Book American Airline Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 2 – Types of Awards & Charts

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Book American Airline Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 2 –  Types of Awards & Charts

Million Mile SecretsBook American Airline Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 2 –  Types of Awards & ChartsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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_16-07-54
Learn About Award Types and American Airlines’ Award Charts to Get Big Travel!

Award Types & Charts

American Airlines has 2 different award types for redeeming miles and 2 award charts for upgrades.

1.   American Airlines Travel Award Chart.  This award chart is for travel only on American Airlines, American Eagle, and American Connection.

While all of American Airlines’ flights can be booked with miles on AA.com, many of their other partners can NOT be seen online. 

For example, if you search for flights from Chicago to Rome on AA.com, you’ll only see options for American Airlines, and some partners, like British Airways and Finnair.  But you can also fly on Iberia (oneworld partner airline) to Spain, or Air Berlin to Berlin and then connect to Rome.

In some cases, you may have to do some digging to find out which oneworld airlines fly between cities.  An easy way to do so is using the oneworld Interactive Network Map.

2.   oneworld and Other Airline Award Chart.  This award chart shows prices using American Airlines miles for award travel on oneworld and partner airlines.

Awards can be booked with the following airlines: 

a)    American Airlines
b)    oneworld partner airlines including:

c)    Other American Airline partner airlines which include:

American Lists All of their Airline Partners on its Website
American Airlines Lists All of its Airline Partners on its Website

Some oneworld and partner award flights can be booked on AA.com, including:

  • Air Berlin 
  • Alaska Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hawaiian Airlines (except flights between Mainland US and Hawaii) 
  • Iberia
  • Qantas 
  • Royal Jordanian 

However, other airline awards can only be booked by calling 800-882-8880.  This may seem like extra work, but it’s totally worth it because of the vastly increased flight options.

Upgrades

1.   American Airline Upgrades.   This chart lists the co-pay and miles required to upgrade flights on flights operated by American Airlines, American Eagle, or American Connection.

Upgrades are only possible to the next higher class of service, so you can’t upgrade from coach to First Class, but you can upgrade from coach to Business Class or from Business Class to First Class.  

I’m not a big fan of using miles to upgrade flights because it is usually a poor value when upgrading from the cheapest discount coach ticket.

For example, it costs 25,000 miles PLUS a $350 co-pay to upgrade a 1-way discount coach ticket to Europe from coach to Business Class.

So if I were to book a discounted coach ticket to Europe for $750 and wanted to upgrade to Business Class, this would cost an additional 25,000 American Airlines miles and a co-pay of $350! 

However, it costs only 57,500 American Airlines miles for a Business Class ticket to Europe.

That said, using miles to upgrade could make sense if your company has purchased your ticket for you, you regularly purchase Business Class tickets, or if you just want to save your American Airlines miles.

2.    Upgrades on British Airways and Iberia.  This chart lists the amount of miles required to upgrade flights on British Airways and Iberia.

However, this is a pretty meaningless option to me, because your ticket has to be booked in full fare coach, Premium Economy or Business Class.  More often than not, coach tickets are at the discounted rate. 

Since these full fares are almost always higher than the discounted fares, this is usually not a great value unless you are forced to buy a ticket at full fare or your company buys the ticket for you.

Bottom Line

American Airlines awards may take a bit of work, but doing the research and understanding the award charts can make a big difference in the options available for your next big trip. 

The key is being able to go the extra-mile to look at American Airlines’ oneworld partners and other airlines to find more available seats to more destinations.

Next in the series will be:  how many miles does my award cost, fees, rules, & booking domestic and international awards.

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My wife and I wish to visit Jordan to see our new grand daughter this summer-probably in August.
What is the best day of the weej to book the flight. We have American Airlines advantage cards with Citi-platinum ,American express- platinum and American Aviator with Barclay world.
How can I use these cards to get the best deal with frequent flyer miles in coach? We have flown with Royal Jordanian in the past.
Thanks,
Barry

how many miles needed for sfo/eze in business

Hi re my previous post unless I’m doing this wrong it makes more sense for me to upgrade AA roundtrip to London based on your formula.

Economy fare is $817 + $700 (350 x 2) + $500 (50,000 pts) = $2017

Using all points round trip 100,000 pts = $1000 plus fees of $1246 = $224

Thoughts?

Hi I was trying to use miles to book Business on AA JFK-LHR. But the only 50 miles saver flights available are only on BA? AA business seats are anytime for 110 each way( they never opened them for the mile saver). I want to fly AA new 300 ER in business but refuse to use 220 miles. I’m seriously thinking of doing the upgrade from economy. Which I just bought since they were a good deal $817 and the flight leaves in 2 weeks. I watched for the milesaver for months but no luck.

I know your not a fan of upgrading 25 miles/$350 but what do you think in this case vs using 220 miles for business?

thanks

helo Merry Christmas i wondering if i get apply for a second Barclays US Airways card to get a another miles bonus. i tried and received a message stating i had already applied w/in 30 days. i tried to call but was unable to get to someone?

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