie Caprino

    I just booked two roundtrip flights from SJC to OGG (Maui) using my American miles. The flights ended up being direct on Hawaiian Air. We are not able to book seats until we check in for our flight is what the American agent told me. I’m afraid we will end up split up in middle seats…any information on this. Will Hawaiian book my seats if I call them? I’m flying there for my wedding…I’d really love to sit with my fiance!

  44. Hi there,

    I just used my miles to book a round trip from LAS to HNL. The departure date is on Dec 23 and the return date is Dec 31, while my real origin is Miami or Fort Lauderdale…..

    The reason I hold the ticket is the price is so high when flying to HNL during Christmas/New Year holiday (1000 coach round from LAS and 1500 coach round from MIA) and I do want to redeem the miles to save around 5000 dollars for 3 people. However, the award tickets for MIA/FLL – LAS are not available now.

    My question is : if I ticketed the LAS-HNL round trip ticket (under the same reservation locator and ticket number) and asked the agent to add continental segments ( MIA-LAS or/and LAS-MIA), is the origin/destination fee 150 or 300? For example, on Nov 30 (21 days before departure), I found there are award seats for both MIA -LAS on Dec 21 and LAS-MIA on Jan 1, I would call the agent to add these two segments to my ticket. As I changed both origin and destination, would such change cost me 150 or 300?

    Thank you very much. I didn’t realized Hawaii airlines could be booked by AA miles until I search my google reader and found this blog.

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  47. I want to sign up for these cards and have my husband do the same so that we will have enough points for our family of four to travel PHX-HNL next summer on HA. The problem is, we won’t be able to finalize our dates or book until around January. Do you believe there will be seats remaining at that late date? It freaks me out a little to think that, like the other poster above, they may not allow us to select seats until check-in. We have two young daughters and waiting for seat assignments would be too stressful. Any thoughts?

    • @Carrie – 4 seats on an award flight will be tough and award availability always changes. But you can always do “dummy” searches on AA.com to see what availability looks like. You will be able to select seats if you travel only on American Airlines and don’t include Hawaiian Airlines.

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  49. Currently Im trying to book two award tickets for a return date that only has 25,000 one-way and business class available. There is a 12,500 ticket available two days after the date I want. I know there is a good chance in 10 months AA will change the flight time and Id be eligible to adjust the ticket. Whats your estimate of the likelihood I’d be able to bump the return flight up 2days if I book the cheaper award ticket? Is that too risky?

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  52. You mention changes of date/time are free.

    On the AA site I see: “A $75 USD award processing charge will apply for a confirmed change to the date on an AAdvantage MileSAAver® and AAnytime® award ticket if the change results in a new outbound travel date that is within 21 days of the original booking date (waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum® and AAdvantage Gold® members using miles from their account).”

    That seems like a $75 change fee, correct?

  53. @MillionMileSecrets But as I read that rule, it applies to ALL changes, not just those close in. (The 21 day component is about the relation between the original departure day and the new one, not the original departure date and the date of the change.)

    Am I correct in my understanding?

  54. I want to book 5 round trip award tickets from Boston to Maui for Feb. 2014.
    What’s the best way to do this and use the least amount of miles?

  55. I’m ticketed on an AA Award ticket that includes One World partners for a trip in August. For my first domestic leg (DCA to ORD then ORD to DUS), the connection time is very short (40 minutes). If I call AA to try and get an award seat on an earlier flight (there appears to be plenty of inventory), will I be charged the 150 dollar fee?

  56. Daraius, Need you help please, My wife and 3 year old daughter is in Ecuador, We live in in Minnesota. My wife has 50000 miles, daughter 15000 and i have 15000. How can we utilize these miles to offset some of the cost of flights. They will be traveling here begenning of June and returning back to Guayaquil Ecuador in end of July. I was searching but the prices so high. If we use miles for one for example for wife then we can’t purchase just one ticket for the 3 year old daughter. AA does have flights from Guayaquil_Miami_Minneapolis and sometimes have another stop through Chicago. I appreciate if you can help where to start.
    Thank You!
    Janek.

