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American AAdvantage cheat sheet for using miles: Airlines, Fees, Alternatives, And More

by on Thu August 6, 2015 • 60 Comments
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If you’re new to American AAdvantage miles, or don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them, here is a cheat sheet with the least you need to know to get the most out of your miles.

You’ll be prepared for fees, know where to look, and where to get extra miles when you need them.

Airlines you can book and where to find award space

The list below shows all the airlines you can book with AAdvantage miles and where to search for available award seats.

RegionAirlineWhere to check award space
AsiaCathay PacificBritish Airways, Asia Miles, or Qantas website
AsiaJapan AirlinesBritish Airways website
AsiaJet AirwaysJetAirways.com (registration required) or call AA
AsiaMalaysia AirlinesBritish Airways website
EuropeAir BerlinAA.com
EuropeBritish AirwaysAA.com
EuropeFinnairAA.com
EuropeIberiaAA.com
EuropeS7 AirlinesBritish Airways or Qantas site
EuropeSri Lankan AirlinesBritish Airways or Qantas site
Latin AmericaLATAM AirlinesBritish Airways or Qantas site
Middle EastEtihad AirwaysEtihad Airways website (look for 'Guest' award seats)
Middle EastGulf AirExpertFlyer.com (not free)
Middle EastQatar AirwaysBritish Airways or Asia Miles website
Middle EastRoyal JordanianAA.com
North AmericaAlaska AirlinesAA.com
North AmericaCape AirCall
North AmericaHawaiian Airlines (except to Mainland U.S. after 9/2015)AA.com
North AmericaSeaborneCall
PacificAir Tahiti NuiExpertFlyer.com (not free)
PacificFiji AirwaysQantas website
PacificQantasAA.com

One of the most frustrating things about AAdvantage is that by default you won’t always see partner flights like those from Alaska Airlines or Iberia displayed when you search on AA.com. You need to follow these steps to make them show up.

You also won’t find some partner airline flights at all on the AA.com website, including Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. To get around that you can try doing an award search on the British Airways, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, or Qantas 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.

Here are the airlines that you’ll find on each site that you won’t find on AA.com, and links to guides that explain how to search on each site:

  • British Airways.com – Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, S7, Sri Lankan Airlines, LATAM, Qatar Airways
  • AsiaMiles.com – Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways
  • Qantas.com – Cathay Pacific, S7, Sri Lankan Airlines, LATM, Fiji Airways
  • Etihad.com – Etihad Airways

When you find flights with award space available you can call AAdvantage to make the reservation and pay the usual AAdvantage mileage prices.

And if you don’t want to mess with those sites, AAdvantage phone agents on 1-800-882-8880 can also help you search for space on the partner airlines, and there’s no phone fee to book flights that aren’t visible on the American Airlines website.

Tip: If you’re trying to book Etihad Airways flights, some people report having better luck using the AAdvantage phone number for Australia on 02-9101-1948. Those agents sometimes see more award inventory than agents handling the U.S. phone lines

Tip: The Qantas site is easier to use than the British Airways site, since you can start an award search by choosing ‘Search Classic Flight Awards’ from the home page. Just note it doesn’t show Japan or Malaysia Airlines space. It also has a nice month long calendar view of availability that you can see below.

qantassearch

Award Charts: How much do awards cost?

American charges based on what regions you’re flying between, no matter what the distance or the number of stops along the way. Here are the award charts for flights to and from the mainland U.S.

Prices are one way, so a roundtrip will cost double the one way price.

MileSAAver awards are the lowest priced, but can be hard to find, so you’ll have to be flexible with dates, times, and connecting flights to take advantage of those prices.

The partner price applies when your trip includes a flight on one or more of American’s partner airlines like Alaska, Iberia, or Cathay Pacific.

