American Airlines Overview and Information

Good Things About American Airlines

Easy to Rack Up Points– American Airlines has contracts with both Citi and Barclays for credit cards, which gives you multiple options to get a large number of points quickly. 

Doesn’t Add Fuel Surcharges– American does not add fuel surcharges to their partners, with the exception of British Airways and Iberia. This makes Qatar Airways a very attractive option to use your American points.

Reduced Mileage Awards– American offers this program called Reduced Mileage Awards, which is a discount for American credit card holders on certain routes each month. This list is usually quite large and if you can find saver award space, it can be a great deal. 

Bad Things about American Airlines

Saver Award Space on American– American continues to reduce the number of seats available for their saver space award level on their own their own flights. Even if there is saver award space, the flight has extra stopovers or long layovers. If you want a simple domestic route, it might cost you an entire day of flying to use your points. Additionally, on some routes, even if you try to book 8+ months in advance, there is no saver award space. That is why I advocate for primarily using American Airlines points on their partner airlines.

Complex Routing Rules– American has a rule against transiting through a third region with many exceptions, which can cause people difficulty in understanding which airlines and routes are subject to the rule. Check out our Using Points page for help.

Close in Booking Fee- American charges $75 if you want to book an award within 21 days. This is a ridiculous fee since it does not cost extra for an award program to book at the last minute. Plus a lot of award space usually opens up last minute. 

Inconsistent Fleet– American and U.S. Airways completed their merger in 2015, which has left American with a very inconsistent and diverse fleet of Airbus, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas aircraft. Additionally, American ordered 100 Airbus A321-neo and 96 Boeing 737-800 Max, which are very similar aircraft. (They also did the same with their smaller regional jets from two manufacturers)

No Stopover on Awards- United allows one stopover plus a free one-way flight. Alaska allows up to two stopovers plus up two free one-ways on Alaska Airlines per round trip. American previously allowed stopovers but got rid of that perk. The program could be more competitive if they reinstated the ability to do a stopover.

Airline Information 

Main Hubs: Dallas, Charlotte, Chicago (ORD), and Miami.

Secondary Hubs: Phoenix, Washington D.C. (DCA), Los Angeles (LAX), and New York (LGA and JFK).

Points Expiration- 18 months of inactivity. All you need to do is earn or redeem one point to reset the deadline. 

Seat Maps by Plane: SeatGuru

Phone Number- 1-800-433-7300

Fees- Chart of Fees (a checked bag for travel domestically or throughout North America, Central America, and the Caribbean is $30 for economy passengers)

  • Checked bag fees waived for elite members, first class, active U.S. military and/or dependants with ID traveling on orders, active U.S. military with ID on personal travel, flights departing Cuba, 1 stroller, 1 car seat, and any mobility or medical assistive devices. 
  • Alcoholic Drinks: Beer ($8), Wine ($9), and Spirits ($9). (There is free beer and wine on flights to Europe, Asia, and some routes to Latin America)

Routes- Route Map and List of Destinations

Alliance- One World (interactive route map)

Admirals Club Lounges- Admirals Club Locations (annual cost $550, one-day pass is $59, or free with Citi Executive Card (below; $450 annual fee but Authorized Users also get access) or free to OneWorld Emerald or Sapphire traveling on OneWorld airline. 

  • Starting on February 1, 2019, the annual cost of Admirals Club jumps to $650 per year (or Gold ($625), Platinum ($600), Platinum Pro ($575), Executive Platinum ($550), and free for Concierge Key). You can renew at $50 less than those listed prices. 

Flight and Lounge Reviews- You can find reviews from all around the web and Flagship Lounge access information on our Flight and Lounge Reviews page.

Aircraft- Current Aircraft Fleet, Aircraft Deliveries, and Average Age of Planes

Flight Delay/Cancellation Statement- American’s Form (choose trip insurance verification)

Passenger Compensation- If your TV screen doesn’t work, there is an issue with your seat (broken tray table, inoperable seat, seat swaps), there is an issue with catering (meal shortage or missing special meal), or there is a broken reading light, American will award compensation at the following levels: No Status or Gold (5,000 points); Platinum or Platinum Pro (5,000-10,000 points), Executive Platinum (10,000 points), and ConciergeKey (15,000 points)

Same-Day Changes- $75 for U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and the Caribbean. Waived for Executive Platinum and Platinum Pro (and companions); award tickets; first/business class and unrestricted economy fares (Y). Exception: $150 fee “Between / through New York (JFK) and London Heathrow (LHR)” (fine print)

Standby- $75 for U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. Waived for American and OneWorld Elite members and up to 8 companions on same reservation, award tickets, first/business, unrestricted economy (Y), or Active U.S. Military. 

Lost Items on Airplanes- Online Form

Financials: Financial Annual Reports and Quarterly Earnings

More Information: American’s Wikipedia Page