Save Your Miles: Book American Airlines Off-Peak Awards for Less!
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I am a frugal and prefer to squeeze every last bit of value out of my hard-earned miles. That’s why I love the off-peak award sweet spot on the American Airlines award chart!
If you can plan your trips around off-peak awards, you can save as many as 15,000 miles on a single round-trip award flight between the US to Europe. That’s enough for another short round-trip domestic American Airlines flight!
And American Airlines miles are super easy to earn from cards like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and no-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.
With American Airlines off-peak awards, you’ll enjoy more free award travel with your miles. I’ll show you everything you need to know to book these flights!
How to Book American Airlines Off-Peak Award Travel and Save Thousands of Miles!
When you book American Airlines off-peak awards, you can save thousands of American Airlines miles on flights to Hawaii, Europe, Asia, and more! This is one of the best ways to get the most out of your miles!
What Are American Airlines Off-Peak Awards?
American Airlines has 2 region-based award charts for flights on its own planes and on partners. This makes it easy to predict award prices and make travel plans.
These flights are typically during during less popular travel dates to certain destinations. For example, most folks like to travel to Europe during the summer and fall, but if you are willing to travel in the winter, you can save significantly.
Each region has its own off-peak dates. And not all regions are included.
Do Restrictions Apply to Off-Peak Awards?
Off-peak awards are very affordable, but they do have a few restrictions to keep in mind:
- You can only book coach flights (NOT Business or First Class)
- In order to get the off-peak pricing, the award ticket must be available at the MileSAAver level and take place within the region-specific off-peak dates
- With the exception of Europe, you must fly on American Airlines or American Eagle flights (not partner airlines) to qualify for off-peak pricing
- There are no off-peak award flights for domestic flights (other than Hawaii)
Other than these few restrictions, an off-peak award flight is treated the same as any other award flight.
How Do You Book American Airlines Off-Peak Awards?
You can search for off-peak awards on the American Airlines website, like any other award flight. If you search for flights on applicable dates and for applicable regions than the off-peak pricing will automatically be displayed.
From the American Airlines homepage you can search for flights. Choose your departure and destination airports and the dates you want to travel. Before you click continue, make sure you click the checkbox for “Redeem Miles“.
The next page will show you the lowest award prices for the week of travel you selected. This page is helpful because it lets you see if other days around your travel day offer better deals than the day you initially requested.
Make any changes to your dates on this screen and click the red “Continue” button to select specific flight itineraries for that day.
You can also click “Show Full Calendar” to see a full month of available award seats.
The next page is where you can see specific flight itineraries and the actual number of miles you’ll need for each of them. From here, you can continue to checkout and use your miles to cover the cost of the flight.
Notice that they don’t show up as “off-peak” on the website, but these prices do match the off-peak prices we were expecting for flights to Hawaii during off-peak dates.
Where and When Can You Travel Using Off-Peak Awards?
Each region has its own time frames for off-peak awards. Here are all the details about each destination that you need to know.
Hawaii Off-Peak Travel
Flights between the contiguous US states and Hawaii cost just 20,000 American Airlines miles each way with off-peak awards.
Off-peak dates TO Hawaii:
- December 29 to March 12
- August 11 to November 18
- November 24 to December 10
Off-peak dates FROM Hawaii:
- January 7 to March 19
- August 18 to November 27
- December 3 to December 25
Normal saver awards cost 22,500 American Airlines miles each way, so finding an off-peak flight can save you 2,500 miles each way or 5,000 miles round-trip. Flights to Hawaii often go for $500 to $1,000 each way throughout the year. That means waiting until off-peak season and using award fares can save you as much as $2,000 on a round-trip flight.
Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America Off-Peak Travel
Flights between the contiguous US states and the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America are just 12,500 American Airlines miles each way off-peak.
Off-peak dates for Caribbean, Mexico, Central America:
- September 7 to November 14
- April 27 to May 20
If you can get some time off in late April through May, these are still some great times to travel to the Caribbean and Mexico. It is not at peak heat yet but still beautiful, plus the spring break rush is over. You can save 2,500 American Airlines miles each way (or 5,000 miles round-trip) by traveling off-peak.
South American Off-Peak Travel
Off-peak travel to South America actually covers a huge swath of dates (9 out of 12 months in the year), offering plenty of opportunity to explore this part of the world.
However, only “South America Region 1“ countries qualify:
- Manaus (Brazil)
Off-peak Dates for South American travel:
- January 16 to June 14
- September 7 to November 14
Travel from the contiguous US states to South America Region 1 normally costs 20,000 American Airlines miles each way, but by finding off-peak dates to travel you can save 2,500 miles each way or 5,000 miles round-trip.
Europe Off-Peak Travel
Travel to and from Europe during off-peak times can save you a significant number of American Airlines miles. This is also the only destination where American Airlines offers off-peak award rates with their partner airlines, like British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair.