Economy Class

DestinationAwards with a Partner AirlineAA Flights - Off PeakAA Flights - SaverAA Flights - Level 1AA Flights - Level 2
Contiguous 48 U.S. states12,500N/A12,50020,00030,000
Contiguous 48 U.S. states & Canada (nonstop, 500 miles or less) N/A7,50020,00030,000
Canada & Alaska15,000N/A15,00025,00040,000
Hawaii22,50020,00022,50040,00050,000
Caribbean17,50012,50015,00027,50037,500
Mexico17,50012,50015,00027,50037,500
Central America17,50012,50015,00027,50037,500
South America Region 120,00017,50020,00035,00050,000
South America Region 230,000N/A30,00055,00075,000
Europe30,000 (22,500 off peak)22,50030,00047,50065,000
Middle East40,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Indian Subcontinent40,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Africa40,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Asia Region 135,00032,50035,00062,50080,000
Asia Region 237,50032,50035,00065,00085,000
South Pacific40,000N/A40,00070,00090,000

Business Class (and First Class on planes with no Business Class)

DestinationAwards with a Partner AirlineAA Flights - Off PeakAA Flights - SaverAA Flights - Level 1AA Flights - Level 2
Contiguous 48 U.S. states25,000N/A25,00045,00055,000
Contiguous 48 U.S. states & Canada (nonstop, 500 miles or less) N/AN/A15,00045,00055,000
Canada & Alaska30,000N/A30,00050,00065,000
Hawaii40,000N/A40,00067,50090,000
Caribbean27,500N/A25,00050,00060,000
Mexico27,500N/A25,00050,00060,000
Central America27,500N/A25,00050,00060,000
South America Region 130,000N/A30,00065,00090,000
South America Region 257,500N/A57,500110,000150,000
Europe57,500N/A57,500110,000135,000
Middle East70,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Indian Subcontinent70,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Africa75,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Asia Region 160,000N/A60,000120,000155,000
Asia Region 270,000N/A70,000140,000175,000
South Pacific80,000N/A80,000175,000195,000

Note that if you’re flying within the U.S. on a plane that has both Business and First Class, AA may add 7,500 miles to the price of the award because these planes have nicer international style seats.

First Class (only on planes with a Business Class)

DestinationAwards with a Partner AirlineAA Flights - Off PeakAA Flights - SaverAA Flights - Level 1AA Flights - Level 2
Contiguous 48 U.S. states50,000N/A50,00085,00095,000
Canada & Alaska55,000N/A55,00090,000105,000
Hawaii65,000N/A65,000107,500130,000
Caribbean52,500N/A50,00090,000100,000
Mexico52,500N/A50,00090,000100,000
Central America52,500N/A50,00090,000100,000
South America Region 155,000N/A55,000105,000130,000
South America Region 285,000N/A85,000160,000190,000
Europe85,000N/A85,000140,000175,000
Middle East115,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Indian Subcontinent115,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Africa120,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Asia Region 180,000N/A80,000170,000200,000
Asia Region 2110,000N/A110,000180,000210,000
South Pacific110,000N/A110,000220,000260,000

Note that if you’re flying within the U.S. on a plane that has both Business and First Class, AA may add 7,500 miles to the price of the award because these planes have nicer international style seats.

Here’s the list of countries that apply to each region:

ZoneCountries Included
North AmericaU.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, Mexico
CaribbeanAnguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Vigin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts/Nevis
Central AmericaBelize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
South America Zone 1Brazil (Manaus only) Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela
South America Zone 2Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile (excluding Easter Island), Falkland Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay
EuropeAlbania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Indian Sub ContinentBangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Middle EastBahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
AfricaAlgeria, Angola, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Melilla, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Asia Zone 1Japan, Korea
Asia Zone 2Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
South PacificAustralia, Easter Island, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Palau, New Caledonia, Republic of Tonga, Republic of Vanuatu, American Samoa, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu

If you’re not flying to or from the U.S., here are additional price charts for award flights:

Tip: If you’re doing an advanced search using fare codes, Economy Class awards on American come from ‘T’ class, and Business Class seats come from ‘U’ class, while First Class seats come from ‘Z’ class.

