Best Ways to Redeem American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

There are many ways you can use your American Airlines AAdvantage miles, including flights on American or their partners, upgrades, Admirals Club lounge membership, gift cards, newspapers, and hotels.

This post will cover everything you need to know about redeeming your AAdvantage miles for maximum value.

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    Use Miles on American Airlines

    One of the most popular ways to redeem AAdvantage miles is for flights on American Airlines.

    American Airlines prices out flights on several different levels:

    • MileSAAver
    • AAnytime
    • MileSAAver Off-Peak
    • Web Specials
    • Reduced Mileage Awards

    We will cover everything you need to know for each of those levels below.

    MileSAAver

    MileSAAver or “Saver” awards are the flights you want to book with your AAdvantage miles.

    Flights start at 7,500 miles for economy flights and 15,000 miles for flights under 500 miles one-way.

    American Airlines Milesaver award

    American Airlines introduced dynamic pricing on awards for American Airlines flights, so the flight cost may be higher than the prices below.

    Luckily, awards on partner airlines are not subject to dynamic pricing and are fixed rates.

    American Airlines Miles Chart

    Below is the award chart for the “starting price” cost in miles for flights on American Airlines departing the United States and Canada. 

    You can find the miles chart for other regions on the AAdvantage website.

    Region Economy Premium Economy
    U.S. + Canada 12,500 N/A
    Alaska 15,000 25,000
    Hawaii 22,500 50,000
    Caribbean 17,500 N/A
    Mexico 17,500 N/A
    Central America 15,000 N/A
    South America 1 20,000 N/A
    South America 2 30,000 40,000
    Europe 30,000 40,000
    Middle East N/A N/A
    Indian Subcontinent N/A N/A
    Africa N/A N/A
    Asia 1 35,000 50,000
    Asia 2 35,000 50,000
    South Pacific 40,000 65,000

    Below is the starting price for business class and “Flagship First” class awards.

    Recliner “first-class” is considered “business class,” whereas lie-flat Flagship First Class is “First” in the chart below.

    Region Business First
    U.S. + Canada 25,000 50,000
    Alaska 30,000 55,000
    Hawaii 55,000 80,000
    Caribbean 25,000 50,000
    Mexico 25,000 50,000
    Central America 25,000 50,000
    South America 1 30,000 55,000
    South America 2 57,500 85,000
    Europe 57,500 85,000
    Middle East N/A N/A
    Indian Subcontinent N/A N/A
    Africa N/A N/A
    Asia 1 60,000 80,000
    Asia 2 70,000 110,000
    South Pacific 80,000 110,000

    Region Definitions

    If you wonder what is “Asia 1” or “South America 2,” you can find the countries in each region in the toggle below.

    These region definitions also apply to awards on partners.

    RegionCountries within that Region
    Central AmericaBelize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
    CaribbeanAnguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Trinidad/Tobago, Turks/Caicos, and US Virgin Islands
    South America 1 Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Manaus, and Peru
    South America 2Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Falkland Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela
    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, and the United Kingdom
    Middle East
    Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates
    Indian SubcontinentBangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
    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, and Zimbabwe
    Asia 1Japan and Korea
    Asia 2Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and 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 and Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu

    AAnytime Awards

    AAnytime awards allow you to use your miles for any seat, but the mileage prices are typically double the Saver level prices!

    We recommend avoiding them at all cost, unless it is an emergency.

    For example, the U.S. to Australia in business class costs 80,000 miles for the Saver level and 175,000 miles for the AAnytime level.

    Anytime vs Saver American Airlines

    There are also two levels of AAnytime level: Level 1 and Level 2. Level 2 is between 10,000 to 40,000 miles more than Level 1. 

    In the example above, AAnytime Level 2 pricing for the U.S. to Australia is 195,000 miles.

    MilesSAAver Off Peak

    American Airlines offers extra discounted economy awards during off-peak times of the year.

    The dates are below and typically occur when travel to certain regions has low demand, such as to Europe in the winter.

    Hawaii:

    • To Hawaii: December 29 – March 12, August 11 – November 18, November 24 – December 10.
    • From Hawaii: January 7 – March 19, August 18 – November 27, December 3 – December 25.