  57. Sorry Darius I spell you name wrong in the above question,

    Janek

    • @Janek – It is 17.5K for a 1-way in coach. Your wife could book the trip using her miles for 2 1-way tickets from Ecuador to the US for 17.5K X 2 or 35K miles. If there are award seats for 17.5K for the return, both your wife and daughter can buy 2.5K miles from American Airlines and get the 17.5K needed for a return award. Or you can apply for a credit card for the remaining miles. You can check award availability online at AA.com

  58. Is there a way to get an alert if saaver inventory opens up on a certain flight?

  59. Quick question, just booked a flight from the US to the Caribbean for August. Points and everything was good (35K RT), but the taxes of $75pp seemed a bit steep. I am new to this game, so I wanted to see if you had any feedback if this fee/tax amount sounds about right or if its on the high side as for the noted itinerary. Thanks D!

  60. Hi – question about the $75 fee associated with changing the departure date of AA Milesaaver tickets.

    The AA website says “A $75 USD award processing charge will apply for a confirmed change to the date on an AAdvantage MileSAAver® and AAnytime® award ticket if the change results in a new outbound travel date that is within 21 days of the ORIGINAL booking date.”

    In early March, I booked a Milesaaver ticket departing on May 7, and want to change the departure date of the flight to May 11. May 11 is more than 21 days from the original booking date (in early March) but less than 21 days from today, which is the date on which I would like to make the change to the flight. It appears to me that the $75 fee will not apply to this change because the new departure date is more than 21 days from the ORIGINAL booking date (in early March), even though it is less than 21 days from today. Is that correct?

    (The ticket is a British Airways itinerary from Dublin to Boston, connecting in London Heathrow.)

    • @jam – You can set an ExpertFlyer seat alert.

      @Joseph
      – That sounds around right for a trip to the Caribbean because of the international taxes.

      @MC – You will pay the fee if you will travel in less than 21 days from the day you call to make the change.

  61. Thanks for the help!

  62. Great post. I just wanted to ask you a question to clarify something. I was planning on booking an AA Award 330 days out (as you recommended) but I may need to change the date of the flight, which should be free. My question is: is there a limit to how far back I can push my flight without a charge. I imagine I would not be allowed to push it back over and over indefinitely. Would I only be able to push it back 365 days from the date of booking (i.e. 35 days if I book 330 days out)?

  63. I’m a little confused of what the expected total miles should be.
    For example, I need to get from DFW to HNL around Jun 18
    I see many flights from DFW to LAX at the 12.5K Economy MileSAAver level.
    Such as 614, departing June 18 10:00 AM DFW-STL, 1989 STL-LAX
    And I see HA 9 departing 4:55 LAX-HNL
    When I call AA to book this entire trip, they say it is 12.5K + 10K, total 22.5K.
    Is that the expected total? Or should I expect 12.5K?

  64. Then I am confused, what is the purpose of searching HA website, and calling AA agent, when AA website also allows booking HA flights? Why not just search and book from AA.com?

  65. Even though you can book HA flights on AA.com, it does not show all the options you can create on your own by finding AA flights into HA departure locations, such as LAX. So, still good information here, thanks for sharing!

  66. Pingback: 2 Cards = 5 Nights + 2 Air Tickets To Disney World! | Million Mile Secrets

  67. Just to clarify: if you find AA Award for 20000 to OGG from Portland and flight from another US city to Portland for 17.500 , you would still pay 20000 miles? is it correct?

  68. Hi, I read ur blog everyday and applied many cards from it, thanks!
    quick question: I cannot find the reward ticket on aa.com at the date I want to fly(other date have award ticket on alaska airline), however, there are award tickets on alaskaair.com. Can I use my aa mile to book the award ticket from alaskaair? Should I call aa?
    thanks!

  69. @MMS
    Thanks for ur reply! I do find low level awards on Alaska air, but they are not in aa.com so I cannot redeem my aa miles from aa.com. How can I book them? Should I call AA?

  70. I’m noticing that I haven’t been able to find AA business and first saver awards to Europe on AA flights – Only AirBerlin and British Airways. Is AA putting all of their saver awards onto other airlines? If you have any input, I’d appreciate it.

  71. I am looking to book AA award travel for our family of 4 from ORD to MAUI over Christmas 2014. Since it is such a popular time time I know I have to book my ORD to OGG segment first and then wait until the return dates open to book those. Are there anymore tips or suggestions for this booking that you can offer? Thanks-I’ve tried before in past years and have been unsuccessful. Thanks in advance.