What are fuel surcharges?

You won’t pay fuel surcharges for American Airlines flights, and most of its partners.

The exception is British Airways, and to a lesser extent, Iberia.

If you’re flying British Airways on a long haul flight to or from the U.S. 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:

  • Book one way instead of roundtrip tickets, as the fuel surcharge on two one way tickets (like Chicago to Paris, Paris to Chicago) is often hundreds of dollars less than the fuel surcharge on a single round trip award ticket from the U.S. That’s because one way tickets from Europe have lower fuel surcharges than those from the U.S. to Europe. You’ll pay the same number of miles either way.
  • Fly on American across the ocean to London, then use British Airways flights onward. Surcharges are only about $30-$40 when you’re adding short British Airways flights within Europe.
  • Come back to the U.S. from airports with low taxes like Dublin or Tel Aviv, which even when flying British Airways all the way through have surcharges hundreds less than other European airports like Paris or London.

Awards on Iberia also have fuel surcharges, but they are more reasonable, around $100 for a roundtrip flight in Business Class across the Atlantic. You can read more about avoiding fuel surcharges here.

What are award change and booking fees?

  • Close-in fee: $75 when you book less than 21 days before departure (waived for Premier level fliers)
  • Change date: Free if 1) the new date is more than 21 days after the date you originally booked the award, 2) your origin/ destination cities stay the same, 3) the award level stays the same, and 4) you’re not removing a non-OneWorld airline like Etihad from your trip. This is one of the best benefits of using AAdvantage miles. For all other situations you’ll pay a $150 change fee.
  • Change airlines: Free more than 21 days before departure as long as you’re not switching from a non-OneWorld partner like Etihad Airways and your origin, destination, and award level stays the same. Otherwise $150. For example you can switch from a British Airways flight to an American Airlines flight for free.
  • Change origin/destination cities: $150
  • Cancel and redeposit miles: $150

What are the best award values?

Some of the better values if you can find them are:

iberia

  • Business Class seats to Europe for 57,500 miles one way on American’s own flights as well as Air Berlin and Finnair, which don’t impose any fuel surcharges. Iberia is also the same price, with only around $100 in surcharges on a roundtrip flight. Here is a list of no fuel surcharge routes to Europe.

japanairlinesfirst

  • First Class to Japan and Korea for 80,000 miles one way on American or Japan Airlines with no fuel surcharges. You can’t book Japan Airlines online, but check the British Airways site for seats and call in to book.

cathay

  • Business Class to Asia for 60 – 70,000 miles one way on American, Cathay Pacific, or Japan Airlines with no fuel surcharges.

qatarbusinessclass

  • Business Class to India or the Maldives for 70,000 miles one way. You can fly Qatar or Etihad Airways and avoid fuel surcharges.

qatarafrica

  • Business Class to Africa for 75,000 miles one way. You can fly Qatar Airways via Doha and avoid fuel surcharges. British Airways also flies to Africa but you’ll get hit with big surcharges, and while Etihad Airways also flies to Africa there’s an arcane restriction that forces you to pay for two separate awards when you fly Etihad from the U.S. to Africa.

qantasbusiness

  • Business Class to Australia for 80,000 miles one way. Award space is very hard to find on Qantas or American, but Fiji Airways is another option via Los Angeles.

Can you upgrade with miles?

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. Here’s a guide to upgrading with AAdvantage miles.

 

Tip: Make sure you request an upgrade more than 21 days in advance if you’re not an AAdvantage elite member. Otherwise you’ll get hit with a $75 close in fee on top of the upgrade fee.

Tip: If an upgrade isn’t available you can be placed on a waitlist to clear if upgrade space opens later on. Miles and the cash fee won’t be charged until your upgrade clears.

