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How to Fly on American Airlines with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, Even Though They’re Not Partners (It’s Often a BETTER Deal!)

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How to Fly on American Airlines with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, Even Though They’re Not Partners (It’s Often a BETTER Deal!)

Joseph HostetlerHow to Fly on American Airlines with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, Even Though They’re Not Partners (It’s Often a BETTER Deal!)Million Mile Secrets Team

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You might have noticed that American Airlines is NOT a Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer partner.

Still, that doesn’t mean Chase Ultimate Rewards points aren’t useful for award flights on American Airlines!  There are several ways you can fly for free on American Airlines with points you earn from:

As a matter of fact, using these points for American Airlines flights is often a better deal than using American Airlines miles.  I’ll show you the loopholes you need to know!

American Airlines Flights Are Often Cheaper With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Than American Airlines Miles!

Fly American Airlines With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

It’s true that Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t transfer to American Airlines.  But you CAN transfer your points to 2 airlines that partner with American Airlines:

  • British Airways
  • Iberia

When you transfer your points to either of these airlines, you can use their respective websites to book flights on American Airlines.  In other words, you’ll book American Airlines flights without ever visiting the American Airlines website.

Let’s book a flight from Columbus to Dallas.

Example 1.   Book American Airlines Flights Through British Airways

Log into the British Airways website and click “Spending Avios” from the “Discover” drop-down menu.

Click “Spending Avios”

Scroll down the next page until you see “Book a Reward Flight“.  Click it.

Click “Book a Reward Flight”

You’ll then see search results of all available flights.  If you’re flying a domestic route, you should see plenty of American Airlines flights available!

Take Your Pick of American Airlines Flights!

Example 2.   Book American Airlines Flights Through Iberia

Log into the Iberia website before you begin your search.

Enter Your Credentials

Enter your travel information.  You MUST book a round-trip flight with Iberia Avios points, or the website will tell you there are no seats available.

Tell Iberia Where You Want to Go

Again, you’ll see plenty of American Airlines award flights available to book with Iberia Avios points.  If you find award seats on British Airways, they should also be available on Iberia.

Choose Your American Airlines Flight

Example 3.   Book American Airlines Flights Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal

This method is pretty simple, as it’s similar to booking with any online travel agency, like Orbitz or Expedia.

Log into the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal and click “Travel” from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.

Navigate to the “Travel” Section

Enter your travel information.

Tell Chase Your Travel Plans

You’ll then have your pick of flights from multiple airlines, including American Airlines.  If you have an Ink Business Preferred or a Chase Sapphire Preferred (my example below), your points will be worth 1.25 cents each.  If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points will be worth 1.5 cents each.

Choose Your Preferred American Airlines Flight

ALWAYS Do the Math and Find the Best Deal

Let’s break down the information we’ve just covered.

As you can see through the Chase Portal screenshot, the going rate for a round-trip flight between Columbus and Dallas is $286.  For that same flight, you’ll pay:

  • 22,880 Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Portal (if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred)
  • 19,066 Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Portal (if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve)
  • 17,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you transfer them to Iberia (Iberia charges 17,000 points round-trip for this route)
  • 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you transfer them to British Airways (British Airways charges 7,500 points each way for this route)

British Airways and Iberia have different award charts, so these prices will vary depending on your route.  But quite often you’ll get the best value by transferring your points instead of using the Chase Portal.

As I said earlier, using these partners is often a better deal than using American Airlines miles.  For example, I flew to Oklahoma round-trip in coach over the holidays for 17,000 Iberia Avios points.  That same flight would have cost 25,000 American Airlines miles (that’s a difference of 8,000 miles!).

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t transfer to American Airlines.  But collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards points is still one of the best ways to get American Airlines flights for free.

You can:

And you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points in a hurry by opening:

Let me know your favorite way to book free American Airlines flights!

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

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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AA has flights from Houston (IAH) to St. Thomas VI (STT) however, neither BA or Iberia bring them up so I don’t seem to be able to use my points. Any suggestions?

How exactly does one transfer their points to British Airways? I have this Chase card and always thought I had to use their portal.

I did it from the Chase portal with my CFU. How much did I lose? It was 7500 points

I think it’s a bit misleading to say that booking AA awards through Chase is often a better deal than using AA miles. Chase points are worth a lot more than AA miles due to their flexibility. It is also very easy to earn AA miles since you can get more than multiple AA credit cards every 2 years through Citi and Barclay. I would rather use 60K AA miles for a flight than 50K UR points.

I may have missed it, but in my view, two points that are important were left out. One, to use BA or Iberia miles, the AA flight must be a MileSAAver flight that is available.

Secondly, and sadly I have this difficulty about 80% of the time, and it frustrates me to no end, is is that BA does not always show available flights on searches that have saver availability. There is evidently a known hiccup that BA does not display the availability even though it’s clearly available on the AA website.

Under the “ALWAYS Do the Math and Find the Best Deal”, I feel like you miss the part where you earn miles (and advance towards elite status) by using UR Points. It’s not a long flight, but that’s 2 segments and 1,000 miles flown.

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