Off-peak dates for European travel:
- January 10 to March 14
- November 1 to December 14
The savings on Europe travel are incredible. Normally, a low-level award flight costs 30,000 American Airlines miles each way. But during off-peak travel dates you can get the same flights for 22,500 American Airlines miles, which is a savings of 7,500 miles each way or a whopping 15,000 miles in savings round-trip!
These same tickets can cost $600 to $800 each way depending on the time of year, so this is an awesome way to save tons of money on travel by booking off-peak award fares instead.
Korea Off-Peak Travel
Flights between the contiguous US states and Korea cost just 32,500 American Airlines miles each way off-peak.
Off-peak dates TO Korea:
- January 1 to April 30
- July 1 to November 30
Off-peak dates FROM Korea:
- January 16 to May 31
- September 1 to December 31
Regular low-level award flights cost 35,000 American Airlines miles each way, so booking off-peak dates will save you 2,500 American Airlines miles each way or 5,000 miles round-trip. If you paid full price for flights to Korea, you might spend up to $1,200 each way, so these award flights can be an excellent way to save a ton of money.
Japan Off-Peak Travel
Flights between the contiguous US states and Japan are just 32,500 American Airlines miles off-peak, just like to Korea. The dates are slightly different though.
Off-peak dates TO Japan:
- January 1 to April 30
- July 1 to November 30
Off-peak dates FROM Japan:
- January 16 to April 19
- May 2 to May 31
- September 1 to December 31
Again, you can save 2,500 American Airlines miles each way or 5,000 miles round-trip by booking off-peak travel dates to Japan. These flights cost as much as $1,600 each way depending on the time of year!
China and Hong Kong Off-Peak Travel
China and Hong Kong off-peak travel costs 32,500 American Airlines miles each way.
Off-peak dates TO China & Hong Kong:
- January 1 to April 30
- July 1 to September 30
- October 11 to November 30
Off-peak dates FROM China & Hong Kong:
- February 1 to May 31
- September 1 to September 19
- October 2 to December 31
The award price for China & Hong Kong is the same as other Asian countries (but the dates are different). A regular low-level flight costs 35,000 American Airlines miles each way, but booking off-peak travel saves you 2,500 American Airlines miles each way or 5,000 round-trip.
Paying for these tickets with cash would cost as much as $1,000 each way!
What’s the Best Way to Earn American Airlines Miles?
The easiest way to earn American Airlines miles for free travel is with an American Airlines credit card like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®. For a limited time, you can earn 70,000 American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
The 70,000 American Airlines bonus miles offer is more than enough miles for a round-trip ticket to Hawaii AND a round-trip ticket to the Caribbean if you book using off-peak awards.
- Travel to Hawaii for 20,000 miles each way = 40,000 American Airlines miles
- Travel to Caribbean for 12,500 miles each way = 25,000 American Airlines miles
- Total for both round-trip flights = 65,000 American Airlines miles
This bonus is also enough for a round-trip ticket to Asia (Korea, Japan, China, or Hong Kong) during these off-peak award travel which runs 32,500 each way (65,000 miles round-trip). Here’s our review of the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card.
American Airlines offers several other credit cards with great bonus offers that are worth checking out:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – Another nice bonus! Here’s our review of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card – No annual fee! Check out our review of the Citi AAdvantage MileUp
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – Great for frequent American Airlines flyers with lounge access. Read our review of the Citi AAdvantage Executive
The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Are Off-Peak American Airlines Awards Worth It?
Absolutely! As long as your schedule can accommodate travel during these off-peak dates, this is a great way to travel for cheap.
You don’t need to jump through any hoops to get in on these deals other than being willing to travel during less popular times of the year. However, this can often lead to some of the best experiences!
I traveled to Italy during February (which is off-peak) and not only was I able to save on airfare, but I got great deals on my hotel and rental car too. Because everything was off-peak pricing! In addition, the lines to popular attractions like The Colosseum and Vatican were about 10% the length when I went a few summers earlier. We spent far less time waiting in line and enjoyed all the same sights with far fewer people ruining our photos. Overall, I really enjoy traveling off-peak!
Traveling during less-popular times can save you thousands of American Airlines miles with off-peak awards.
You can book these flights the same as any other American Airlines award flight. Just remember to search for travel dates that fall into the off-peak times for flights to and from that region.
By booking off-peak travel you can save between 2,500 to 7,500 American Airlines miles each way. By the time you book round-trip tickets or tickets for companions, this can equal tens of thousands of American Airlines miles saved! It’s a terrific way to stretch your miles.
And it’s easy to earn American Airlines miles with cards like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and no-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.
Have you booked off-peak awards with American Airlines miles? Let us know your favorite redemption!
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! :)