Brand New American Airlines Premium Economy Awards – Here’s the Good and the Bad

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Brand New American Airlines Premium Economy Awards – Here’s the Good and the Bad

JasonBrand New American Airlines Premium Economy Awards – Here’s the Good and the BadMillion Mile Secrets Team

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When one of the major US airlines makes a change, it usually isn’t long until the other competitors follow suit.  This is usually bad news, but every now and again the changes turn out to be useful.  You can already book Premium Economy awards with Delta and United Airlines, and just recently American Airlines added the same option.

Premium Economy isn’t just seats with extra legroom, like an exit row seat.  It’s a separate cabin in between Economy and Business Class.  It’s a nice alternative if you’re looking for increased comfort, but don’t want to shell out the miles (or cash).

I’ll let you know which American Airlines planes have Premium Economy seats and what you’ll pay for a Premium Economy award ticket.

Get a More Comfortable Seat for Fewer Miles Than Business Class With American Airlines Premium Economy Awards

American Airlines Premium Economy Awards

Currently, the only way to book American Airlines Premium Economy awards is with American Airlines miles.  So no partner airlines have access to them.

These Premium Economy seats are just like domestic First Class seats (not lie-flat) and come with other perks like an amenity kit, improved food options, and two free checked bags.

American Airlines Premium Economy seats are available on the following aircraft with more coming soon:

  • 777-300s
  • 787-8s flying internationally and to Alaska
  • 787-9s
  • A330-200s
  • 777-200s

As expected, Premium Economy awards are priced in between Economy and Business Class awards.

Here is the chart:

Comparing Economy awards to Premium Economy awards there are some sweet spots:

  • Asia 1 & Asia 2 for 15,000 more miles than Economy
  • Alaska for 10,000 miles more than Economy
  • Europe for 10,000 more miles than Economy
  • South America 2 for 10,000 more miles than Economy

The best deals here are Europe and South America.  I could see myself booking Premium Economy awards to Europe, assuming it isn’t a nightmare trying to find available awards seats.

One thing to note is that there is no peak or off-peak pricing for Premium Economy awards.  So if you happen to be traveling on off-peak dates, the price difference between Economy and Premium Economy on some awards will be greater.

There are also some Premium Economy awards that don’t look like great deals:

  • Hawaii for 27,500 miles more than Economy during peak season, 30,000 miles more during off-peak season and only 5,000 to 12,500 fewer miles than a Business Class award
  • South Pacific for 25,000 miles more than Economy and only 15,000 fewer miles than a Business Class award

For flights to Hawaii or the South Pacific, you’re probably better off booking a Business Class award as long as you can find available award seats and you have the extra miles.

Options for Earning American Airlines Miles Without Flying

The only transferable points program that includes American Airlines as a partner is Marriott.  But Marriott points are usually more valuable if you transfer them to other partners, so I recommend earning American Airlines miles with their co-branded credit cards.

American Airlines partners with 2 banks, so you can earn miles with any of these cards:

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Trying to book awards with business class seats is a joke. You have to fly BA and then the cost is 550$ each for taxes. There are no Europe flights available to fly business class awards to Europe. Not sure AA rewards are worth it. And I’ve got Almost 300k in miles. Not spending 100k miles each way. That’s insane. I’m so dissatisfied.

PE award availability for me so far has been highly disappointing. Many days that show Saver fares for business at 57.5k have PE at 110k for the same flight. For me it’s really becoming one of those things that I’d have rather them not launched then put it out there and have no availability on a flight. On some I viewed it doesn’t appear that any PE has been sold yet there is only Level 2 costs which are more than both biz and first on the same flight. The new mileage part on both the app and website don’t help since they whereas online if you go through the normal booking with miles you can see the Saver fare for Biz/First if you use the “new” link it looks like that is overly expensive (at 180k vs the 57.5k available). To wait this long and have this launch is highly disappointing. I’ll fly less this year (current Plat Pro) but am thinking of trying Delta (for Air France sales) or United (but awards seem much higher) as at least there appears to have more availability.

Author

That’s crazy, hopefully they start to rollout more Saver Awards for PE soon. What routes were you looking into?

I Agree with your assessment of United Airlines, definitely more costly, but at least you can actually book what you want to book. Now that I have a United card that’s even more the case.