Warning: The cash fee for upgrades is non refundable once you’re upgraded.

Tip: AAdvantage upgrades come out of ‘C’ and ‘A’ fare inventory, and you can check availability online if you have a paid subscription to ExpertFlyer.com. Otherwise, just call AAdvantage and they’ll check space and process upgrades over the phone.

Options when you can’t find MileSAAver award space

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 you see space open up.

Tip: If you can’t find MileSAAver space on your flight, you might have luck calling American and asking if they can open up space. American has a computer system that will sometimes release award seats on request. It’s rare that it will help, but it’s always worth a call to try.

What stopovers are allowed?

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.

What routing is allowed?

AAdvantage has some quirky rules governing where you can connect when you’re traveling internationally on an award. There’s a full rundown here, but some of the most important are:

  • To reach Africa you can only connect in Europe or use Qatar Airways via Doha. The Qatar Airways option is useful because it helps you avoid British Airways fuel surcharges.
  • To reach Australia you can’t go via Asia, which basically limits you to Qantas and American flights from the U.S., along with Fiji Airways flights via Fiji.
  • To reach Asia you must go over the Pacific Ocean. You can’t cross over via Europe or the Middle East. The exception is India, which is considered part of the Middle East region, and to reach India you can cross the Atlantic Ocean and connect in the Middle East or Europe, or you can cross the Pacific if you fly Cathay Pacific or American Airlines to Hong Kong, and then connect onward to India from there on Cathay, Dragonair, or Jet Airways.

If you really want to you can get around these rules, but you’ll need to pay for two 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.

The number of flights you take on an award is also limited.

For each one-way award redeemed for travel within the United States and Canada, a maximum of three segments are permitted. For all other destinations (including Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands), a maximum of four segments are permitted.

Can you hold an award seat?

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.

Alternative miles to book American flights

If you’re short on AAdvantage miles, you can book American flights using miles other than American AAdvantage.

Any OneWorld 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.

Note: While you can book American flights with these partner airline miles, you can’t combine these miles with your existing AAdvantage miles.

  • Alaska MileagePlan is a close partner with American and has award prices that are similar to what American charges.
  • British Airways Avios, which is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards often has much better prices than American for short nonstop flights. You can fly for as few as 4,500 points one way. The catch is British Airways charges separately for each flight segment, so trips with connecting flights cost more than nonstops. Avoid using these miles for trans Atlantic flights as British Airways adds stiff fuel surcharges to American Airlines flights.
  • Etihad Guest, which is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou, has prices that are lower than American’s current award prices.
  • Asia Miles, which is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou and American Express Membership Rewards, can sometimes cost fewer miles than using AAdvantage. For example, you can fly from Los Angeles to Hong Kong for 120,000 miles roundtrip with Asia Miles, compared to 140,000 miles with AAdvantage.

What hotel points can you transfer from?

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.

  • Marriott Rewards (rate varies from 5 points = 1 mile to 2.8 points = 1 mile depending on how many points you transfer – conversion rates are here)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest (1 point = 1 mile with an extra 5,000 miles when you convert 20,000 points)
  • Hilton HHonors (6.7 points = 1 mile)
  • IHG Club (5 points = 1 mile)
  • Club Carlson: (10 points = 1 mile)
  • Hyatt Gold Passport (2.5 points = 1 mile; extra 5,000 mile bonus when you convert 50,000 points)
  • Choice Privileges: (5 points = 1 mile)
  • Wyndham Rewards: (5 points = 1 mile)

Note: Be aware that most of the time there’s a minimum number of points you can transfer, usually 5,000 points or more which are listed here, but the numbers above will give you a sense of how far your hotel points can go.

What credit cards earn AAdvantage miles?

