New: Use American Airlines miles to book partner premium economy seats — and why you should care

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I don’t use the term “hell on earth” casually.

Just yesterday, my wife and I completed 17 hours of hipbone-to-hipbone international coach travel heading home from South Africa. I’m not bothered flying in coach, but the number of seats some airlines cram onto their planes is particularly insulting.

What can you do if you want to stretch your legs without splurging on business class seats? American Airlines answers the problem by expanding its premium economy award flights to partner airlines. You can now book British Airways premium economy (called World Traveller Plus) with American Airlines miles via AA.com. We expect additional partners added soon.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
British Airways premium economy is far better than coach, but miles behind a  business class seat. (Photo by Ben Smithson)

Book premium economy award seats on American Airlines partner

Earlier this year, American Airlines introduced the option to book premium economy seats on American aircraft with AAdvantage miles. Now available are premium economy seats on partner British Airways, between New York (JFK) and London Heathrow. Prices start at 40,000 miles one-way, and there are plenty of available seats. Here’s a calendar view of next month.

Peak pricing for a one-way flight to Europe is 30,000 American Airlines miles. Another 10,000 miles will make your seven-hour transatlantic commute significantly more tolerable. However, we regularly discourage readers from using their AAdvantage miles for flights on British Airways because of their added fuel surcharges. A premium economy flight on British Airways from New York to London will cost:

  • 40,000 American Airlines miles AND ~$200 in taxes and fees one-way
  • 80,000 American Airlines miles AND ~$700 in taxes and fees round-trip

To keep prices low, it’s best to stay away from British Airways. The ability to book these seats is only great news because it’s a precursor of what’s to come on the American Airlines website. A spokesperson for the airline confirmed their plan is to soon expand this option to its other partners, of which many are top-notch. Think Japan Airlines, Iberia and Cathay Pacific. American Airlines has given premium economy prices for the regions those airlines fly. Look at the bottom half of their Oneworld award chart:

For example, flying to the Middle East will cost 62,500 miles one-way in premium economy, and flying to Asia will cost 50,000 miles one-way in premium economy. As a quick reminder, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is currently offering an abnormally high 70,000  bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. You can read our review of the card here and about other great ways to redeem American AAdvantage miles.

The information for the 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.

We’re not sure exactly when American Airlines will open premium economy awards for these other partners, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out. You can subscribe to our newsletter for travel news and info like this delivered once per day to your inbox.

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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