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One of the best reasons to use a credit card is to accumulate some great rewards.
The best travel and airline reward cards can allow you to turn your everyday purchases into a trip of a lifetime. However, your rewards will only be useful when you redeem them. American Airlines has one of the most popular loyalty programs.
So, here we’ll explore how to redeem American Airlines miles for free flights and other rewards.
How Much Are AAdvantage Miles Worth?
American AAdvantage miles have a value of approximately one cent each. This means that these program points are worth a little less than the miles in programs such as Southwest Rapid Rewards or Delta SkyMiles.
However, the American Airlines program is still extremely popular due to the ease of earning miles and the numerous redemption methods.
One important point to note is that the one cent per mile is an average figure. So, it is possible to get more value for your miles according to the specific redemption method you choose. This is particularly relevant if you use Web Specials or MileSAAver awards.
Ultimately, your American Airlines miles’ value will depend on the cash prices of airfares. Therefore, it is crucial to understand all of the redemption methods so you can get the best value for your accumulated miles.
How to Get AAdvantage Miles?
You can earn miles if you’re a member of the AAdvantage® program. You can book flights on American Airlines, American Eagle®, any oneworld® airline, and our partner airlines, as well as rent a vehicle, book lodging, or plan a trip while keeping an eye on your points' accumulation.
You can also transfer your Citi ThankYou Points into American Airlines AAdvantage miles.
Lastly, you can earn more miles if you carry one of the American Airlines co-branded credit cards:
American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® Card
1X – 2X 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on grocery stores and eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
10,000 miles 10,000 miles and $50 statement credit if you spend $500 in first 3 months
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
1X – 2X 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
50,000 Miles 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
$99 Waived for the first 12 months
AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Up to 2x miles 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
50,000 miles 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
The AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the only travel credit card with Admirals Club® membership but its rewards ratio is quie low. The AAdvantage Platinum Select is cheaper and offers 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, which is a decent rate considering the value of each AA mile.
Lastly, American Airlines has a no-annual-fee card which is the AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card that also offers 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on grocery stores and eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
What Can I Redeem AAdvantage Miles For?
The most common way to redeem your AAdvantage miles is by booking flights. You can use your miles on domestic or international flights in place of cash when you’re booking tickets in any class. You can also use your miles with other airlines via the American Airlines partnership agreements. It works similarly to other frequent flyer programs such as redeeming miles with Delta.
However, if you’re not interested in booking a flight with your miles, there are other redemption options including:
- Upgrades: You can use your miles for flight upgrades to the next cabin on American Airline and some partner airline flights.
- Luxury Experiences: If you want to take your next vacation to a new level, you could use your miles for luxury experiences such as helicopter airport transfers or personal airport escorts.
- Rental Cars and Hotels: You can use your miles to book various hotel stays, rental cars and even vacation packages via the American Airlines portal.
- Admirals Club: Your miles can also be used to renew or purchase Admirals Club membership, which will provide you and up to two travel companions access to airport lounges across the globe.
- Donations: The American Airlines portal also has provision for you to use your miles to make a donation to nonprofit organizations.
- Newspaper Subscriptions: Finally, you can use your miles to purchase a digital subscription of a variety of newspapers according to your location.
How to Redeem Miles on American Airlines Flights
Using your AAdvantage miles to book American Airlines flights is one of the most straightforward redemption methods.
You can book both domestic and international flights, with the option of 350 destinations across 50 countries. While the domestic flight mileage rates are fairly standard within the travel industry, you can get very reasonable rates for international flights.
Steps To Redeem a Flight on AA Website
Redeeming your AAdvantage miles for an American Airlines flight is very simple. All you need to do is visit the AA website and search for your preferred award flights using the following steps.
1. Search Flights on AA Website
Log into your AAdvantage program account and search for available flights using your desired dates, arrival and departure airports.
Then, click on “Redeem Miles” to view the cost of flights in miles
2. Choose Your Flight
Select the specific flight you would like to book from the list of available options and confirm the passenger details and the appropriate contact information. Where applicable, select your seat
3. Review And Pay
- Review the trip details to ensure that all the information is correct
- Select the payment method for the taxes and fees
- Complete the booking with the “Pay Now” button.
How Many Miles to Redeem an American Airlines Flight?
There is a region based chart for AA pricing awards. Although the prices are not guaranteed, you can find flights such as:
- 8,000 miles for a one way domestic economy flight
- 60,000 miles for a one way business class flight to Europe
- 55,000 miles for a round trip economy flight to South America.