Direct

Personal: Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select ($95 annual fee – free checked bag), AAdvantage Aviator Red ($95 annual fee – free checked bag), AAdvantage Aviator Silver ($195 annual fee, earns elite qualifying miles), Citi Executive AAdvantage ($450 annual fee – Admirals Club membership), Citi Gold AAdvantage ($50 annual fee).

Business: CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select ($95 annual fee)

via Transfer

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.

When do credit card miles post?

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.

How do you transfer miles?

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.

Do AAdvantage miles expire?

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.

The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

Yes

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

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60 thoughts on American AAdvantage cheat sheet for using miles: Airlines, Fees, Alternatives, And More

  1. Mark

    My AA Miles are set to expire on 12-17-2017. I want to use some of these miles for a trip to NY on 12-21-2017. If I book this month (Oct. 2017) using my Miles, will it lock in the trip even though the miles are set to expire BEFORE MY TRIP?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Mark – Yes that’s fine. You just need to use the miles (have them deducted from your account by booking the flight) before the expiration. The ticket can be anytime in the window AA is selling tickets at the time you book.

      Reply
  2. Wendy Bledsoe

    I have already booked my flight and paid for my tickets, and realized I have enough miles for a discount on my flights, or an upgrade. Is it too late this time, or can it be adjusted?

    Reply
  3. Julian

    Hello,

    1) Looking to book a flight to Korea/Japan on Cathay Pacific. I looked on Qantas to find dates that show availability on business or first. Am I to assume that if I found these via Classic Partner City, it’ll be at the cost of 60,000 (or 80,000) AAsaver award and not the 120,000 AAnytime level 1? (Follow-up: how do you distinguish between the two?

    2) I have about 60,000. Is it possible to book just one leg of the trip on first and book the other via cash?

    Thanks and appreciate your help.

    Reply
  4. violet quashnock

    I want to go to the Bahamas .I do not know if i hav. enough miles at this time. How do igo about purchasing the diff. also how can I find out how many miles I need for a flight leaving on a thr.thru sun.

    Reply
  5. Mayte

    My travel agency forgot to put my AAdvantage # and I don’t have the ticket number since I had the ticket fligth in the AA app, and this number doesn’t appear. How can I claim them? I have all the info except that number

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Mayte – You should see the ticket number on your credit card statement for the charge – or call AA and they can look it up on 800 882 8880.

      Reply
  6. John

    I’m
    wondering if there is any way to use miles (points) to request the seat choice on an airberlin flight that is already booked but requires payment to choose your seat. Airberlin is a partner airlines

    Reply
  7. Erica

    Hi there. My cousin is flying me out to California from Pennsylvania using her AAdvantage miles. She gave me her login info to book the ticket. I’ve selected my flights and found how to add a family member to her account so that my name is associated with her. I’ve already found out that the credit card used to pay for the taxes and any fees has to be in her name, so I am getting that info from her. Will I have any trouble at the airport with the ticket in my name on her through her account?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Erica – You shouldn’t – it’s pretty normal for someone to book a ticket for a family member or friend to come visit.

      Reply
  8. Hank

    I’m flying the family from RDU to CUN for a family vacation on AA. Will I only get the miles for myself or can I get credit for the entire family on my aadvantage account?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Hank – Just for yourself. Each family member will need his / her own account to earn miles from the flight.

      Reply
  9. Tim Martin

    If I book a flight for myself and my husband with my brothers AA miles – can I pay the taxes, etc with MY AAdvantage CC or mustthe charges be made to my brothers cc???

    Reply
  10. patricia taylor

    im a virgin with the aadvantage card. my son works for american airlines, would the accumulative miles benefit me? i have 40,000 miles, if you fly within usa, do you still have to pay taxes or can i just use my miles? can more than one tix be booked at a time for different people? how far in advance do i have to book flights to use the miles? is there a limit on how many miles van be used at one time? thx.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @patricia – You can’t use miles to pay the taxes on a family pass ticket. Miles are useful if you want to be able to confirm your seat far in advance though, which you can’t always do with family pass travel – you can book tickets with miles as far out as you can buy a ticket with cash. 40,000 miles should be enough for a roundtrip ticket within the U.S. on many days.