    Caribbean, Mexico and Central America: April 21 – May 20, September 9 – November 18.

    Europe: January 10 – March 14, November 1 – December 14.

    Asia Region 1 (Japan):

    • To Japan: January 1 – April 30, July 1 – November 30.
    • From Japan: January 16 – April 19, May 2 – 31, September 1 – December 31.

    Asia Region 1 (Korea):

    • To Korea: January 1 – April 30, July 1 – November 30.
    • From Korea: January 16 – May 31, September 1 – December 31.

    Asia Region 2 (China & Hong Kong):

    • To China/Hong Kong: January 1 – April 30, July 1 – September 30, October 11 – November 30.
    • From China/Hong Kong: February 1 – May 31, September 1 – 19, October 2 – December 31.

    South America 1: January 16 – June 14, September 7 – November 14.

    You can save between 7% and 25% with the MileSAAver Off-Peak award.

    Region Economy Discount
    Hawaii 20,000 11%
    Caribbean 12,500 17%
    Mexico 12,500 17%
    Central America 12,500 17%
    South America 1 17,500 13%
    Europe 22,500 25%
    Asia 1 32,500 7%
    Asia 2 32,500 7%

    Web Special

    American Airlines introduced “Web Specials” in 2018, which are discounted flight awards starting at 5,000 AAdvantage miles one-way.

    However, this discount comes at a price.

    Web Specials don’t allow changes, but you can cancel and reinstate your miles for a $150 fee with additional tickets costing $25 each. 

    American Airlines only waives this fee if you are an Executive Platinum elite member.

    Additionally, the required number of miles will vary by flight and date.

    For example, below are two different Web Special prices for a business class flight between Los Angeles to New York.

    Web Specials will be cheaper than the Saver level cost when a saver level award is available.  

    American Airlines Webspecial
    Los Angeles to New York in Business Class

    When the Saver level is not available, American prices Web Specials somewhere between the Saver level and Anytime level.

    Websaver at Anytime Level
    Los Angeles to New York in Business Class

    There is no exact way of finding Web Specials, but I frequently find them on high competition routes such as New York to Los Angeles or Miami to New York.

    You also may be able to find some Web Specials via American’s award map.

    Reduced Mileage Awards

    You can also save up to 7,500 miles round-trip with “Reduced mileage awards” if:

    1. You are an AAdvantage credit card holder.
    2. You are flying to or from one of the 50 to 125 airports selected for the month you are traveling. 
    3. There is saver award availability for your chosen flight in economy, business, or first class.
    One-way awards are also eligible. Just divide the number below by 2. 
    Round-Trip Economy Reduced Mileage Awards
    500+ Miles Under 500 Miles
    Normal Price 25,000 15,000
    Discount 7,500 2,000
    Award Cost 17,500 13,000

    Eligible Cards for Reduced Mileage Awards

    You can get a 7,500 mile discount for flights more than 500 miles, and a 2,000 mile discount for flights under 500 miles with the following cards: 

    You can get a 5,000 mile discount for flights over 500 miles and a 1,000 mile discount for flights under 500 miles with the following cards:

    • Citi AAdvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard
    • AAdvantage Aviator Blue MasterCard
    The one AAdvantage credit card that is not eligible for Reduced Mileage awards is the no annual fee Citi AAdvantage MileUp card.
    Citi American Aadvantage Platinum Credit Card

    Eligible Airports

    American Airlines publishes a list of eligible cities every few months for the proceeding 3-4 months.

    All travel must be on American Airlines and must be within the 48 contiguous United States.

    For example below, if you are eligible for a mileage discount if you are flying to or from Akron and Canton for October to January.

    But for Albuquerque, you are only eligible if you are flying to or from Albuquerque in November or January. 

    AAdvantage Reduced Mileage Awards

    How to Book a Reduced Mileage Award

    You cannot book a reduced mileage award online.

    You will have to call 1-800-882-8880 to book the award and provided the discount code below.

    The phone booking fee of $30 is waived because you cannot book this award online. 

    But there is a fee if you book in person at the airport or an American Airlines travel center.

