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By using a couple of the Citi American Airlines credit cards, like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, you can stockpile American Airlines bonus miles that will get you to some great travel destinations in Europe, Japan or Australia. What’s great about these card bonuses is that these American Airlines miles can take you places.
I’m going to show you how to book American Airlines award travel to find the best deals.
How to navigate the AA award chart
American Airlines recently moved to dynamic pricing but kept its region-based award chart, which shows how many miles are required just by looking at where you want to fly. You need to focus on three things:
- Your airline choice
- Class of service and pricing tier
- Your destination
What airline will you be flying?
American Airlines has two award charts. The first is for flights on American Airlines; the other is for flights on Oneworld alliance and partner airlines.
If you fly American Airlines, you’ll use this AA miles chart.
If you fly on one of American Airlines’ partner airlines, you’ll use this AA Oneworld award chart.
American Airlines has a long list of Oneworld airline partners:
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
Other partner airlines that are not part of the Oneworld alliance include:
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
- Cape Air
- Etihad Airways
- Fiji Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Seaborne Airlines
You can redeem your miles with any of the above partner airlines, which gives you a lot of flexibility.
Will you be flying coach, business or first class?
For American Airlines flights, decide whether you want to fly coach, business class or first class. There are different award charts for each class of service. 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)
- AAnytime Level 1
- AAnytime Level 2 (most expensive)
Avoid AAnytime airfares. These fares are the most expensive and I always try to book the cheapest flights. If you have last-minute travel plans 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. They 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.” On a partner airline, you don’t need to worry about pricing tiers because everything is priced the same. Your only decision is whether you want to fly coach, business or first class.
Where are you going?
The final step is to figure out how many miles your trip will take, based on where you’re going. You’ll find this information on the same chart. For instance, a flight in coach from the U.S. to Europe should cost around 30,000 American Airlines miles on the MileSAAver fare.
And if you’re wondering how American Airlines defines a region, here is the link: specific region definitions. Some examples include:
- Caribbean: Includes Bermuda and the Bahamas
- South America Region 1: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Manaus (Brazil)
- South America Region 2: Argentina, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela
- Asia Region 1: Japan and Korea
- Asia Region 2: Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam
How to use American Airlines miles
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:
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® – 65,000 American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first four months of account opening and an annual fee of $99 that is waived for the first 12 months
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months, with an annual fee of $450 that is not waived the first year
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 on purchases in the first three months, with a $99 annual fee that is waived for the first 12 months
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card – 10,000 American Airlines miles + $50 statement credit after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
Here are a few examples of flights you could take if you earn those bonus miles:
- Book up to 8+ short-distance flights within the U.S. 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 from 57,500 American Airlines miles, or a round-trip coach ticket from the U.S. to Europe from 60,000 American Airlines miles
- Fly one-way to Japan in business class from 60,000 American Airlines miles
- Book a round-trip ticket to the Caribbean in business class from 50,000 American Airlines miles
American Airlines uses dynamic pricing but also publishes a region-based award chart, making it easy to figure out approximately how many miles you’ll need to book an award flight.
If you know where to look on the American Airlines award chart, earning any of those welcome bonuses can get you some big travel. You can use the miles for multiple short-haul trips within the U.S., or book a first class flight overseas which could easily save you more than $1,000.
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