If there’s one major airline program I love having miles with it’s the American Airlines AAdvantage program. Knowing the ins-and-outs of the American Airlines AAdvantage program can help you get some outsized value from your miles. 

One of the best ways to do so is by redeeming them with American’s partner airlines. Don’t let this stop you from looking at American Airlines own flights, but you’ll typically find more value with its partner airlines. 

Let’s take a deep dive into some of the best ways to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage Miles. You may be surprised to see how easy it is to get almost anywhere in the world with AAdvantage miles.

American Airlines Web Specials

If you’re looking to use your American Airlines AAdvantage miles to fly on an American Airlines flight itself, then AA webs specials are one of your best bets.

Introduced in late 2018, web specials allow you to book seats below the published award chart prices. You’ll find web specials available in economy, business, and even first class. AA web specials start at only 5,000 points each way, saving you 33% of the miles normally needed for a domestic US economy ticket. 

There are some limitations that come with web specials. You can’t make changes to web special flights like you can to normal award bookings, but you can cancel them and reinstate your miles for a fee.

AA Web Specials sometimes include offers like this cross-country flight for just 5,000 AA miles one-way per person.

Unfortunately, web specials aren’t published anywhere on AA’s site. You simply have to do a search to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage Miles and see if one shows up. You’ll know you’re seeing it if the miles needed are less than the miles required according to AAdvantage Award Chart.

If you know you won’t be changing your flights, web specials can be a great way to stretch your AAdvantage miles as long as flights are available for your travel dates. 

Reduced Mileage Awards

Reduced Mileage Awards may seem similar to web specials, but they’re a bit different. 

Reduced Mileage Awards are benefits extended to American Airlines AAdvantage credit card holders. The amount of the discount available varies from card to card, but checking for a reduced mileage award can be a great way to save up to 7,500 miles on a domestic award flight.

For starters, you’ll want to know how much of a discount you’ll receive. This all depends on which American Airlines AAdvantage co-branded credit card you have. If you have any of the following cards, you’ll receive 7,500 points off flights over 500 miles and 2,000 points off flights under 500 miles.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Visa®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® American Express®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Select Visa®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Select MasterCard®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
  • AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite MasterCard®
  • AAdvantage® Aviator® Red MasterCard®
  • AAdvantage® Aviator® Business MasterCard®

There are four cards that have a slightly smaller discount of only 5,000 points off flights over 500 miles, and 1,000 points of flights under 500 miles.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold American Express®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold Visa®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold MasterCard®
  • AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue MasterCard®

This isn’t an across the board discount. You have to check to see what cities are eligible destinations for reduced mileage awards. If a city is available, you can call reservations at 1-800-882-8880 to book your reduced mileage award. Note these reduced mileage awards have to be requested by phone and won’t be available online.

There are often a lot of cities available for reduced mileage awards. Be sure to check before booking your next domestic award flight to help save as many miles as possible.

Flights to Parts of South America

Knowing the ins and outs of award charts can be a great way to save a lot of miles on your next trip. American Airlines AAdvantage Miles can save you a ton of miles if you’re looking to fly to South America in business class.

In American Airlines’ award chart, South America is broken up into two different regions: South America region 1 and South America region 2. While flights in business class to South America region 2 cost 57,500 miles, flights to South America region 1 only cost 30,000 miles. 

South America region 1 primarily consists of northern countries in South America. You can fly in business class to any of the following countries for only 30,000 AAdvantage miles.

  • Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Guyana
  • Manaus (Brazil)
  • Peru

The only catch is most of the flights between the United States and South America region 1 aren’t operated by long-haul aircraft. You won’t find many flights offering lie-flat business class, and instead you’ll get larger seats similar to what you’ll find in domestic first class. 

While you won’t find the most glamorous business class offering on most of these routes, flying to South America in business class for only 30,000 miles is a great way to get there in comfort. If you’re not crazy about domestic-style business class, 17,500 miles to get to South America in economy is just as good. You can fly round-trip to Peru and visit Machu Picchu for only 35,000 miles. 

Flights to the Indian Subcontinent

You’ll be very comfortable in Cathay Pacific Business Class that you booked with AA miles.

If you dug a hole from the US straight through the earth, you’d find yourself swimming in the Indian Ocean. 

While India isn’t perfectly on the opposite side of the earth, it is about as close to it as you can get. What does that mean for you as a traveler looking to get to India? It means a lot of time in the air. 

There are very few non-stop flights between the US and the Indian Subcontinent. By American Airlines standards, the Indian Subcontinent includes the following countries.

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Kazakhstan
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

Your largest hub on the Indian Subcontinent is India itself. More and more nonstop flights are becoming available between the US and India every year. Even as a nonstop, the travel time is significant. Nonstop flights take between 16 and 17 hours. If you need a connecting flight, expect it to take 24 hours or more. 

Despite the long travel time, you won’t need a tremendous amount of miles no matter the class you’re traveling in. 

