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How to Read the American Airlines Award Chart to Get Big Travel

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How to Read the American Airlines Award Chart to Get Big Travel

Jason StaufferHow to Read the American Airlines Award Chart to Get Big TravelMillion Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: With certain American Airlines credit cards, you’ll have access to the American Airlines reduced Mileage Awards, which can save you up to 7,500 miles on award flights to 100+ airports.

Here are a few of the Citi American Airlines credit cards:

And these bonus miles can get you VERY far.  You’ll be able to travel to destinations like Europe, Japan, and Australia!

We’ve done the research for you and I’m going to show you how to book American Airlines award travel and find the best deals.

I’ll show you how to make sense of the American Airlines award chart

How to Navigate the AA Award Chart

American Airlines’ award charts are region-based.  So you can see how many miles are required just by looking at where you want to fly.  And you’ll really just need to focus on 3 main things:

  1. Who:   Which airline you’ll be flying with
  2. What:   Class of service and pricing tier
  3. Where:   You’ll be flying

1.   What Airline Will You Be Flying?

American Airlines has 2 award charts.  The first is for flights on American Airlines, and the other is for flights on oneworld alliance and partner airlines.

If you’ll be flying on American Airlines, you’ll use this AA miles chart.

And if you’ll be flying on one of American Airlines’ partner airlines, you’ll use this AA oneworld award chart.

Once You’ve Found the Correct Award Chart, You’ll Want to Click the Dropdown Menu for Which Region You’ll be Departing From

American Airlines has a long list of oneworld airline partners:

  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

And they even have some other partner airlines that are not part of the oneworld alliance:

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Alaska Airlines / Horizon Air
  • Cape Air
  • Etihad Airways
  • Fiji Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Seaborne Airlines

You’ll be able to redeem your miles with any of the above partner airlines.  And because of the number of partner airlines available, you’ll have a lot of flexibility in redeeming your American Airlines miles.

2.   Will You Be Flying Coach, Business Class, or First Class?

If you’ll be flying on an American Airlines flight, you’ll want to decide whether you want to fly coach, Business Class, or First Class.  There are different award charts for each class of service.  Once you’ve decided, you’ll also have a choice of one of the following pricing tiers:

  • MileSAAver Off-Peak (cheapest, although this is not available for all regions)
  • MileSAAver
  • AAnytime Level 1
  • AAnytime Level 2 (most expensive)
The Award Chart Is Separated Depending on Whether You Will Be Flying Coach, Business Class, or First Class

It’s best to avoid AAnytime airfare because those are the most expensive and I always try to book the cheapest flights, although if you have last-minute travel or your dates are not flexible, it may be your only option.  MileSAAver off-peak fare is the cheapest, and American Airlines has a list of which flights qualify:

If you are flying on American Airlines, the off-peak MileSAAver dates are listed here under the “details on award travel section.”

And if you will be flying on a partner airline, the main cabin off-peak dates are listed here under the “details on award travel section.”

If you’ll be flying on a partner airline, you won’t need to worry about the pricing tiers, because everything is priced the same.  And you’ll only have to decide whether you want to fly coach, Business, or First Class.

3.   Destinations

The final step to figuring out how many miles your trip will take will be based on where you’re going.  You’ll find this information in the same chart.  So for instance, in the screenshot below, a flight in coach from the US to Europe would cost 30,000 American Airlines miles on MileSAAver fare.

A One-Way Main Cabin Flight From the US to Europe Would Cost Just 30,000 Miles on MileSAAver Fare

And if you’re wondering what regions consist of, American Airlines has published their specific region definitions, for example: 

  • Caribbean:   Includes Bermuda and The Bahamas
  • South America Region 1:   Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Manaus (Brazil)
  • South America Region 2:   Argentina, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela
  • Asia Region 1:   Japan, Korea
  • Asia Region 2:   Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

How to Use the Miles on the American Airlines Award Chart

You can find some great deals on the American Airlines award charts, especially when you combine it with an amazing intro bonus on a credit cards like the following:

And here are a few examples of flights you could take once you earn those bonus miles!

  • Book up to 8+ short-distance flights within the US, because coach flights on American Airlines 500 miles or less only cost 7,500 miles one-way
  • Get a one-way flight to Europe in Business Class for just 57,500 American Airlines miles, or a round-trip coach ticket from the US to Europe and back for 60,000 American Airlines miles
  • Fly one-way to Japan in Business Class for 60,000 American Airlines miles
  • Book a round-trip ticket to the Caribbean in Business Class for 50,000 American Airlines miles

Bottom Line

American Airlines uses a region-based award chart, making it very easy to figure out how many miles you’ll need to book an award flight.  That’s because you’ll just need to find which region your departure and destination airports are located.

If you know where to look on the American Airlines award chart, earning either of those welcome bonuses can get you some big travel!  You can use the miles for multiple short-haul trips within the US, or book a First Class flight overseas which could easily save you over $1,000!

To learn more about American Airlines, check out these guides:

Here are our other articles to learn more about American Airlines miles:

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Turns out, AA.com is missing pricing for Level 3, Level 4, and Level 5 — all of which charge more miles than Level 2.

when do these limited time points offer end??