    Additionally, Flagship First Class (lie-flat seats on JFK-LAX, JFK-SFO, and MIA-LAX) are not eligible for the discount.

    Flights Over 500 Miles
    Class 7,500 Mile Discount 5,000 Mile Discount
    First UD21X2C / AVM01 UD22X5C / AVM98
    Business UD28X7C / AVA55 UD30C / AVA49
    Economy TD8X7C / AVM99 TD10C / AVM97

    The booking codes for flights under 500 miles are below.

    Flights Under 500 Miles
    Class 2,000 Mile Discount 1,000 Mile Discount
    First UD14C / AVA60 UD14X5C / AVA54
    Economy TD6X5C / AVA59 TD7C / AVA53

    Use Miles for Partner Airlines

    One of the best ways to use American AAdvantage miles is for flights on partner airlines.

    Partner awards are not subject to the dynamic pricing like flights on American Airlines, which allows you to redeem your miles at a fixed rate.

    OneWorld Airlines

    American Airlines is apart of the OneWorld airline alliance, so you can book flights using miles on any of the partners below:

    oneworld 2 OneWorld Alliance Airlines
    American Airlines American Airlines British Airways British Airways
    Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific Finnair logo Finnair
    Iberia logo Iberia Japan Airlines Japan Airlines
    Malaysia Airlines logo Malaysia Airlines Qantas Logo Qantas
    Qatar Airways logo Qatar Airways Royal Air Maroc Royal Air Maroc
    Royal Jordanian Royal Jordanian S7 Airlines S7 Airlines
    Sri Lankan Airlines logo SriLankan Airlines

    You should likely avoid flying on British Airways due to their high fuel surcharges and the U.K.’s high taxes.

    For example, a typical one-way business class flight from the U.S. to the U.K. on British Airways would be $700+ in taxes, plus 57,500 miles.

    AAdvantage Miles British Airways

    Other American Airlines Partners

    American Airlines partners with several other airlines as well:

    Air Tahiti Nui Air Tahiti Nui Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines
    Cape Air Logo Cape Air China Southern China Southern
    Etihad Etihad Airways Fiji Airways Fiji Airways
    Hawaiian Airlines logo Hawaiian Airlines Interjet Interjet
    Seaborne Airlines Seaborne Airlines

    You can book all of these partners online on AA.com, except for China Southern and Interjet.

    Additionally, you cannot book Hawaiian Airlines between the U.S. and Hawaii, but you can book Hawaiian from Hawaii to the South Pacific and Asia.

    Miles Chart for Partner Airlines

    Below are the award charts for American’s partners from North America. For other starting points, check out these award charts.

    These rates are fixed amounts, so the number of miles you see is how much it will cost.

    Region Economy Premium Economy
    U.S. + Canada 12,500 22,500
    Alaska 15,000 25,000
    Hawaii 22,500 50,000
    Caribbean 17,500 N/A
    Mexico 17,500 N/A
    South America 1 20,000 N/A
    South America 2 30,000 40,000
    Europe 30,000 40,000
    Middle East 40,000 62,500
    Indian Subcontinent 40,000 62,500
    Africa 40,000 65,000
    Asia 1 35,000 50,000
    Asia 2 37,500 50,000
    South Pacific 40,000 65,000
    Region Business First
    U.S. + Canada 25,000 50,000
    Alaska 30,000 55,000
    Hawaii 55,000 80,000
    Caribbean 27,500 52,500
    Mexico 27,500 52,500
    Central America 27,500 52,500
    South America 1 30,000 55,000
    South America 2 57,500 85,000
    Europe 57,500 85,000
    Middle East 70,000 115,000
    Indian Subcontinent 70,000 115,000
    Africa 75,000 120,000
    Asia 1 60,000 80,000
    Asia 2 70,000 110,000
    South Pacific 80,000 110,000

    There is no discount for mixed cabin awards.

    For example, if you fly from the U.S. to Japan in first class and from Japan to Thailand in business class, you have to pay the first class price.

    Finding Award Space

    There are a few ways to search for award flights using American Airlines, including the Award Map or on AA.com.

    American's Award Map

    American’s award map is great if your destination is flexible. 

