Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
The list below shows all the airlines you can book with AAdvantage miles and where to search for available award seats.
One of the most frustrating things about AAdvantage is that you won’t find most partner airline flights displayed when you search on the AA.com website, which makes for a lot of hidden award options.
To get around that you can try doing an award search on the Qantas or British Airways websites. They are partners of American and their award search tools will display most of the partner airlines you can book with American AAdvantage miles.
You can access them by registering for a free Qantas or British Airways frequent flier account, which unlocks the ability to search for awards on their sites.
When you find flights with award space available you can call AAdvantage to make the reservation and pay the usual AAdvantage mileage prices.
If you don’t want to mess with those sites, AAdvantage phone agents can also help you search for space on the partner airlines, and there’s no phone fee to book those flights.
|Region||Airline||Where to check award space|
|Asia||Cathay Pacific||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Asia||Japan Airlines||British Airways website|
|Asia||Jet Airways||JetAirways.com (registration required) or call AA|
|Asia||Malaysia Airlines||British Airways website|
|Europe||Iberia||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Europe||S7 Airlines||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Europe||Sri Lankan Airlines||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Latin America||LAN Airlines||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Latin America||TAM Airlines||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Middle East||Etihad Airways||Etihad Airways website (look for 'Guest' award seats)|
|Middle East||Gulf Air||ExpertFlyer.com (not free)|
|Middle East||Qatar Airways||British Airways website|
|Middle East||Royal Jordanian||AA.com|
|North America||Alaska Airlines||AA.com|
|North America||Cape Air||Call|
|North America||Hawaiian Airlines (except to Mainland U.S. after 9/2015)||AA.com|
|Pacific||Air Tahiti Nui||ExpertFlyer.com (not free)|
|Pacific||Fiji Airways||Qantas website|
American publishes its award charts online and charges based on what regions you’re flying between:
Beware that awards involving British Airways flights carry substantial fuel surcharges. If you’re flying British Airways on a long haul flight expect to pay about $700 in taxes and fees on a round trip Economy Class ticket (about $500 of those are fuel charges) and $1,100 on a Business or First Class ticket.
You can still fly British Airways with your miles and pay fewer fuel surcharges with these tactics:
Awards on Iberia also have fuel surcharges, but they are more reasonable, and you can search for space on the Qantas or British Airways websites, then call in to book with your AAdvantage miles. You can read more about avoiding fuel surcharges here.
Some of the better values if you can find them are:
Yes you can, though you usually get more bang out of your miles by booking a First or Business Class award on its own, as American charges cash fees for upgrades.
The fees range from $75 for domestic flights to $350 for flights across the oceans and to Southern South America.
Unfortunately you can’t waitlist for award space if the type you want isn’t available. You’ll have to keep checking and book when ou see space open up.
American no longer allows stopovers on award tickets, though sometimes you can get an overnight stop in a city if there are no connecting flights available on the same day.
AAdvantage has some quirky rules governing where you can connect when you’re traveling internationally on an award. Here are some of the most important:
If you really want to you can get around these rules, but to do that you’ll need to book separate awards. For example you’d have to book a U.S. to Asia award and then an Asia to Australia award if you want to fly to Australia via Asia, paying separate prices for each award.
Yes, you can hold awards for up to 5 days before committing to them at no charge. This generous option is available when you reach the payment page on AA.com or by speaking to an agent, and you can even do it if you don’t have enough miles in your account.
If you’re within a week of your flight, the hold is limited to one day, so you can hold it until 11:59pm Central the following day.
If you’re short on AAdvantage miles, you can book American flights using miles other than American AAdvantage.
Any One World partner’s miles can access the basic MileSAAver level award seats, which opens up a few options to book American flights without using AAdvantage miles.
Economy Class seats come from ‘T’ class, and Business Class seats come from ‘U’ class, while First Class seats come from ‘Z’ class.
You can convert your hotel points into AAdvantage miles any time with no charge for the conversion. Every hotel program has a different conversion rate, and to make it easier to understand, we’ve calculated conversion rates needed for a single mile.
Business: CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select ($95 annual fee)
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express earns points you can transfer into American AAdvantage miles any time at 1 point = 1 mile. You also get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer, though transfers can take a few days.
Generally they post shortly after your monthly card statement is generated. However, Citibank will advance you miles early for a fee of $35, with a 2-3 day processing time if you need them sooner. You can call the number on the back of your card to request this.
You have to pay if you want to transfer miles from your account to someone else, and American charges $12.50 for every 1,000 miles you transfer, or 1.25 cents each.
It’s not a terrible deal, but if you can, you’re better off booking an award for someone else from your own account, since you can use your miles to book tickets for anyone you’d like, even if you’re not traveling.
AAdvantage miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. Any earning or spending of miles counts as activity, so as long as you do that, it will extend the expiration date of your miles another 18 months. And you can extend the expiration as many times as you’d like.
To avoid hassle, if you plan to earn some miles to keep them from expiring, like through online shopping, try to make sure your earning activity happens about 2 months before your miles are set to expire, as it can take a while before partner miles appear in your account.
If your miles did expire, you can pay a fee to reactivtate them, based on how many you’d like to reactivate.
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