However, it is always worth checking different flight classes, as you could find European business class flights for 50,000 miles to 200,000 miles or more and domestic economy flights from 7,500 miles to 50,000 miles plus.
Another point to note is that the miles cost of flights will vary according to whether it is peak or off peak season. So, if you want to book flights for a summer vacation in August or for a Thanksgiving break, it will cost you more miles than at other times of the year.
AA Flight Awards: MileSAAver, AAnytime or Web Special
There are different types of American Airlines flight awards that will also determine how many miles you will need. These include:
- MileSAAver: MileSAAver awards are limited and only available on some flights. While they can be found on many American Airlines routes, they tend to go quickly. This means that you need to be prepared to book early.
- AAnytime: These awards allow you to use your miles to book seats on American Airlines flights with no blackout dates. However, these awards tend to be far more costly for your miles compared to MileSAAver awards. You could pay double or triple the number of miles for comparable seats and flights. There are two categories of AAnytime awards; Level 1 and Level 2, with the level of the award determined by the specific route and the time of year.
- Web Special: Occasionally, American Airlines offers its Web Special awards. From the program user’s point of view, these specials are random discounted flights. This means there is no way to predict when and where they will appear.
How to Redeem AA Miles on Partner Flights
If you can’t find an American Airlines flight to your preferred destination, you could use your AAdvantage miles on partner flights.
American Airlines has a comprehensive list of partners with which the airline has agreements for its program users. Due to these partnerships, you will be able to book some great awards whether you are flying economy or first class, domestic or internationally.
Generally, when you redeem your AAdvantage miles for a partner airline flight, it will cost you the same number of miles as you would spend with American Airlines. However, you will need to pay attention to any fees or surcharges imposed by the individual airline.
For example, British Airways has a reputation for its high surcharges, which you will need to pay when you use your AAdvantage miles to book BA flights.
American Airlines Partners: What You Should Know
When you’re considering American Airlines partners, you are likely to notice price consistency. Unlike American Airlines, you can expect to pay a reasonable rate of miles with no amazing deals, but no excessively high mile pricing.
The list of AAdvantage airline partners includes:
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Cape Air
- Cathay Pacific
- China Southern Airline
- Fiji Airways
- GOL Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- Silver Airways
- SriLankan Airlines
Most of the American Airlines partners allow you to book award flights online. There are only a few including China Airlines and IndiGo that require that you call. You can search on the airline’s website to check for availability and then you’ll need to call in to book using your AAdvantage miles.
When you call AA, the customer support team will provide a quote for the mileage and any taxes and fees. In most cases, the fees and taxes will be the same as on the partner website, but there could be some variation depending on the specific award. Just be sure to provide a specific flight number and then the support agent can help you to book your seat.
For those that you can book online, you can use the AA website. This allows you to combine flights with AA and partner airlines for easier flight connections on a single trip. You can use the homepage search tool or visit the “Plan Travel” section to select flights. This will direct you to a page to enter your travel information, just be sure to select “All Airlines” to see all of the results.
How to Redeem AA Miles to Get Upgrades
Another method of redeeming your AAdvantage miles is for seat upgrades. This option is available for flights operated by American Airlines and several partnership airlines including Iberia, and British Airways.
The upgrade tickets are subject to any applicable security fees and taxes, so you may incur additional costs as a result of an upgrade to a higher class cabin.
However, if your original ticket was purchased two or more days before departure and you cancel up to 24 hours from the ticket purchase, your miles, co-pay and any award processing fees will be fully refunded. However, outside of this two day/24 hour window, your co-pay is non refundable.
How Many American Airlines Miles to Get an Upgrade?
The number of miles you’ll need for an upgrade will depend on your travel destination and the cabin that you are upgrading to and from. The miles cost can vary from 5,000 to 25,000 miles, but there could be additional fees of up to $550.
This does mean that using your miles for upgrades is not typically the best redemption value. However, there are certain situations where it can be useful, particularly if you’re an elite status member.
To see what miles you will need to upgrade your seat, You’ll need to visit the American Airlines website. On the “Upgrade with Miles” page, you’ll see which fare types are eligible for upgrades and the co-pay details.
How to Redeem Miles on Cars, Hotels and Vacations
You can use your AAdvantage miles for rental cars, hotel stays and vacation packages. However, these redemptions typically provide a poor redemption rate. However, you may be able to find a good deal.
