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

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

Joseph HostetlerNew: Use American Airlines miles to book partner premium economy seats — and why you should careMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

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.

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.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

More Info

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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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.

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.