      Reply
  11. Sharika

    I am trying to book a flight to EWR but I don’t have enough mileage to book round trip. How does that work? How much do I have to pay for the mileage that I am short on? Or should I just book a one way flight? Thanks in advance for your help.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Sharika – Book a one way will probably be your best bet. You could buy miles at aa.com/buymiles, but it’s probably not worth it if you have just about enough for a one way flight.

      Reply
  12. Teresa Tjaden

    Not sure if you know much about the buying miles on AA but right now they have bonus miles you get when you purchase. Do you know if those bonus miles can be used for my own travel or can they only be used in their gift program where you then gift them to someone? The details on their website were not clear. Thanks

    Reply
  13. Andrew

    I want to buy a ticket for my brother using my award miles through AAdvantage. I will not be travelling, but when I change the Passenger 1 name, it tells me that the name on my account has to match the government issued I, which in this case will be his ID…what do I do?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Andrew – Just click the ‘yes, remove it’ button when you see that. Then you’ll be able to enter the person’s name.

      That message is just for people whose AAdvantage account doesn’t quite match their name, and end up having to manually enter the name each time they book a ticket with miles.

      Reply
  14. Robert Fulton

    Do miles transferred to another account count towards the Advantage total for that year? For instance, I have ~23,500 miles this year and I wondered if I could transfer ~2K miles from my wife to put me over the 25K Gold threshold.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  15. Karen

    I have already booked flights for August 2017 using miles, milesaver on British Air from New York to Budapest, connecting thru Heathrow, booked on American (AA.com) site. Economy going over, business on return. Reservation confirmed but could not select seats, reservation/ticket issued. Level is Platinum Select. American said I cannot get seat assignments until 24 hours before flight when checking in. Not allowed to on British Air site, either. Paid $880.46 in fees, taxes in additon to 87,500 miles. Would really like to know seat assignments in advance, expecially on return, coming from Budapest. Thank you very much.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Karen- Did you try to go to the British Airways website to look at your reservation? Ask AA for your ‘British Airways confirmation number’ and enter it on the BA.com site. You won’t be able to select seats on the short Budapest portion, but you will on the London – New York portion.

      Reply
  16. dixieboz

    I am wondering how to search airlines for award space when I am not a member or have no miles. For instance, how do I know if I want to transfer Chase points to Singapore Airlines, or any other airline when I can’t search their award space? Do I need to sign up for every airline? Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Annie

    Planning a trip for 2 to Maui in early Feb 2017. (business trip) I have not booked a flight yet but wondering if I’m too late to buy 2 upgrades to First Class on American out of Dallas to Maui. Can I use miles on my Amex for that? Its been a long time since I’ve used miles !

    Reply
  18. Cindy

    I am new to the AA point system, however, I am currently planning a trip from IAD to LHR and the A380 flight I am wanting is on BA, because AA is not showing Premium Economy seating. What I want to know is how do I get AA points added to my AAdvantage rewards account for this BA flight?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Cindy – Easy, just login to your British Airways reservation and add your AA number in the frequent flier account section, or just have an agent do it for you at the airport or over the phone.

      Reply
  19. Pam

    I am planning a trip from HTS to either Dublin, London, Barcelona, Rome or just about anywhere else that I won’t have to pay the BA fees. I will be leaving in September, 2017. I know that these tickets are not available yet, but do you have some suggestions as to how to get business class tickets? Need two tickets.

    Thanks

    Reply
        1. Pam

          Thanks. When I try JFK-LHR, British Airways seems to be all I can use with my miles. Will this change?

