Recently I updated “You Can Still Book on the Old American Airlines with Alaska or Etihad Miles” with the amazing news that 16 months after American Airlines devalued its award chart, Etihad and Alaska still let you book American Airlines flights at the old rates.

The best rates on the old American Airlines chart were off peak awards. During the following dates each year…

…American Airlines awards used to cost, and Alaska and Etihad still cost, only:

  • 20,000 miles each way to/from Europe
  • 20,000 miles each way to/from Brazil, Argentina, and Chile
  • 25,000 miles each way to/from Japan and Korea
  • 17,500 miles each way to/from Hawaii

There were also discounts to Northern South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, which Alaska still offers and you can find on Alaska’s award charts, but Etihad doesn’t appear to offer.

Good award prices mean nothing, though, without award space. So what is the award space on American Airlines flights during the off peak period?

It’s excellent.

It’s always been quite good because these are times when planes aren’t usually full, which is why they were off peak dates in the first place. Now the dates are still during low season, but American Airlines charges the full award price for most of the dates, so the award space is–if anything–better than it used to be. Let’s look at a few examples.

I’m searching on aa.com for two people and looking for “Economy MileSAAver” space. That’s the only space that Etihad and Alaska can book at off peak prices. I’m ignoring the prices on aa.com; when using Alaska or Etihad miles, we pay the price on their charts (which just happens to be the price on the American Airlines award chart from March 2016.)

Chicago to London

There is great, nearly perfect, award space this fall from October 15 when off peak awards start with Alaska and Etihad miles.

Similarly award space is great next Spring for the end of the off peak season (May 15.)

Los Angeles to London

More surprisingly to me, Los Angeles to London also has great award space. I’m only surprised because West Coast to Europe routes tend to have worse award space, but I guess even this route isn’t full during off peak periods.
With this route, and the Chicago flight, make sure you check the day you want, to ensure that the space is on American Airlines planes.

Alaska and Etihad miles can only book American Airlines planes at off peak prices (not, for instance, British Airways planes, another airline that flies these routes.)

On October 15, there is award space on the American Airlines flights from Los Angeles to London at 7:55 PM. You can book it for 20,000 Alaska or Etihad miles. You cannot book the other two British Airways flights for that price.

Similarly in May, you can book the 7:40 PM American Airlines flight for 20,000 Alaska or Etihad miles, not the three British Airways flights.

Miami to Madrid

At first glance, Miami to Madrid space looks great in October and May.
Unfortunately nearly all of it is Iberia award space (which just started showing up on aa.com.) That space, since it is not on American Airlines planes, is not bookable at the off peak price with Alaska or Etihad miles.

Miami to Buenos Aires

During part of the American spring, there is decent award space to Buenos Aires, though this route is a lot tougher to snag than most European routes.

Dallas to Tokyo

There is great award space to Tokyo in March and April that you can book for 25,000 Alaska or Etihad miles. Cherry blossoms anyone?

Bottom Line

Economy off peak awards on American Airlines planes are best booked with Etihad and Alaska miles, which offer cheaper award prices and longer off peak windows than when using American Airlines miles on the same flights.

Award space is very good during the warmest parts of the off peak window to Europe and Japan. Award space isn’t as good to Southern South America, but is still available.

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