Redeem For Rental Cars
You can use the American Airlines website to search for rental cars with pick up locations in more than 500 destinations across the globe. All you need to do is select your pick up and drop off point and dates.
The platform will then run a search for available vehicles. You can browse the miles required and any additional cash cost. The site will also prompt AAdvantage cardmembers and elite members to log in to see whether they can use fewer miles for their bookings.
For example, you could book an economy vehicle from LAX for five days from 6,100 miles with a $136 co-pay.
Redeem For Hotels
You can use your AAdvantage miles to book hotel stays from a selection of 500,000+ properties globally. As with rental cars, AAdvantage status members and cardmembers can log in to see if they can use fewer miles.
For example, you could book a five-night stay at a Laguardia Airport hotel from 43,600 miles, but there is also the option to pay with miles and cash.
However, you can sort the available hotel deals via the hotel star rating, the neighborhood, and the price in miles.
Redeem For Vacations
AA has a vacation page where you can search for a flight, hotel, and car packages. This platform works a little like the popular travel platforms, so you can select what you need from your vacation package, your destination, and travel dates. However, you can also browse any current hot deals at the bottom of the page.
While the redemption value for these items is not likely to be better than booking flights, if you have additional miles that you need to use, you could make use of this redemption method.
How Does the American Airlines Admirals Club Work?
The Admirals Club provides lounge access to almost 50 Admirals Club locations and over 60 partner lounges around the world.
In the lounges, you can access a variety of complimentary services and amenities including snacks, drinks, made-to-order specialties, travel assistance, business centers and shower suites to make your travel more relaxing and productive.
How Many AA Miles Can Purchase An Admirals Club Pass?
While you can purchase an Admirals Club day pass, if you want an annual pass, you’ll need to either pay a subscription charge or your AAdvantage miles.
The specific number of miles varies according to your AAdvantage status and whether you are looking to have a new membership or are renewing an existing membership. The current mile costs are 50,000 to 65,000 for individual members or 110,000 to 125,000 miles for household membership.
You can also select to auto renew your Admirals Club membership and AA will send you a notice 60 days before renewal with details on how you can cancel your renewal. If you don’t notify AA, they will process your renewal 30 days before your existing subscription expires.
Other Redemption Options to Consider With AA Miles
There are a number of other redemption methods that allow you to use your AAdvantage miles. These include:
- Charity Donations: AA facilitates using your miles for charitable donations. You can donate your miles for Social Good supporting provision for basic needs or relief for people around the world, Global Health to raise awareness and funds for treatments.
Also available: Miles for Heroes to support veterans, members of the military, and their families, or Miles for Our Planet to assist organizations that protect natural resources and are working to combat climate change.
- Magazines and Newspapers: AA has a web page with offers for using your miles to pay for magazine and newspaper subscriptions. You can search for specific products or browse the latest offers.
The list of offers will break down the mile and or dollar cost for each subscription. If you find one that appeals to you, you can just click on the offer and you’ll be directed to a payment page.
- Credit for Previously Booked Flights: American Airlines also allows you to apply for retroactive flight credit. If you’ve already booked a flight, you can enter your ticket number and your AAdvantage number on the flight credit request page.
You’ll need to submit the request at least three days after the flight date and within 12 months of travel. You can also apply miles to flights before you became a member providing the flight was not more than 30 days before the enrollment date.
This depends on the specific flight, the cabin class and your travel dates. The miles requirement can vary from 5,000 miles up to 200,000 miles or more.
You can’t redeem your AAdvantage miles for gift cards directly. You’ll need to use a third party site or platform if you want to convert your miles into gift cards.
AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for select merchandise via the American Airlines website.
Yes, you can use the AAdvantage portal to search for rental car deals along with the miles cost for each deal.
There is a comprehensive list of airline partners, which we’ve listed above.
You can use your AAdvantage miles to book tickets for your spouse or you could transfer your miles to your spouse’s account. Just be aware that the minimum transfer is 1,000 miles and there is a transfer fee.
No, you can't transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to American Airlines. However, you may transfer your points to British Airways and Iberia, two airline partners that work with American Airlines. Then, you can make a reservation on the websites of each of these airlines after transferring your points to one of them.
No, Amex points cannot be transferred to American Airlines. However, four of the program's airline transfer partners are also American Airlines partners – Qantas airlines, and Iberia plus. British Airways and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to these airlines and then book an American Airlines flight.