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  • Konrad Tillman

The 5 Best Sweet Spots to Redeem AA Miles

AA is the last US carrier to have an award chart that can offer reasonable pricing on partner-level saver availability (looking at you skypesos and United). While it is much more difficult to accrue AA miles, since the only transfer partner is Bilt, if you are able to get your hands on AA miles they can be a great usage to fly pretty much anywhere.


Let's get into my Top 5 ways to redeem AA miles!


Sweet Spot Number 1: The Golden Fare from Cairo-Tokyo


My guess is you haven't heard of this one before but the Saver level partner award space from Africa to any part of Asia prices at 50K points in First Class. While difficult to find availability (I have found a few dates in the past) it is a treat to fly First Class for 17 hours for 50K points. Mile for Mile is the best redemption spot of any program for First Class. The itinerary looks like this: Cairo-Doha in Q suites (most flights to Cairo do not the 788) (labeled first class), then Doha-Bangkok on the A380 Qatar First, and lastly followed by Bangkok-Tokyo Haneda in JAL first class. This would give you the opportunity to try out many different products and the best part is it's all bookable on one fare. Here's an example although the first leg is booked into economy since I was unable to find First Class the whole way at the moment (if you have patience you'll be able to snag a seat).

An outstanding deal


Sweet Spot Number 2: Middle East to the USA in First


You can play around with this fare a lot and choose the A380 if space opens up to London or choose a double A380 flying from London to Boston if the space opens up. For example sake I chose the route to New York showing space in AA first class from London-New York. However, know that the award rate is locked in no matter what part of the USA you are flying to which is great if you can find space on the West Coast. So let's get into it!


The fare originates in Abu Dhabi where you can choose between First Class on the 789 or A380 to London, there you transfer over to a BA or AA flight heading anywhere in the US in First Class for 115K miles and minimal taxes and fees. Another thing to note is you can't stretch the fare even further heading into Asia Zones, I have tried and tried but it doesn't work sadly, and has to be booked separately.



Another good fare for First Class


Sweet Spot Number 3: Qatar Q Suites


Qatar Q Suites is amazing, there's no way around it. With the ability to make a double bed paired with private closing suites, it's really a superb product. Couple that with the amazing food and beverage selection it might be one of the best business-class products in the sky. While availability is sparse, one can fly from the US to Doha in Q suites for 70K miles or connect onwards to Africa to 75K. At the time of writing, I couldn't find award space, maybe because when Jetblue released its partner award chart hundreds if not thousands of fares were booked. This is an example of the US-Doha on a connecting fare in CDG.

Another great deal to get from the US-Middle East


Sweet Spot 4: Domestic Transcon Routes

United charges around 15K points on a domestic transcon economy hop while AA charges 10K miles for a 5-hour flight on a 77W. While not as boujee as some of the products listed above, this is still a great deal since fares can cost upwards of 200$. When booked with miles it goes into the fare of the main cabin meaning a free carry-on & free seat selection. 10K points for a 5-hour flight represents a great deal especially considering it could be on a 77W.


10K points to fly 5 hours represents great value


Sweet Spot Number 5: JAL First Class to Japan


If you haven't noticed there's an ongoing trend of Partner premium awards throughout this article. It's not that I have anything against AA (apart from the service, soft product, and hard product) they just don't represent the best value for your mileage usage.


In comes JAL First Class. With a flight ticket price upwards of 8000$ one-way one can book the same flight for 80K with minimal taxes and fees. Award availability is best closer to departure (within a week) and the best locations to find award space are traditionally SFO and DFW. JFK is traditionally quite difficult to find award space but can be done. This represents terrific value for points. The only downside is until JAL releases their new hard product I wouldn't put this higher in the list, due to old seats that aren't very private.

Another terrific way to redeem AA miles


Conclusion


AA probably has the best award chart out of all the US carriers due to the fact they have good saver rates for partner airlines. Up above shows my five best ways to redeem AA miles with number 1 being pretty much unheard of, I hope you keep it a secret.

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