MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.

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

Yesterday’s post on the Coolest Thing You Can Do with 60,000 Miles was a hit, so I thought I’d follow up with how you can create your own THINK BIG itineraries with miles.

The basic premise of that post was connecting far-flung regions into a single trip by taking advantage of under-priced awards between the regions. In that vein, I’ll post some under-priced awards between international regions from the American Airlines chart today and United chart tomorrow.

AA Award Chart, Spot the Value
AA Award Chart, Spot the Value

Why American and United awards? Because they can be booked as one way awards, and these THINK BIG trips allow you to see more by booking a series of one way awards.

I’m including the cheapest one way international awards between non-American regions only because the cheapest international awards from the United States are better known.

Hopefully seeing cheap ways to get between East Asia and Australia or Europe and the Maldives will spur you to THINK BIG and come up with a really creative trip that incorporates both places.

1. First Class: 40,000 Miles Between Europe and India, Maldives, Middle East

or 30,000 miles in Business Class

American groups the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Maldives into one region, and then it under-prices many awards to and from the region!

Between Europe and the Middle East, India, or Maldives is only 30,000 American Airlines miles in Business Class and 40,000 miles in First Class.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 10.46.52 AM

Key routes to consider are Dubai to London on a Qantas A380 and Abu Dhabi to London with Etihad. Both feature absolute world class First Class products for the same price as you’d expect to pay for domestic First Class to Hawaii!

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.03.21 AM
7hr30min of A380 First Class for 40,000 miles

You can use these under-priced awards to get between Europe and Asia on a round-the-world trip.

  • What are the other top five under-priced awards on the American Airlines chart?

2. Business Class: 30,000 Miles Between Middle East and East Asia

or 45,000 miles in First Class

Between the Middle East, Maldives, or India and East Asia costs only 30,000 American Airlines miles each way in Business Class and 45,000 miles in First Class.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 10.49.52 AM
Cheap Prices Between the Middle East and Asia 1 or Asia 2 (collectively, all of East Asia)

Key American Airlines partners with luxurious flights between the regions include Qatar, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, and Malaysia Airlines.

This sweet spot is easily combinable with the previous sweet spot between Europe and Middle East/India. For instance, you could go:

  • from Tokyo to the Maldives for 30,000 American Airlines miles in Business Class
  • then the Maldives to London for 40,000 American Airlines miles in First Class.

That’s 70,000 total miles for luxurious travel around half the world. Another 45,000 total miles could book the segments in economy from the United States to Tokyo and home from Europe. That would be an incredible 115,000 American Airlines miles spent!

3. First Class: 60,000 Miles Between Korea/Japan and Australia/New Zealand

or 45,000 miles in Business Class

Between Asia 1 (Korea, Japan, and Mongolia) and Southwest Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific islands), American Airlines charges only 45,000 miles in Business Class or 60,000 miles in First Class.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 10.58.28 AM

I think the key route in the region is Tokyo to Sydney on Japan Airlines. Starting 12/1/14, it will be operated by a 777-300ER with eight First Class suites. Right now award space is excellent on the route, and at 60,000 miles for 10 hours of flying in your own suite, it is a steal.

This route would be great as part of a triangle trip from the United States to Japan to Australia or New Zealand and home.

4. First Class: 45,000 Miles Between S.E. Asia/China and Australia/New Zealand

or 35,000 miles in Business Class

It’s even cheaper to fly from China or Southeast Asia to Australia and New Zealand with American Airlines miles even though the distances are not much shorter.

Check out Cathay Pacific flights for a world-class Business Class and First Class experience.

5. First Class: 50,000 Miles Between Africa and Europe

or 37,500 miles in Business Class

Africa to Europe for 50,000 American Airlines miles each way in First Class or 37,500 in Business is a steal since South Africa to London is over 11 hours.

The problem is that the main American Airlines partner with flights to Africa is British Airways, and there are big fuel surcharges on British Airways flights.

One way from Jo’burg to London prices at 50,000 miles and $355 in First Class on a British Airways A380.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.12.31 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.12.36 AM

Without the fuel surcharges, this would be a steal. With the fuel surcharges, this is just a fair deal in my opinion.

Did any of the routes catch your eye? How can these cheap routes combine with other cheap routes from other mileage programs for THINK BIG trips?


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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 75,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), 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.