    For example, if you wanted to get away for a weekend to somewhere in the U.S.

    I like the map because if you want to find a cheap flight with miles, just enter something like 20,000 miles round-trip per person.

    American Airlines Award Map

    After you enter your information and hit search, you will see everywhere you can fly with your miles.

    The blue markers are the available flights, and the grey markers are the unavailable flights.

    American Airlines Award Map Example

    Searching on AA.com

    If you have a specific destination in mind, the best way to search is on AA.com.

    Just enter your destination and dates and check the “Redeem miles” box.

    American Airlines Redeem miles

    You will then see the miles required for the flights on that day.

    If you want to see the award space for an entire month, just click the “Calendar” button towards the top.

    American Airlines Award Search

    You can then see award space for an entire month, which is helpful on those high demand flights.

    American Airlines Award Calendar

    Phantom Avaliability

    American Airlines’ website is not perfect.

    Many times it will show “phantom availability,” which is when it shows a flight is bookable with points, but the system errors out at the check-out screen.

    This is especially true for the high-demand awards on Qatar Airways, Etihad, or Cathay Pacific.

    To combat this, you can double-check award space using other’s airlines’ award systems.

    British Airways’ “Book with Avios” search is the best for OneWorld airlines (Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, and JAL). 

    You will need an account to do an award search, but British Airways is the most accurate at displaying award space, and you can also see how many seats are available.

    Qatar Airways Award Search

    For Etihad, you will need to search for “Guest” availability using their “Book with Miles” search.

    Then just click the drop-down menu and look for “Guest” Economy/Business/First.

    If only “Business Flex” is displayed, American Airlines cannot book that space.

    Etihad Award Search

    Routing Rules for AAdvantage Awards

    There are two main routing rules you should know about for AAdvantage awards: no stopovers, and restrictions on transiting through a third region.

    No Stopovers

    Some airline mileage programs allow you to book stopovers, which is a stop more than 24 hours in a city.  But AAdvantage does not allow stopover.

    The best you could do is to try to plan a 20-23 hour stop in a city so that you could have some time to explore or get some sleep.

    If you need to do a stopover, American Airlines will price it as two separate awards, which can cost you a lot of miles.

    Third Region Rule

    American Airlines has an unwritten rule that you cannot transit through a third region unless an exception applies.

    For example, if you were flying to Southeast Asia, your flight options likely consist a connection in a third region such as Europe, the Middle East, or Asia 1 (Japan and Korea). 

    AAdvantage will not allow you to book an award in the example above with a connection in Europe or the Middle East, but you could connect in Japan or Korea.

     A full list of these exceptions is below. Because this is an “unwritten rule,” AAdvantage could add or subtract to the exceptions at any time.

    Region 1Region 2Third Region Exceptions
    North AmericaMiddle East Europe
    North AmericaIndian SubcontinentEurope, Middle East, or Hong Kong
    North AmericaAsia 2Asia 1
    North AmericaAfricaEurope, Doha (Qatar Airways), or Abu Dhabi (Etihad)
    EuropeAsia 1Asia 2 or Doha (Qatar Airways) or Abu Dhabi (Etihad)
    EuropeAsia 2Doha (Qatar Airways) or Abu Dhabi (Etihad)
    EuropeSouth PacificAsia 1 or Asia 2, Doha (Qatar Airways), or Abu Dhabi (Etihad) or or Dubai (Qantas)
    Central America, South America 1 and 2Africa, Middle East, or Indian SubcontinentEurope
    South America 2AfricaEurope or Doha (Qatar Airways)
    Middle East/Indian SubcontinentAsia 1Asia 2
    Middle East/Indian SubcontinentSouth PacificAsia 2
    AfricaAsia 1Asia 2 or Doha (Qatar Airways)
    AfricaAsia 2Doha (Qatar Airways)
    Asia 1South PacificAsia 2
    Central America or South America Zone 1South PacificSouth America Zone 2

    Award Fees on AAdvantage Awards

    There are a few fees to know when booking American AAdvantage awards.

    $30-40 Phone Booking Fee

    Online awards are free to book, but awards booked by phone cost $30 for domestic flights and $40 for international flights, unless it is impossible to book online or there is an error in the online booking process.