  72. Can one use aa miles to book the HA HNL-PPT flight? If so, how many miles?

  73. Disregard-learned in the comments in the Tahiti nui post.

  74. AA wouldn’t let me do 50k for business class ORY-JFK on 6/24/14, and then JFK-HNL direct on Hawaiian a few months later. Said that Hawaiian Airlines isn’t included. told me it would be 50k + 35k.
    Any help?!?

  75. I’m trying to book NYC – Hawaii and would prefer to fly in business (this is my honeymoon).
    AA doesn’t have flights available as MilesSAAver, Hawaiian has 80,000 first class tickets.
    Are there alternate options such as Avios on British? I’m not familiar with that but would really like to book flights and plan the rest of our trip!

    • @Allan – There has to be a published fare for that trip to be able to book it as an award.

      @Jeremy – British Airways Avios gets you access to the same seats as American Airlines, so that wouldn’t help. You could try searching on United.com to see if United has any flights.

  76. @MMS it was published. AA agent gave my some bullcrap answer as to why flight on Hawaiian flight would be extra 35k pts. Have a flight already booked, any changes will be $150/pp. Any way around it?

  77. Hi Daraius,

    If I book an AAdvantage award ticket that flies on US A or Alaska, and that I later make a change in the dates (not the origin and destination), is the change free or will I be charged because the flights are not on AA?
    I asked AA and got two different answers.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  78. Hi Daraius,

    Thanks for showing us how to book flights with HA using AA miles. I would like to book flight from nyc to kona, which shows up as 45k miles on AA in June (says 22.5k economy is not available, but on HA website, it is available with the Super Saver coach 20,000 miles). Would I have to use 45k AA miles for this trip? Is there any way to get it for 22.5k? I’m going in June, which counts as off-peak season. Not sure why it’s coming up as 45k miles. The trip from NYC to Honolulu comes up as 22.5k on AA website. Thanks!

  79. I see some Hawaiian airlines flights when I look thru the Aadvantage award website. Have they added this feature since you wrote the post? Would i be able to book it online to avoid the $25? Thanks

  80. Planning ahead for possible trip to OGG from NYC in Feb 2015. So, playing around with mid-Jan (say 1/16/2015) now. On AA.com, I see nothing for NYC-OGG, but see very, very limited 17.5K availability on JFK-HNL on HA (single seat). On HA.com, I see pretty much all 20K awards for JFK-OGG for 4 people (JFK-HNL, HNL-OGG).

    So, I guess the big question is any possibility to book the JFK-OGG with AA miles since it shows up at 20k rate online? Or not really. If you planned ahead you used to be able to get awards from NYC to Hawaii on the days they opened, doesn’t look like the case anymore.

  81. OK, 2nd question. What if you see the JFK-HNL on HA available for 17.5k on AA.com, and also a HNL-XXX (where XXX is KOA, OGG, LIH) available for 5k on AA.com. Is there anyway to get something like JFK-HNL-(KOA/OGG/LIH) for 17.5k by directly calling or would it be 17.5+5=22.5k?

  82. So I see all flights from JFK-LIH (one way) and OGG-JFK (one way) for 20K, yet no way of finding this on AA.com – can I book these flights through the call-center, and can I get the phone fees waived?

  83. Question – On AA.com, I booked a round trip flight on Hawaiian Air from PDX to Honolulu by redeeming American miles. How can I book seat assignments? I tried going to Hawaiian Air – the site can pull up my reservation but when I try to click on the seat assignments – I get the message that changes to this reservation cannot be made online. Is that correct? thanks.

  84. Can you tell me why, when using AA award miles to go from London to any AA gateway city in the US there is such a big difference in taxes on AA flights compared with British Airways flights, a OneWorld partner? I know the British gov’t imposes a large departure tax on long-haul flights out of the UK, but why are the taxes so much higher on BA than on AA? No one at BA or AA has ever been able to sensibly answer this question for me. For this reason, I can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to redeem award miles on BA, at least on flights out of the UK!

