MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. 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 americanexpress.com 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 I published the first part of a three-part look at 17 awards I’ve booked myself for travel between mid-2012 and mid-2014.

Today I’ll look at five more of the awards I’ve booked myself that range from economy flights in Argentina to First Class flights to my favorite award ever.

The awards I’ll discuss in this post

How many of these five awards could you have booked? How did I book them?

7. January 2013 from Melbourne to Los Angeles in Qantas Business Class with a Later Free Oneway

Anatomy of an Award: Using AA Miles to Fly Qantas Business Class

Trip Report: Melbourne to Los Angeles in Qantas Business Class on an A380

Notable for: This trip was notable for the free oneway I flew a few weeks after my trip to Australia to visit my mom in Tampa. I combined the free oneway with a few more one way flights to create a triangle of flights in the US for only $10 out of pocket.

The flights were notable for the chance to fly a Qantas A380 in business class, which I found very disappointing.

Award space on the flight in First Class disappeared the day before it would have been bookable with American Airlines miles. But there are some very cheap ways to get into Qantas A380 First Class that I’ve covered.

Skills Involved: This award required several important skills including:

8. February 2013 to Buenos Aires in American Airlines First Class

Anatomy of an Award: First Class to Buenos Aires with American Airlines Miles

Trip Report: American Airlines Flagship First Class from Miami to Buenos Aires

Notable for: The award was incredibly straight forward. I could have jazzed up the award to get more value in the abstract from my miles, and I ran through all the options I didn’t take advantage of in the Anatomy of an Award. It’s a classic miles conundrum: do you want to “maximize the miles” to say you did or take the trip you want? I took the trip I wanted by skipping the fancy stuff to get to Buenos Aires as soon as possible.

Skills Involved: Using aa.com.

9. March 2013 Roundtrip from Buenos Aires to Bariloche

Anatomy of an Award: Intra-Argentina flights with Avios and SkyMiles

Trip Report: Bariloche Part 1 and 2 (check those for photos of Patagonia!)

Notable for: The complete failure of Delta agents to ticket the Aerolineas Argentinas flights, forcing me to book my second-choice Avios award on LAN.

Skills Involved: Using Expert Flyer to search Delta partners like Aerolineas Argentinas and using ba.com to search LAN award space.

10. May 2013 Roundtrip from Buenos Aires to Iguazu

Anatomy of an Award: none

Trip Report: Part 1 and 2

Notable for: One of those rare good uses of Delta miles. Plus the Delta agents had no trouble at all ticketing my flights on Aerolineas Argentinas, which they had trouble doing for me two months before. (See above.)

The flights were notable because I’d heard that Aerolineas Argentinas might be the worst airline in the world, but I actually loved the flights. The planes were brand-new 2-2 regional jets with TVs at each seat, the service was nice, and the flights were only 15 minutes late, which is as on time as anything in Argentina.

Skills Involved: Using Expert Flyer to search Delta partners like Aerolineas Argentinas

11. August and October 2013 to Johannesburg, Munich, and Chicago with US Airways miles

Anatomy of an Award: South America, Africa, Europe, and North America in Biz for 100k

Trip Report: South African Business Class from Buenos Aires to Johannesburg

Notable for: This is my favorite award I’ve ever booked. It combined a sweet spot on the US Airways chart from South America to Europe in business class for 100k miles. It is the culmination of my understanding of US Airways awards, as it’s the first I’ve booked with both a stopover and an open jaw, which shouldn’t be allowed.

The award led me to figure out how to book Free Oneways on US Airways Awards.

The award also took advantage of the famous lack of routing rules and geographical knowledge of US Airways agents as routing through Africa one direction and North America the other direction added significantly to the miles flown.

Skills Involved: Searching united.com and the gift of gab to present the flights to the US Airways agent in a way that led to the pricing I wanted.

Overall these awards were a little more complicated than the batch presented yesterday.

The award in Qantas business class included a free oneway that required getting an agent to note my record locator that I could add segments for free in few weeks.

The intra-Argentina awards required pricing out all the options, searching on Expert Flyer, and having a Plan B when agents can’t ticket what you want.

The US Airways award that covers four continents in business class for only 100k miles speaks for itself!

Some of these awards would have been outside the skill set of a beginner, but hopefully after reading about them, you can re-create them for yourself if the desire arises.

Part 3 to Conclude




Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

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 60,000 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.