    To book an award by phone, call 800-882-8880.

    No Change Fee for Awards

    There is no change fee if you want to change your award flight within the U.S. or between the U.S. and:

    • Canada
    • Mexico
    • Caribbean
    • Puerto Rico
    • U.S. Virgin Islands
    Additionally, there is no award change fee for all award reservations booked after November 10, 2020.

    Cancel Award Fees

    You can cancel an award completely and get back the miles for the same prices above for travel booked after January 1, 2021. 

    However, these fees apply to all awards, including those within North America.

    Best Ways to Use AAdvantage Miles

    Below are my favorite ways to redeem American Advantage miles.

    1. Qatar Airways Qsuites

    The best way to use AAdvantage points for Qatar Airways’ amazing Qsuites business class.

    You can book Qsuites one-way from North America to:

    • Africa for 75,000 miles.
    • India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives for 70,000 miles.
    • The Middle East for 70,000 miles.

    You can also book Qsuites one-way from Europe to:

    • South Pacific for 85,000 miles.
    • Asia 1 or Asia 2 for 75,000 miles.
    • Africa for 55,000 miles.

    You can fly Japan Airlines very reasonably from North America to Japan or Korea for:

    • 60,000 miles in business class.
    • 80,000 miles in first class.

    You can also fly from North America to “Asia 2” for:

    • 70,000 miles in business class. 
    • 110,000 miles in first class.

    3. Qantas or American to Australia and New Zealand

    You can fly either American Airlines or Qantas from North America to the South Pacific (Australia and New Zealand) for:

    • 80,000 miles in business class.
    • 110,000 miles in first class.

    Qantas is likely to be the better flight experience, but both airlines’ award space will be tough to book.

    You can book American Airlines 331 days in advance

    But  for Qantas, you have to wait until 297 days before departure because Qantas prioritizes their own mileage members over partners.

    You can also book Qantas from Europe to the South Pacific for a reasonable 85,000 miles in business class.

    Qantas Business Class

    4. Etihad Airways

    Although Etihad business class is not as fancy as Qatar Airways’ Qsuites, it is still a good option at the same price.

    You can book Etihad business class one-way from North America to:

    • Africa for 75,000 miles.
    • India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives for 70,000 miles.
    • The Middle East for 70,000 miles.

    You can also book Etihad business class one-way from Europe to:

    • South Pacific for 85,000 miles.
    • Asia 1 or Asia 2 for 75,000 miles.
    • Africa for 55,000 miles.

    First Class on Etihad is currently not available due to COVID-19, and may never return if Etihad decides to retires its Airbus A380s.

    If it does return, you can book Etihad First Class to:

    • Africa for 120,000 miles.
    • India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives for 115,000 miles.
    • The Middle East for 115,000 miles.
    Etihad Business Class

    5. Cathay Pacific to Asia, India, or Maldives

    A good option if you are flying to Southeast Asia (“Asia 2”) or the Indian Subcontinent (India, Maldives, or Sri Lanka) is to fly Cathay Pacific.

    Cathay Pacific is based in Hong Kong, which offers convenient connections to many destinations.

    You can fly from North America to Asia 2 for

    • 70,000 miles for business class.
    • 110,000 miles for first class.

    Or to the Indian Subcontinent for about the same price:

    • 70,000 for business class.
    • 115,000 for first class (short-haul flight would be in business class).
    Cathay Pacific First Class

    6. Iberia to Europe

    The best way to fly to Europe using American Airlines miles is with Iberia, whose main hub is Madrid.

    Iberia is a much cheaper option than British Airways because the taxes and fees are around $100 one-way instead of $700+ with British Airways.

    You can fly from North America to Europe on Iberia for:

    • 40,000 miles in premium economy 
    • 57,500 miles in Business class.

    But you could redeem Iberia Avios for an even cheaper flight to Madrid:

    • 34,000 Avios for business class from Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Juan.
    • 42,500 Avios for business class from Los Angeles and Miami.

    6. Web Specials

    You can score some good deals with Web Specials on American Airlines flights.

