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American Airlines flights as little as 9,000 miles RT with Chase Sapphire Preferred

by on Sat November 19, 2011 • 6 Comments

British Airways, a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card point transfer partner, changed its frequent flyer program last week to the new ‘Avios’ system.

While using British Airways Avios miles for complex long international trips is a lot less attractive now, which burned people who hoped to use them on those big trips,  they have become a lot more attractive for use on basic  non-stop trips less than 2,000 miles using American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. That includes vacation hot spots like Mexico and the Caribbean.

Why? They now charge the miles based on 1) the distance of the flight, and 2) multiply that by the number of segments in your trip. The result is short-mid range no-connection flights (less than about 2,000 miles) are priced cheaper than they used to be.

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights are eligible for booking with British Airways miles as they are partners.

The point costs for flights work out as follows:

  • Tier 1: 9,000 roundtrip (4,500 one way) – flights of 0-650 miles each way
  • Tier 2: 15,000 roundtrip (7,500 one way) – flights of 651-1150 miles each way
  • Tier 3: 20,000 roundtrip (10,000 one way) – flights of 1151-2000 miles each way
  • Tier 4: 25,000 roundtrip (12,500 one way) – flights of 2001-3000 miles each way

Basically, if American Airlines or Alaska Airlines serves your destination non-stop in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico/Caribbean, you will pay the same or fewer miles using British Airways points rather than American Airlines or Alaska Airlines miles for the trips.

Here are some examples of good deals…

  • NY-Chicago: 15,000 miles British Airways vs 25,000 miles American
  • Chicago-Cancun: 20,000 miles British Airways vs 35,000 miles American (peak)
  • LA-Los Cabos: 15,000 miles roundtrip vs 35,000 miles Alaska
  • Dallas-Los Cabos: 15,000 miles roundtrip vs 35,000 miles American (peak)
  • Dallas-Vail: 15,000 miles roundtrip vs 25,000 miles American
  • NY-Punta Cana: 20,000 miles British Airways vs 35,000 miles American (peak)
  • Chicago-Denver: 15,000 miles British Airways vs 25,000 miles American
  • Seattle – Phoenix: 15,000 miles British Airways vs 25,000 miles Alaska
  • Los Angeles – San Francisco: 9,000 miles British Airways vs 25,000 miles American
  • NY-Montreal: 9,000 miles British Airways vs 25,000 miles American
  • NY-Orlando: 15,000 miles British Airways vs 25,000 miles American
  • Miami-Atlanta: 9,000 miles British Airways vs 25,000 miles American
  • Miami-Aruba: 15,000 miles British Airways vs 35,000 miles American (peak)

A lot of these were trips where using miles didn’t make much sense (low value per mile spent). For example, that NY-Orlando would typically cost $300 cash. Before when you had to pay 25,000 miles for that you were getting just over a 1% return on your points. Now, it’s over 2%, a healthy return that beats any cash back credit card.

You can use this online calculator to see how many miles a trip will cost. Just note, it doesn’t recognize Alaska Airlines routes, so you’ll have to trust our basic guidelines above for a general idea. Remember, though — non-stop flights are needed for these deals. If you have a connection, you get charged for each segment’s distance.

You can also call British Airways’ U.S. hotline on 800-452-1201 for details.

The best part of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card…you can wait to transfer your points into British Airways until you’re ready to book your flight. So you can check for options on United/Continental (the other big airline partner of the Chase Sapphire Preferred) for the best deal as well.

Once you decide, you can transfer points instantly, online.

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


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

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

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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6 thoughts on American Airlines flights as little as 9,000 miles RT with Chase Sapphire Preferred

  1. Diosma DETWILER

    I have a Delta Sky miles account. Usually pay my trips with the regular Sapphire….Would the Preferred Sapphire work for miles, discounts and VIP at airports?


      @Diosma – If you don’t transfer your points and use the points to buy Delta flights via the Chase travel site, you’ll get the same miles and priority you would get if you bought a ticket on your own.

  2. Max

    I have AAdvantage miles and would like to get the Chase Sapphire card. I read that I can transfer Chase Sapphire miles to British Airways frequent flyer program. Is that still the case? Once I do that how do I combine my AAdvantage miles with the British Airway miles. Do I book through British Airways and advise them of the AAdvantage miles or vice versa.

    My goal is take the family to Hawaii using miles.

    Thanks for your help.


      @Max – Unfortunately you can’t combine your AAdvantage miles and British Airways miles. But what you can do is use them to book one way tickets. Not sure how many points you have in each, but you can use BA miles for some one way tickets, and AA miles for some other one way tickets, all on flights of your choice. Mix and match as you’d like.

      Also note AA miles require at least 22,500 miles one way, while BA points can get you there for as few as 12,500 points if you’re coming from the West Coast.

      1. Max

        Thank you…we are coming from the west coast.

        Do you think it is wise to obtain the Chase Sapphire card based on the hoops I have to jump through to book travel between AA and BA. I was thinking about the Venture card?


          @Max – Check the routes you want to fly – if you see lots of award space on Alaska or American flights, then consider it. If not the Venture is decent for $400 in travel cash upfront.

          But hard to beat 12,500 miles each way to Hawaii even for just one or two tickets, and the rest paid.


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