American Airlines FF

Jul 15th, 2004, 07:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 35
American Airlines FF

Just thought to share a Catch-22 situation attempting to utilize American Airlines FF miles. I am planning a trip to New Zealand in October and last week thought to cash in some of my 104,000 AA miles. Tamara at American Airlines: "Yes sir, we have flights from LAX to Auckland available on your date." Me: "Great, what time does the flight arrive in Auckland?" Tamara: "Well, first you have to fly to Melbourne, Australia since FF miles are not eligible for the direct flight to Auckland." (This is akin to flying to Moscow to get to London.) Me: "Oh, well, if I must I must. What time does that flight arrive in Auckland?" Tamara: "Well sir, you have to fly from Melbourne to Sydney and then connect to a flight on to Auckland." Me: "Well, tell you what, Tamara, if I have to do all that I'll just leave two days earlier and break the trip in Melbourne and then fly to Sydney two days later and then on to Auckland." Tamara: "Oh no, sir, frequent flyer awards do not allow stopovers." (!!!) And for what purpose am I collecting FF miles? And is there any question why no-frills airlines are prospering? Happy Travels.
suncityjim is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
First, AA can't get you to New Zealand directly because they don't have any partners that fly directly from US to New Zealand, so that's why you have to be routed through Australia (Qantas).

The second answer you got from Tamara was 1/2 wrong. Call back and talk to another agent. Here are the rules, AFAIK:

Award travel between North America and other regions:
1) in addition to the final destination you can make a stopover at the North American gateway city EITHER on the outbound trip or on the return, but not both.
2) In addition, a stopover is allowed at the first international gateway on the outbound or the last international gateway on the return, but not both.
3) Stopovers are not allowed in the Caribbean.

AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
AA codeshares with Qantas on their non-stop LAX-AUC 9 times a week. And there should also be a lot of flights LAX-SYD-AUC, without going to Melbourne.

I think the main problem is availability. On the dates you want to fly, those more direct flights have no more seats to be claimed with FF miles.

So, you may want to have the AAdvantage desk check for alternate dates on QF's more direct routes; and also have them check with Cathay Pacific. Going through HKG will add a lot of travel time, but maybe that's possible on the dates you want to fly.

BTW, using FF miles are also hard to do, regardless of airline. That's a lesson that everybody should learn.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 07:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074

QF26/AA7370 daily LAX-AUC
QF156/AA7315 Mon & Sat LAX-AUC
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Very sorry. Auckland should be AKL.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 08:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
I did forget about the direct flight, but as you said, probably no availibility.

The OP can't go through HKG with CX as that would require 2 different regions award. US to Asia and Asia to South Pacific. Without checking the details I would guess it would almost double the required miles.

The new All-Airline Award Chart allows stopovers within region and it's great as far as mixing different airlines to get to your destination which in most cases, especially Europe, Asia and South America works to your benefit, as it opens thousands of possibilities, but it also restricts the travel between regions. In the old days what you proposed would be possible, but no more.

There is also another possibility of doing the trip using OneWorld Award. It may/may not actually be less miles and allow for greater freedom as to stopovers.

For further info check:


the OneWorld forum on
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,274

In February, I was trying to book an AAdvantage award trip to Australia. The agent said there was no Qantas availability and she would check JAL. Implication was it would not be two awards and I think not a oneworld award. But maybe it would have got rejected by those people who check award reservations against the rules?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 16th, 2004, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
It would definitely get rejected. There are reports of that happening on Flyertalk. Some of the agents are not well informed with these new rules, but before an award is ticketed, especially international one, it's always checked for rules. Occasionally an extra stopover may get by, but flying through another "region" to get to a final destination will have a hard time sneeking through.
There is an exception to this rule. AA says that if they don't have a direct flight between 2 regions (no availibility doesn't count), then you are allowed to fly through a different region. One example that comes to mind is US-India. India is classified as Indian Sub-Continent/Middle East and to get there one has to fly through another region, but even then AA has a restriction. You have to fly through Europe ONLY, even when it would make more sense for west coast or Hawaii to go through Asia.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  

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