    In the past, we have seen during award sales:

    • 5,000 miles one-way in economy for flights within the U.S.
    • 61,000 miles for first class or 50,000 in business class between U.S. and Asia (typically 110,00 miles).
    • 55,000 miles for one-way first class or 45,000 miles for business class from the U.S. to Tokyo. 
    The most frequent Web Special is 22,500 miles for lie-flat Flagship Business class between New York and Los Angeles or Miami to Los Angeles, which is typically 32,500 miles. 

    I think that’s a pretty good deal because it would cost 75,000+ JetBlue points for a similar flight.  

    American Airlines Flagship Business

    Other Good Ways to Spend American Miles

    North America to French Polynesia on Air Tahiti Nui:

    • 40,000 miles for economy class.
    • 80,000 miles for business class.

    North America to “South America 1: on American Airlines:

    • 20,000 miles for economy class.
    • 30,000 miles for business class.

    North America to “South America 2” on American Airlines:

    •  30,000 miles for economy class.
    • 57,500 miles for business class.

    Upgrade American Airlines Tickets with Miles

    You can upgrade your American Airlines ticket with miles as long as:

    • It is operated and marketed by American Airlines or American Eagle (i.e., not operated by a partner airline). 
    • You booked it through American, and not a codeshare partner.
    • You did not book basic economy.

    Upgrades are only valid for one-way travel up to three segments.

    If you want to upgrade both your outbound and return flight, you will need to pay for two upgrades.

    Upgrades are also only valid for the next cabin of service. 

    Currently, American Airlines doesn’t include premium economy as a separate cabin of service from economy, so you can upgrade from economy to business class.

    But that is highly likely to change soon once American rolls out Premium Economy on most international routes.

    Cost to Upgrade Using Miles

    The cost to upgrade from Economy or Premium Economy to the next class of service is below.

    For most people, the “Discount” column is where you should look.

    It covers fare in the following fare class: H,K,M,L,V,G,Q,N,O,S and Military or Government fares booked in Y.

    The Full-Fare column is for Y Fares, which are very costly tickets designed for people traveling on business. The cost to upgrade is much less because their tickets are typically twice the cost of a discount ticket.

    Additionally:

    • The “U.S.” includes the Contiguous 48 states and Alaska. 
    • North America includes the U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. 
    To/From To/From Discount Full-Fare
    U.S. and Canada U.S. and Canada 15,000 + $75 5,000
    U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean 15,000 + $75 8,000
    U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean Hawaii 15,000 + $175 8,000
    North America Central America 15,000 + $75 8,000
    North America Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru 15,000 + $150 8,000
    North America Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay 25,000 + $350 15,000
    North America Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand 25,000 + $350 15,000

    If you want to upgrade from business class to first class, here is the award chart.

    How to Upgrade an American Airlines Flight with AAdvantage Miles

    You will also need to find upgrade availability to use your AAdvantage miles to upgrade your American Airlines flight.

    For upgrades to Business Class or Domestic first class, you need to find fare class “C” availability.

    For upgrades to Flagship First Class (lie-flat), you need to find fare class “A” availability. 

    You can find the fare code by doing a flight search on AA.com. Just click the “Details” button.

    American Airlines Find Upgrade Fare Code

    Then look for the “Booking Code” need to upgrade (“C” for most situations). 

    American Airlines Upgrade Booking Code

    You can also find upgrade award space easily with an Expert Flyer subscription ($4.99 per month for basic plan). 

    Expert Flyer Upgrade on American Airlines

    Upgrades on Iberia and British Airways

    You can use AAdvantage miles to upgrade your ticket on Iberia or British Airways, but only full-fare (very expensive) tickets qualify for upgrades.

    If you you bought one of those fares, you can upgrade from economy to premium economy from North America to:

    • Europe = 12,500 miles.
    • Africa = 20,000 miles.
    • India and the Middle East = 20,000 miles.

    Or from premium economy to business from North America for the same rates above.

    For other destinations, you can check out this partner upgrade award chart.

    Other Ways to Use AAdvantage Miles

    The best ways to use AAdvantage miles are for flights because it provides the maximum value.

    But below are some other available options to redeem your American miles.

