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If you’re new to miles and points, you might not know that American Airlines miles are some of the easiest to earn and most valuable. That’s because American Airlines is the biggest airline in the world and has thousands of daily flights, in addition to their strong partnerships with other world class airlines.
Because of these partnerships, you can use American Airlines miles not just on American Airlines, but for award flights on their oneworld alliance partners (which include Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Japan Airlines) and other non-alliance partners, like Air Tahiti Nui, Etihad, Fiji Airways, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and more.
This means you have a great opportunity to redeem your hard-earned American Airlines miles (from cards like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® or American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card) for flights to far-flung destinations (where American Airlines doesn’t fly!) such as the Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Cape Town, and Mumbai.
I’ll show you all the great trips you can take when you redeem American Airlines miles on their lesser-known partners outside of the oneworld alliance. And I’ll share some high-value award redemptions that can get you huge value from your miles.
American Airlines Partners Outside of oneworld
There are currently 13 active members of the oneworld alliance, including American Airlines. But American Airlines partners with 8 more airlines, meaning you can earn and / or redeem American Airlines miles when flying with the following carriers:
- Air Tahiti Nui (redeem only)
- Alaska Airlines (including Horizon Air)
- Cape Air (limited participation, redeem only)
- Fiji Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines (no redeeming on flights between mainland US and Hawaii, other routes allowed)
- Interjet (earn only)
- Seaborne Airlines (redeem only)
You’re likely most familiar with Alaska Airlines because it has quickly become one of our favorite domestic airlines, and Etihad, which is one of the Middle Eastern “Big 3” airlines (along with Emirates and Qatar). Air Tahiti Nui, Hawaiian Airlines, and Fiji Airways fly between the mainland US (and other destinations) and the South Pacific.
You might be less familiar with Cape Air, which has limited participation with American Airlines (only 4 routes from St. Louis, Missouri) and Seaborne Airlines, a small, Puerto Rico based airline that flies within the Caribbean. And Interjet is a small carrier based out of Mexico City, but you’re limited only to earning (not redeeming) American Airlines miles on Interjet.
American Airlines has developed strategic airline partnerships that give you access to award flights on 6 continents and cover most of the globe!
How Much Do American Airlines Partner Award Flights Cost?
Booking award flights with American Airlines miles is fairly straightforward. There are 2 American Airlines award charts – one for travel on American Airlines and American Eagle, and one for American Airlines’ partner airlines.
The partner award chart is slightly more expensive on some routes, and doesn’t offer discounted domestic short-haul or off-peak pricing (except to Europe).
Here’s a complete guide to deciphering the American Airlines award chart.
Awesome American Airlines Partner Awards to Book With Miles
Because American Airlines has so many partner airlines (outside the oneworld alliance), there are dozens of ways to redeem your miles for flights that work for you. Below are a few of my favorite award redemptions with American Airlines miles on their non-alliance partners. Maybe you’ll find something unusual and useful here for your travels!
1. Flights to the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, or Africa With Etihad
Etihad delivers an excellent onboard experience, incredibly vast route network, and overall great travel experience (in all classes of service). They also release generous amounts of award seats, making it easier to book flights for the whole family or when traveling with your significant other.
My wife and I have used American Airlines to book award flights on Etihad on several occasions (in coach, Business Class, and even in the luxurious First Class Apartments!) and have consistently received outstanding service and enjoyed the journey.
For folks looking to travel to the Middle East or India, booking Etihad award flights is an excellent use of American Airlines miles. If you’d rather travel to Africa, I recommend you book on Qatar Airways – connecting through Doha -so you can book your entire journey as one flight award. American Airlines won’t allow routing via Abu Dhabi to Africa on a single award ticket.
One-way award flights between the continental US and the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent cost 40,000 miles in coach, 70,000 miles in Business Class, and 115,000 miles in First Class. This can be a great use of your American Airlines miles, especially on lengthy and expensive Business and First Class itineraries.
2. Visit Incredible South Pacific Islands With Air Tahiti Nui or Fiji Airways
My wife and I redeemed American Airlines miles for Air Tahiti Nui award flights from Los Angeles to Pape’ete on our recent babymoon. We had a great time and enjoyed the island-themed airline and gracious flight attendants.
The service in coach was friendly and attentive, and we even lucked out with an empty middle seat! You can now book these award flights online, and one-way flights between Los Angeles and Tahiti cost only 40,000 miles each way in coach or 80,000 miles each way in Business Class. Award seats are readily available if you book far in advance (9 to 11 months) but can be had closer in as well if you’re flexible. Also keep in mind that you can fly with Air Tahiti Nui to Australia, Japan, and Paris, too!
Award flights on Fiji Airways from the US to Nadi are also a great option for a tropical vacation. You can book these at the same award prices (40,000 miles in coach and 80,000 miles in Business Class, each way) and also depart from Los Angeles.
3. Generous Award Availability on Flights With Alaska Airlines
Along with many frequent flyers, Alaska Airlines has recently become my favorite domestic airline. Their excellent customer service, laid back attitude, and recent market growth (with the acquisition of Virgin America) are just a few noteworthy reasons!
Their recent growth also means that award flights are more accessible than ever, including many flights out of San Francisco airport and flights between the continental US and Hawaii!
These award flights cost the same number of miles as they would on American Airlines (except there’s no off-peak pricing), but are easier to find and come with even friendlier employees. 😉
4. Niche Caribbean Award Flights With Seaborne Airlines
Finally, you can use American Airlines miles for solid value on short flights between various Caribbean Islands. This is only particularly useful for Caribbean hopping, but you can still find great deals when flying to island destinations such as Anguilla, Dominica, Santo Domingo, St. Croix, St. Thomas, and Tortola.
For example, a paid flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Anguilla can cost in the ~$200 range for just a one-hour flight in coach! Or, you could redeem just 7,500 American Airlines miles for a fantastic value flying on Seaborne Airlines.
How to Earn More American Airlines Miles
American Airlines miles are really easy to earn from credit card welcome bonuses and spending, including:
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® – Our review of the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – Our review of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card – Our review of the American Airlines MileUp (no annual fee!)
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – Our review of the Citi AAdvantage Executive
Right now the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® offers the highest welcome bonus of any American Airlines card. And a lot of readers have jumped on the American Airlines AAdvantage Mileup Card because it has no annual fee and earns 2X American Airlines miles per $1 at grocery stores.
If you have a decent stash of American Airlines miles or are eyeing an award trip to any of these unique destinations, it’s worth taking a closer look at American Airlines’ non-alliance partner airlines.
Although some are very niche and likely won’t be part of your upcoming travel (I’m looking at you, Cape Air!), booking award flights on airlines such as Etihad, Fiji Airways, and Air Tahiti Nui can offer tremendous value and might be a perfect fit for your travel plans.
Don’t forget there are lots of ways to earn American Airlines miles, especially from cards like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® which has an increased welcome bonus, and the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card which has no annual fee.
Do you have a favorite American Airlines non-alliance partner? Share your experiences in the comments!