Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.

American Airlines off peak awards are one of the best deals with miles. At the moment, for between two and seven months a year, American Airlines miles can book discounted economy awards from the United States to (one way price):

  • Mexico: 12,500 miles
  • Caribbean: 12,500 miles
  • Central America and Northern South America: 15,000 miles
  • Hawaii: 17,500 miles
  • Southern South America: 20,000 miles
  • Europe: 20,000 miles
  • Korea and Japan: 25,000 miles

Read more about American Airlines off peak awards here. And read this about how American Airlines off peak awards change on March 22, 2016.

Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book American Airlines award space plus these other partners (except AeroMexico is “unavailable until further notice” and Hainan “will be available for booking in early 2016.”).

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 1.35.49 PM

A truism of miles is that the miles you’re using–not the airline you’re flying–determines which award chart you use, so we look at the Alaska Airlines award charts when booking American Airlines flights with Alaska Airlines miles.

Alaska has tons of award charts, broken down by the airline you want to fly and where you want to go. On several of those charts, Alaska lists discounts for flying American Airlines economy flights during the off peak windows.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.02.37 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.02.45 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.02.13 AM

Alaska offers discounted economy awards from the United States on American Airlines flights to (one way price):

  • Central America and Northern South America: 15,000 miles
  • Southern South America: 20,000 miles
  • Europe: 20,000 miles
  • Korea and Japan: 25,000 miles

For those regions, Alaska offers the discounts on the exact same dates as American Airlines offers its off peak discounts. Oddly, American Airlines flights to Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean do not see off peak discounts when you book them with Alaska miles.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.49.46 AM

American Airlines charges 12,500 AA miles for these flight, but Alaska doesn’t offer off peak pricing on American Airlines flights to Mexico.

Stopovers & Free One Ways

How can you trick out these off peak Alaska Airlines awards that fly American Airlines flights?

First you have to understand them. The discounted award prices when using Alaska miles apply only to American Airlines flights, not flights on other partners. For instance, on March 1, you can use 20,000 Alaska miles from New York to London (off peak price), but the British Airways flight on the same route costs 32,500 Alaska miles because off peak award pricing doesn’t apply to other partners. (Also note the dastardly fuel surcharge on the British Airways flight.)

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.49.38 AM

Second, you have to understand two rules for all Alaska Airlines awards:

  1. Alaska Airlines one way awards can fly only one partner OR one partner plus Alaska. For example, a valid award can fly all American Airlines flights or Alaska + American Airlines flights, but not American Airlines + British Airways flights.
  2. Alaska Airlines one way awards can have one stopover for as long as you’d like, subject only to the rule that all flights must be flown within one year of the original booking.

The first rule limits our routings, but the second rule opens up chances for stopovers or free one ways. To search for an award with a stopover, tick the “Multi-city” circle, and search from your origin to your stopover and from your stopover to your destination.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.53.41 AM The stopover is free because the award still prices at the off peak price, in this case 20,000 Alaska miles from the Unites States to Southern South America.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.53.59 AM

This off peak itinerary has a one month stop in New York and includes both Alaska Airlines and American Airlines flights.Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.54.33 AM If you live in Seattle, that would be a one month stopover in New York.

If you live in New York that would be a free one way from Seattle to New York, followed by a one way award to Rio de Janeiro a month later. This shift in perspective illustrates that a free one way is really just a stopover at your home airport.

Similarly here is an off peak award to Japan for 25,000 miles one way with a two month stop in Chicago on all American Airlines flights.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.59.03 AM

If you live in Tampa, that’s quite a stopover in Chicago, and you might prefer to shorten it to a few days. If you live in Chicago, then it is a free one way from Tampa to Chicago, followed by the main award to Tokyo a few months later.

Two Free One Ways

Because you get a free stopover each direction, you can book a roundtrip with two stopovers or two free one ways.

Bottom Line

Alaska Airlines miles can be used to book many American Airlines flights at off peak prices. American Airlines miles can book off peak awards to more places and on more partners, but Alaska Airlines miles can book off peak awards that include stopovers or free one ways.

Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 months. Plus, new Sapphire Preferred cardmembers will enjoy a one-time, automatic $50 statement credit on grocery store purchases

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points earned on dining and travel spend, this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.