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Pro Tips: How to Read the AA Award Chart to Get Big Travel!

Pro Tips:  How to Read the AA Award Chart to Get Big Travel!

Andrew WPro Tips:  How to Read the AA Award Chart to Get Big Travel!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Reading the AA Award Chart

For a limited time, Citi is offering increased intro bonuses of up to 70,000 miles on their American Airlines credit cards!  And those 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.

By Earning the Welcome Bonus on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, You’ll Have Enough Miles to Fly First Class Overseas!

If you want more American Airlines miles, act fast because these bonuses are limited time offers and won’t be around forever:

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: 50,000 60,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®: 50,000 70,000 American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 4 months

I’ll show you how the American Airlines award chart works and how far these miles can take you!

How to Navigate the AA Award Chart

Link:   American Airlines Award Chart

Link:   American Airlines Partner 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:

  • To Hawaii:   December 29 to March 12, August 11 to November 18, November 24 to December 10
  • From Hawaii:   January 7 to March 19, August 18 to November 27, December 3 to December 25
  • Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America:   September 7 to November 14, April 27 to May 20
  • Europe:   January 10 to March 14, November 1 to December 14
  • Asia Region 1 (to Japan):   January 1 to April 30, July 1 to November 30
  • Asia Region 1 (from Japan):   January 16 to April 19, May 2 to 31, September 1 to December 31
  • Asia Region 1 (to Korea):   January 1 to April 30, July 1 to November 30
  • Asia Region 1 (from Korea):   January 16 to May 31, September 1 to December 31
  • Asia Region 2 (to China/Hong Kong):   January 1 to April 30, July 1 to September 30, October 11 to November 30
  • Asia Region 2 (from China/Hong Kong):   February 1 to May 31, September 1 to 19, October 2 to December 31
  • South America 1:   January 16 to June 14, September 7 to November 14

And if you will be flying on a partner airline, the main cabin off-peak dates are:

  • Europe:   January 10 to March 14, November 1 to December 14

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 AA 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.

And intro bonuses cards like the ones below also highlight just how valuable American Airlines miles can be:

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!

Have you flown American Airlines recently, or were able to book a great deal by using the American Airlines mileage chart?  Let us know in the comments!

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • For a limited time, earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
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  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • New: Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*

More Info

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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I booked ZRH to Maui in Business, no ‘mixed cabin’ for 70K miles in July one way. I booked in January and I guess I got lucky. Now the same flight is 110K, even with ‘mixed cabin.’

If my employer adds me as an additional card holder to the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card, does that prevent me from signing up for the bonus in my own name if I otherwise meet the 24-month requirements?

Author

Hi David, I found a few reports online that said being an authorized user does not affect your bonus eligibility, so you should be eligible for the bonus if you decide to apply for the card yourself.

Anyway to find out when you had opened/closed account to be sure of the 24 month time period restriction to get bonus again, before applying for this card (if one does not rememBer, like me)????

Any clues/suggestions of how to find, by calling etc? If yes whom/what number to call?

Author

Hi Leslie! 2 options I can think of. You can see your free credit report at https://my.bankrate.com it might show you in the account comments as to the date it was closed.

If that doesn’t work, maybe try calling Citi. They should be able to lookup your account and let you know exactly when it was closed.

So for citibank, it is 24 months from when account is closed to get another bonus ( unlike chase) and not from when account was oppened, right?

I was hoping your article might help us with the “how to book” with respect to those partner airlines that American does not let you book on their own website. Does American impose an extra booking charge for flights on those other airlines?

Author

Hi Tom!

This might be helpful: https://millionmilesecrets.com/use-miles/award-booking-guides/

And if you can’t book a particular flight online and have to call in, I would recommend always asking for any phone booking fees to be waived if calling in was the only option.

I live in a small city with only a regional airport. The nearest international airport is 250 miles away. When I want to use my points for great award flights in Business class, I must look at larger cities. American Airlines is one of 3 airlines that serves my city. Every saver flight I have ever searched on their website seems to be punishing the user. Late departures, long and unnecessary layovers, sometimes involving an overnight stay are all I ever find. It’s expensive, but I will just purchase a ticket and save my points for another use.

Author

Hi Sandy! That’s unfortunate that American Airlines does not serve your city. Have you looked into any of their partner airlines? They do have quite a few so that might be another way to use your American Airlines miles instead of cash.