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American Airlines offers discounted MileSAAver awards within the United States and Canada to select cardholders, including people with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®, and the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®.

With all of those cards, you can book one way awards within the USA and Canada for as little as 6,500 miles for flights less than 500 miles flown or 8,750 miles one way for longer flights.

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Every two months, American Airlines publishes a list of new destinations in the United States and Canada eligible for discounted awards. The current list covers awards that must be booked by July 31, 2016 for travel by September 30, 2016.

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Award travel must originate somewhere in the continental United States or Canada and must go to a city on the very long destination list. Awards can be booked one way for 8,750 miles in economy or 21,250 miles in First Class. Roundtrip awards are double those prices.

You have to call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 to book the discounted awards. Luckily American Airlines just eliminated the phone booking fee for awards that can’t be booked online!

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Here is the full list of discounted destinations for June through September. Not all destinations are discounted each month. For instance, Aspen is only discounted in June while Greensboro is discounted all from July through September. Here is a very small excerpt of the list:

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How Good Are These Awards?

Let’s say you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®.

You decide to go from Los Angeles to Greensboro with your miles.

You pick out your American Airlines-operated flights with MileSAAver space.

At this point, you do NOT complete the purchase. Purchasing online will cost 25,000 miles. You have to call in to get your discount: 800-882-8880.

You book the roundtrip for 17,500 miles and $11.20. You use about 1/3 of the 50,000 mile bonus you got from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®.

  • Because you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®, you get an automatic 10% rebate on the award that is deposited into your account in a few weeks. That makes the net cost only 15,750 miles for a roundtrip.
  • Because you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®, you get a free checked bag in both directions, saving you $50 roundtrip.

United and Delta charge at least 25,000 miles roundtrip for longer domestic awards.

Short Haul Example

During the March 22 American Airlines devaluation, there were some silver linings. One is that domestic awards under 500 miles cost only 7,500 AA miles one way. If you fly such an award to a discounted city, you get 1,000 miles off per direction, bringing the price to 6,500 American Airlines miles. If you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®, you get a 10% rebate on redemptions, bringing the net price to 5,850 AA miles one way. The same flights would be 7,500 Avios or 10,000 United miles or an unknown number of Delta miles.

Bottom Line

Discounted domestic and Canada MileSAAver awards open to American Airlines credit card holders are a fantastic deal.

If you need to book a domestic award, see make sure to check what destinations are discounted. If your destination is on the very long list, you can save big miles.

Key Links

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