  • Economy Class – 40,000 miles
  • Premium Economy – 62,500 miles
  • Business Class – 70,000 miles
  • First Class – 115,000 miles

There are some strict routing rules to the Indian Subcontinent. This limits the airlines you can travel on. Thankfully, many of the airlines available are some of the best in the world.

You can, naturally, fly on American Airlines’ own non-stop flights. American launched flights between Seattle (SEA) and Bangalore (BLR) earlier this year. 

Additionally, you can travel on Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong, Qatar Airways via Doha, or Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi. These are partner airlines with American.

You can also transit via Europe, but most of your flights from Europe will be on British Airways which has high taxes and fees. You may pay $500 or more in taxes for a single award ticket to the Indian Subcontinent on British Airways.

Regardless of the class of service, these award rates are lower than most of the competition out there. Flying in business class for 24-30 hours for only 70,000 miles is a great way to travel half-way around the globe. 

Flights to Africa in Business Class for 75,000 Miles

Fly to Africa in style onboard Qatar’s Qsuites for just 75,000 AA miles per person one-way.

If you’re looking to head to Africa, award rates are fairly similar to what you’ll find to the Indian Subcontinent. Economy costs the same at 40,000 miles, while business and first class cost 5,000 more at 75,000 and 120,000 miles, respectively. 

Due to routing rules, you’re only allowed to transit across the Atlantic. This leaves you with two primary partners: Qatar and Etihad. You could also fly through Europe on partners like British Airways or Iberia, but you’ll likely find the taxes and fees to be so expensive you may as well pay cash instead. 

Most travelers enjoy using this sweet spot to fly the coveted Qatar Q-Suites. You’ll find Q-Suites operated from every US city Qatar flies to, and there are a lot. You can fly from the following cities to Doha, Qatar (DOH) and then on to South Africa for only 75,000 miles. 

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dallas Forth-Worth (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Washington DC (IAD)

These rates count for all of Africa. Whether you’re flying to northern Africa or all the way down to Cape Town, you’ll pay the same amount of miles if you’re leaving from the US.

Fly to Japan in First Class for 80,000 Points

First class to Japan onboard JAL is only 80,000 AA miles one-way per person.

Flying to Japan in first class for only 80,000 points is one of the best sweet spots in the American Airlines award chart. 

Considering credit card bonuses are often 60-70,000 points, you only need one card and a little bit more spend to get to Japan in first class. Unfortunately, business class isn’t quite as good of a deal at 60,000 miles. For only 20,000 miles more, you get the true international first class experience. 

You have two options for your first class flights. You can fly on either American Airlines or Japan Airlines. If given the chance, Japan Airlines should be your choice. Many people, myself included, don’t feel like American Airlines first class is up to par with what other airlines offer. That being said, you’ll likely find a lot more award availability in American Airlines first class than on Japan Airlines. 

American Airlines flies between Dallas Forth-Worth (DFW) and both Tokyo airports, Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Tokyo Haneda (HND). You’ll also find flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo Haneda (HND). 

Meanwhile, Japan Airlines flies to numerous US airports from the east to west coast.

  • Seattle (SEA)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • San Diego (SAN)
  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • Kona (KOA)
  • Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW)
  • Chicao (ORD)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Boston (BOS)

Not every Japan Airlines flight offers first class. Some of their planes only offer up to business class. You’ll find first class available regularly on routes scheduled to Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO). 

If you’re looking to fly first class to Japan, using only 80,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles and flying on one of the world’s best first class flights by Japan Airlines is the way to go.

Positioning Flights For Any Of These Awards

Finally, one of the best ways to use AAdvantage miles is for a positioning flight for any of these awards. American charges by trip, not by individual flight like some other award programs do. This means if you’re not based in a major AA or OneWorld Alliance hub, you don’t need to book a separate flight to get to one to take advantage of these deals. 

You can add a connection in the US before beginning your flight elsewhere at no extra cost. So if you’re based in Bozeman, Montana (BZN) and want to fly business class to the Indian Subcontinent, in the same 70,000 points needed for a flight from Seattle to Bangalore you can fly from Bozeman to Seattle. 

This may seem natural, but not every award program works this way. Many charge you per each individual flight which can really drive up the miles that you need to book your award ticket.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to love about the American AIrlines AAdvantage program. While it is often overlooked due to its lack of transfer partners, there are some great sweet spots, especially in long haul travel. 

If you’re looking for that dreamy honeymoon to the Maldives, 70,000 points in business class is a great way to start your journey. Or, if you’re wanting to experience true Japanese service, 80,000 miles to Japan in first class on Japan Airlines is hard to beat. If you’re hoping to hop down to Peru to visit Machu Picchu, then 17,500 miles in economy to get all the way to South America is a great deal.

Regardless of which sweet spot you use, these are some of the best ways to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles. 
If you need help redeeming your miles and navigating the award charts, feel free to check out our award booking service. Our expert award bookers know many of these best ways to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles inside and out, and will have you on the way to your next trip in no time.

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