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So what happens when you need to book a flight on American Airlines but you don’t have any AAdvantage miles? Does that mean that you are out of options? Fortunately, this is another example of transferable credit card points saving the day.

Let’s look at how you can use Ultimate Rewards points to book American Airlines flights. 

When you have a good stash of Ultimate Rewards points, you can get anywhere in the world. And thanks to airline alliances, booking a flight using the miles of Airline A to fly on Airline B will get you exactly where you need to go.

American Airlines isn’t a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. However, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways and Iberia, two airlines that are AA’s partners in the Oneworld alliance. Because American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia are all partners, the miles of one airline can be used to book flights on another.

There’s a caveat though: American Airlines must have Saver level award space available for you to book American Airlines flights with partner miles. Therefore, you might find award space on AA but not on British Airways or Iberia. With the elimination of the award chart, it’s often hard to tell what is and isn’t a “Saver” award, so just be patient when you search the partner programs.

Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Iberia and British Airways at a ratio of 1:1, and transfers are usually instant. Keep in mind that the transfer is one-way only, so check that award space is available before you transfer Ultimate Rewards points.  

Another way to use Ultimate Rewards points to book American Airlines flights is to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Use British Airways Avios to Book American Airlines Flights

British Airways uses a distance-based award chart and charges by segment, so it’s best to use Avios to book short, nonstop flights. 

You need to create an account to search for availability. After you’ve signed in, hover with your mouse over “Book,” then click on “Book a flight with Avios.”

After you enter the flight information, you’ll see the search results on the next screen.

You should see how many tickets are left in each cabin. This could be extremely helpful when you are booking tickets for multiple passengers. 

Select your preferred flight and class of service, and you’ll see exactly how many Avios you need to book this flight.

Once you confirm that the award space is there, you can go ahead and transfer the points.

Use Iberia Avios to Book American Airlines Flights

Here’s another example of how you can use a partner program to book American Airlines flights. Like British Airways, Iberia has a distance-based chart. Unlike British Airways, Iberia actually publishes an award chart on its website.  

The best way to use Iberia Avios is to book short-haul nonstop flights. Iberia also charges per segment, so it’s best to avoid connections. 

Iberia’s site could be quite glitchy, so try to find award space on American or British Airways websites first. 

You need to create an account to search for award flights. After you’ve logged in, navigate to the “Travel” tab, then click on “Fly with Avios,” then plug in your flight information.

After clicking on your desired flight, you should be able to see the miles needed at the bottom of the page.

Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal to Book American Airlines 

If you can’t find any Saver award space or need to book a connecting flight, it might be best to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. All bookings made through the portal are considered by airlines to be revenue bookings, so there are no blackout dates or capacity controls. The price in points depends on the cash price. 

If you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Ink Business Preferred® credit card, your Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points are worth 1.5 cents each. 

To book the flights through the portal, just log in to your Ultimate Rewards account, navigate to and click on “Travel.”

The portal is easy to use, and the interface looks like any other online travel agency site.

On the next screen you’ll see the cash price and the price in points.

Pro tip: Compare prices in the portal and on airline sites before transferring points to an airline loyalty program. You might need fewer points on the portal if it’s an inexpensive flight or you come across a fare sale.

There are drawbacks to booking flights through the portal. Because it’s a third-party booking, you’ll have to deal with the portal’s customer service and not the airline in case of changes or cancellations. If you cancel the flight, you’ll be given a voucher and won’t get your points back.

Cards to Help You Earn Ultimate Rewards

Chase has a number of personal and business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. However, only the premium cards, those that charge an annual fee, allow you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners or to book travel through the portal. 

If you have one of the no-fee cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the Ink Business Cash® credit card, you need to transfer the points to a premium card first.

The Ink Business Preferred® credit card is a great card for a small-business owner.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $15,000 spend in 3 months

LEARN MORE 


Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best travel cards on the market. The benefits include travel protection and trip interruption insurance, and a $300 annual travel credit. Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem points through the travel portal at a value of 1.5 cents per point. The annual fee is $550.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

LEARN MORE 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

LEARN MORE 

Final Thoughts

You can’t transfer Ultimate Rewards directly to American Airlines, but there are still ways to book American Airlines flights with these valuable bank points. Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Oneworld partners British Airways and Iberia, and both of these programs can be used to book AA-operated flights. Another option to book American Airlines flights is to use the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. 

We are big fans of flexible bank points, such as Ultimate Rewards. Compared to the airline-specific miles, transferable points allow for maximum flexibility and can be used to book almost any flight on so many different airlines.