          Also, is there any way that I can stopover Dublin on my way there?
          Thanks in advance

          Reply
          1. MileCards.com

            @Pam – It might – hard to tell in advance. You can book a flight to Dublin on the way out, then book your return from any city you’d like (like London or Madrid). You just need to buy your own ticket from Dublin to the other city, which is usually pretty cheap. Or pay extra miles for that short ticket.

  20. Mandy

    I called American Airlines, and asked they book me on a partner airline flight (they had a codeshare with an AA number flight) from JFK to Male in economy and than asked if I could use my AA miles to upgrade to business class and they told me I cannot because the flight is operated by Ethiad. Anyway to be able to do this?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Mandy – Unfortunately no way to upgrade Etihad flights with AA miles. The only way to get into Etihad business with AA miles is to book a full Business Class award outright, instead of buying a coach cash ticket.

      Reply
  21. Julie

    Can I book a flight from DXB to HYD round trip with any partner of AAdvantage? I have 15000 miles can I use them for booking?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Julie – Unfortunately you’d need 17,500 miles each way (35,000 roundtrip) for that kind of booking. Jet Airways flies the route (call to check on it), and if you’re willing to cross over to Abu Dhabi, Etihad also flies it.

      Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Joe Walker – Gift cards are the most versatile, though it’s not a great value overall compared to what you could get if you used your miles for flights. Create an account at Points.com to see options.

      https://www.points.com/#/

      Reply
  22. manny

    I have a multi-leg international partner award ticket for 2 pax that I wish to change the origin (actually add a leg at the beginning). As I understand it I have 2 choices. Pay $150 x 2 ($300) for change fee. Or redeposit the miles and rebook for $150 + $25 ($175), which is obviously cheaper.
    I called AA to do option 2 but the agent said that if I do that she would need to cancel the ticket entirely and start over from scratch and there would be no guarantee that the seats will be available, or if they would even go back in inventory. I asked her if she can just hold the seats while she makes the change. She said that’s not possible. I’m a bit nervous to let all the seats go as there are 5 flights and if 1 isn’t available my itinerary could fall apart.
    I recall being able to do what I wish, i.e. ‘redeposit’ the miles without actually canceling out the reservation. Any advise or experience appreciated.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @manny – How about call to try to book a fresh award (don’t mention your existing flights) and if the flights are available, put them on hold (it’s up to 5 days). Then cancel and refund your existing award.

      Reply
  23. Jerry Mandel

    No way to find AAward Business or First MileSaver flights to Europe on aa.com on AA, AB, IB, Finnair. All it will give is on BA via LHR with ripoff surcharges. And the AA phone agents are clueless. They can’t even find what is shown on aa.com. They can’t even find AB flights listed on AB’s website.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Vicki – You can buy more miles at aa.com/buymiles (or earn them some other way).

      At this time there isn’t an option to pay for the difference in the ticket.

      Reply
  24. Kenny

    Between 2 accounts, we have almost 500,000 AA awards. Can we book DFW-JFK-AUH on AA/Etihad to fly the A380 Apartment, then book another award AUH-SYD on Etihad in the A380 Apartment?

    Reply
  25. Kyle Keen

    I am trying to search ba.com for fliights from jax to hnl but the website keeps returning errors. I even tried searching new york to hnl. Any ideas?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Kyle – Well for getting to Honolulu there’s nothing the BA site would show that AA.com won’t. So for your HNL trip check AA.com for each leg to see what’s available. Alaska, American, and Hawaiian Airlines options all display on AA.com.

      Reply
  26. Tom

    Short on miles for award I booked but have enough earned to cover but not sure if they will arrive before they try to ticket the award. Have enough points in another account to cover the short amount on the award. What is the best thing to do wait till they try and ticket the account and then transfer the points if the points earned don’t arrive in time or to transfer the points ahead so the award will go through?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Tom – The paid transfer should be instant, so try to wait until the last hour. Or better yet – check the day they plan to ticket it and see if the award is still available separately. Then go ahead and put the award on hold again to buy more time.

      Reply

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