    Newspapers

    You can redeem American Airlines miles for magazines.

    We tested a few Print + Digital subscriptions:

    Charlotte Observer– 6 days a week for 13 weeks for 1,654 miles.

    Los Angeles Daily News– 7 days a week for 8 weeks for 880 miles.

    Lexington Herald Leader– 6 days a week for 13 weeks for 1,654 miles.

    Local newspapers are not available in many cities, but you can get a digital subscription to the Financial Times for:

    • 24 weeks for 1,960 miles.
    • 52 weeks for 3,960 miles.
    The “catch” with using miles for newspapers is that you need to cancel the subscription before it auto-renews for a cash-rate, and some subscriptions have a $9.99 fee to start the subscription. 
    American Magazines for Miles

    Admirals Club Membership

    You can also redeem American AAdvantage miles for an Admirals Club membership.

    Each AAdvantage mile is worth one cent for Admirals Club memberships (i.e., a new membership for AAdvantage members equals either $650 or 65,000 miles).

    Use AAdvantage miles for Admirals Club

    Five Star Service

    If you want to boost your travel experience, American Airlines offers “Five Star Service” at 16 U.S. Airports and 4 international airports.

    But you are required to have a ticket in a premium cabin.

    Five Star Service gets you:

    • Access to Flagship First Check-In and the Admirals Club Lounge
    • Priority boarding and re-accommodation status.
    • Personal escort through the airport.
    • Car service coordination.

    The cost is:

    • 35,000 miles (or $350) for the first person.
    • 10,000 miles for each additional adult (or $100).
    • 5,000 miles per child (or $50). 

    To book the Five Star Service, you will need to call 877-578-2702.

    I don’t see a lot of value in Five Star Service, but it might be a decent redemption if you had a tight connection or wanted to ensure an elderly family member is well taken care of.

    American Airlines Vacations

    You can redeem AAdvantage miles for American Airlines Vacations, but the redemption value is fixed at 1.0 cent per mile.

    American Airlines Vacations with Miles

    But you can use a combination of Cash + Miles to book a vacation. 

    Use AAdvantage Miles for Hotels

    You can redeem American Airlines miles for hotels, but the redemption rate is not very good.

    In our test reservation, the Hyatt Regency cost 25,700 points, which you can normally book for cash for $185.75.

    That’s equivalent to 0.72 cents per point, which is about half the value of using points for flights. 

    Use AAdvantage Miles for Hotels

    Redeem Miles for Rental Cards

    Another option is to use miles for rental cars, but the rate is still sub-par.

    In our test, an $81 car cost 10,500 miles, which is equivalent to 0.77 cents per point.

    AAdvantage Redeem miles for car rentals

    Buying Gift Cards with Miles

    You can redeem American AAdvantage miles for gift cards if you have a balance of 25,000+ miles in your account or you have elite status with American Airlines.

    However, the rates are not great:

    • $5 gift card for 1,706 miles (0.29 cents per mile).
    • $10 gift card for 2,882 miles (0.35 cents per mile).
    • $25 gift card for 6,412 miles (0.39 cents per mile).
    • $50 gift card for 12,294 miles (0.41 cents per mile).
    • $100 gift card for 24,058 miles (0.42 cents per mile).
    • $250 gift card for 59,352 miles (0.42 cents per mile).
    • $500 gift card for 118,176 miles (0.42 cents per mile).

    Additionally, some gift cards are only available at lower increments such as $25, so you may not be able to reach the highest value of 0.42 cents each.

    Donate Miles

    You can donate your AAdvantage miles to three causes:

    • Miles for Social Good supports organizations committed to improving stability, fighting hunger, and providing basic needs or immediate relief for global citizens in need.

    • Miles for Global Health and Well-Being supports organizations that are committed to raising awareness and funds, bringing treatments and hope to patients.
    • Miles for Heroes assists organizations that work to support veterans, military members, and their families.
    American Airlines Donate Miles
    The Verdict

    There are a lot of good ways to use your American Airlines AAdvantage miles. 

    Our favorites are business class flights on Qatar Airways or Etihad to Africa or the Indian Subcontinent, or Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific to Asia.