  85. Deborah Graciel

    Hey there, I am hoping you can answer this question for me. Everytime I have tried to book an international flight with American using miles, the non-stop flights are never an option. I don’t want to waste hard-earned vacation time sitting in an airport waiting hours for an unnecessary connection. Do you know why, and do you have any suggestions. Thank you

  86. Hoe to get a direct flight using AA award miles. Last two tips, many stops round and round and long airport waits. Any better luck if I book a year in advance? Thanks

  87. first -thanks for the great posts – i recently earned the 100K mileage bonus with the CitiCard Executive as a result! I already have two award tix to Rome (from Chicago) departing July 17. I have some flexibility on outbound dates – a day or so. I’m hoping to get a Business Class MileSaver Award instead of coach i currently have, but no luck so far. I check online every day. Can you tell me if AA changes award seats daily or multiple times a day? Or can you provide any tips or advice as to how to possibly secure these seats–should they come available? thanks!!

    • @Deborah Graciel – That’s one of the trade-off of using miles, but keep checking since award availability keeps on changing.

      @L.ward – Booking in advance could help, but seats keep changing.

      @Ed – You can use ExpertFlyer to set a seat alert for when the seats open up.

  88. Hello

    Hawaiian Airlines does not fly to the Philippines anymore. What would be the best way to go from HNL to Manila or Cebu using AA miles?

  89. Hi there. I was wondering if more HA seats open up closer to the departure date via AA miles? I’d like to book a trip to Hawaii from the West Coast flying on HA during peak season (X-mas/NYE). Because you’re allowed to change the dates without changing the origin / destination with AA miles, and I have a flexible schedule, I was hoping to take a chance and book the dates now, and change the dates, assuming more availability opens up. What do you think of this strategy?

  90. Hi. I managed to book a round trip with AA miles to Buenos Aires for a family of 3 in November. However, the seat selection map is only showing middle seats available on both flights. If I check the seat availability if I were to buy a ticket it shows more seats available on the sides. What gives?

  91. So I’m in the middle of planning a trip but not sure where I want to go. 

    Can I put more than one itinerary on hold?

    Say for example, I want to fly out of Dallas and go to Los Angeles but I might want to go to Miami instead. Can I hold the DFW to LAX and the DFW to MIA itineraries at the same time for the same dates?

  92. How many times can you put a 5 day hold on an award ticket with American? When the hold expires does the seats become immediately available then? Could I just rebook and get another 5 day hold? Thanks for all your experience!

    • @Laurel – They are trying to get you to pay for the seats which are not middle seats. I’d keep checking the seat map (especially within 24 hours of check in) to see if new seats have opened up.

      @Jon – Not for very long and they may even cancel 1 of those itineraries.

      @Gary – The seats don’t became available immediately (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t).

  93. Have a question if anyone can answer. I’m looking on Hawaiian’s website and it says 30k to book a July flight. However on AA’s site, the mileage saver (which doesn’t have any available) usually shows it for 22.5k. Which point total would they charge me (22.5k vs 30k) and is this even possible since the Hawaiian award is higher?

    Thanks

  94. Stopover for award ticket is no longer available for aa airline. I just called today Sep 17, 2014 and the aa agent told me they ended this Feb, 2014. My question is, may I book a Hawaii air ticket from HNL to TPE using aa miles? The chart for Coach SuperSaver is 40,000 miles but you mentioned we can only book the level of 20,000 miles. Thanks! ET

  95. What’s the best way to book 2 tickets together?
    I’m searching for business or first saver on a flight from JFK to LAX and it seems there is only 1 seat available on each flight in business or first.

  96. Hi. I’m trying to book 3 award tickets with aa miles to the galapagos. I’ve been able to use miles to get to Guayaquil but can’t find any mileage seats to the galapagos. Can you help?

  97. Michael Smith

    Just as an an update, it looks like the directions for correlating HA flights to AA partner availability is incorrect now.

    In planning a trip to LIH I discovered that when you determine the available flights via the HA website, even though they show up as still being available for HA miles purchase, the agent on AA reward travel was unable to ticket seats on those flights. It’s likely something has changed on the site as it’s not the same as the screenshots above anymore. But the process described is not accurate at this moment. 🙁

    I was able to ticket flights through AA via Alaskan at 17.5K per leg so that’s fine and the point used from AA to HA is correct in that it too is also 17.5K but only if the seats are available. I do not see anyway to determine this state other than calling the AA agent and having them check.

  98. Michael Smith

    To be fair, it did seem as if the AA agents had the ability to ticket flights on HA just not the ones I wanted. 😉

  99. I don’t think you can book a miles for Hawaiian flights from Hawaii to Taiwan. I don’t think Hawaiian has a flight to Taiwan anymore. All codeshares with China Airlines

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