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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:
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card – Best small business credit card in the game – almost the entire Million Mile Secrets team has it
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – I’ve had this card for years, and its benefits save me a LOT. I’ll never cancel it!
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® – The best all-around travel credit card
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!
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
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.
Scroll down the next page until you see “Book a Reward Flight“. Click it.
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!
Example 2. Book American Airlines Flights Through Iberia
Log into the Iberia website before you begin your search.
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.
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.
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.
Enter your travel information.
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.
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!).
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.
- Transfer your points to British Airways
- Transfer your points to Iberia
- Book American Airlines flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal
And you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points in a hurry by opening:
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card – 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting minimum spend requirements
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting minimum spend requirements
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® – 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting minimum spend requirements
Let me know your favorite way to book free American Airlines flights!