Using American Miles

Sep 10th, 2016, 08:00 AM
  #1  
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Using American Miles

Not familar with using miles that I have earned on American Airlines. Do they ever have sales for biz class? Any tips on the best ways to use their miles? How do I check availability? Thanks
yestravel is offline  
Sep 10th, 2016, 08:28 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Go toAsdvantage Award travel under flight bookings on aa.com to see how many miles are required and availability. Very straightforward, easy to use. Just booked one.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Sep 10th, 2016, 09:19 AM
  #3  
 
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On the aa.com homepage, you'll see a section where you can book flights. Check the box REDEEM MILES. Fill in the origin, destination, and dates as if you were booking any flight. A calendar will pop up showing you the miles required. There are the low-tier MilesAAver awards. There will never be as many of those available and the routings are never as ideal. The high-tier AAnytime awards open up essentially any flight. They cost a lot more miles.

I find flexibility and willingness to travel at off-peak times to be helpful. This is where that calendar is useful. You might not see availability on your preferred date, but you can look at alternate dates. You want a ticket to Hawaii at Christmastime or to Europe in August, don't expect to find any sAAver awards. You'll have to pony up a lot more miles for an AAnytime award.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Sep 10th, 2016, 12:17 PM
  #4  
 
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Do they ever have sales for biz class? Any tips on the best ways to use their miles?

Do you mean cases where they drop the redemption "price" (in miles) for business class seats? Not any more; in the depths of the post-9/11 slump they occasionally would drop the mileage requirement, but I haven't seen any cases of that in ten years at least.

You'll get any number of opinions as to what constitutes the "best way" to use miles. Most of us who play the mileage game set an arbitrary money value per mile redeemed - in my case I use 2.5 cents - to decide whether to use miles or cash.

So for example an economy-class round trip to Europe that would require 60,000 miles but which would cost $1000 for a purchased ticket doesn't meet my (own) criteria. On the other hand, 110,000 miles for a round trip in business class to Europe - a ticket that would cost upward of $3000 to purchase - IS a good use of my miles using my metric. Other people set the bar lower, some down to 1.5c, but then there are some who want 3c per mile or more "value" to pull the trigger.

One thing regarding redeeming AA miles for overseas flights. AA has a "joint business venture" arrangement with British Airways and Iberia, and you're very likely to see lots of BA options for redemption trips to Europe. BE CAREFUL as BA adds hundreds of dollars in "fees" to award tickets using their planes, fees which AA doesn't add on its own "metal." So that 110,000 miles for a business class round trip to Europe using AA planes might carry $30 - $50 in taxes and fees, while the same 110,000 miles used on BA flights might well add up to $1000 in fees, drastically reducing the "real" value of your miles.

Long answer to a short question, sorry. Where do you want to go and when?
Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 10th, 2016, 12:27 PM
  #5  
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Thanks, everyone. Some good information. So even flying on BA whether you land in England or not has the larege fees attached?

We typically use our miles for long flights in biz class and have mostly used Star Alliance. It's been many years since we used AA miles. Right now we have on a tap our flights to Australia with stopovers in Hong Kong on Star Alliance partners. Nothing in the works at the moment for our AA miles. Just contemplating on using the miles. We've got 80k each at this point & i guess we will need to get earn some more.

Couple more questions. On UA you can buy one way tixs, so we can go biz class in one direction and economy in the other. Is that allowed on AA? Can you upgrade from an economy $ ticket to biz class using miles?
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Sep 10th, 2016, 01:54 PM
  #6  
 
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>> On UA you can buy one way tixs, so we can go biz class in one direction and economy in the other. Is that allowed on AA?<<

On AA (and I'd assume UA as well) you don't buy one way tix, you buy R-T but just choose the different cabin for the return leg.

For example -- say there is a R-T to London in business, after selecting the outward flight, the return date displays and you simply click Economy/Main Cabin and it will show the cost reduction.

So say the Business R-T is $3000, when you choose an economy return flight it will show -$1100 or whatever and the total fare of $1900
janisj is online now  
Sep 10th, 2016, 02:37 PM
  #7  
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Thanks, you answered my question. However FYI, on UA you can buy a one way ticket. You pay for it and later book a return from wherever you wish. With FF tixs I often buy the outbound before the return is available and will get the return weeks later.
yestravel is offline  
Sep 10th, 2016, 02:46 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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To clarify - my example was for a regular purchase on the AA website
janisj is online now  
Sep 10th, 2016, 03:56 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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All AA awards are for one-way trips, so it's easy to redeem miles for business class in one direction and economy on the other.

So even flying on BA whether you land in England or not has the larege fees attached?

There are fees and there are taxes. Two different things. BA will hit you for a surcharge ("carrier imposed fee") if you're on their planes at all. These are different from taxes such as the UK Air Passenger Duty (a departure tax) that is paid by everybody regardless of the airline being used.

The BA surcharges/fees used to be called "fuel surcharges," a term they dropped after being sued in US federal court in a class action suit brought by BA frequent flyers. The suit is still pending, but BA is probably going to have to fork over big bucks at some point.

Regardless of what they call it, it's profit, pure and simple.
Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 16th, 2016, 02:52 PM
  #10  
 
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We used a SAAver award for Biz class, PHL > MAN, then returned economy Heathrow > PHL. We got the flights for 60K each, flying Biz one way. I thought it was a good deal.

We also find that using AA miles to Europe from our home airport is next to impossible. The reward amounts for any sort of decent connection are outrageous. We try all sorts of things, including driving 5.5 hours (OK on the way, hell after landing from Europe), and taking a very late flight to connect the next day, staying over night at departure for Europe airport. We have had a companion ticket which helped, and are working on one for next year.

As said above, flexibility helps, and I find that imagination does too.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 16th, 2016, 03:26 PM
  #11  
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tuscanlit - thanks for the info. You got the entire ticket for 60k miles? That's fantastic for one way biz class 7 other economy. The couple times we have used AA miles over the years we have had to go to JFK (we generally use IAD.)
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