American Airlines may be better known for its domestic flights, but thanks to new changes to their loyalty rewards program, the carrier has also made it cost-effective to fly internationally to Canada using AAdvantage miles. The change lowers the bar to redeem miles for flights to the neighboring country.
For award travel booked on or after Jan. 16, 2019, the Canada region will be included in the award levels serving the contiguous 48 United States.
» Learn More: American Airlines AAdvantage Program: The Complete Guide
For trips to Canada that are more than 500 miles, it will only cost 12,500 miles when the discount MileSAAver award flights are available. Previously, the same MileSAAver trip would have required travelers to redeem 15,000 miles.
At the AAnytime award Level 1, a flight to Canada of any distance that used to cost 25,000 miles will only require 20,000 miles to fly in economy class. The biggest savings come at the most expensive rewards level in the main cabin, which kicks in when you fly at peak times. The price has been slashed from 40,000 miles to 30,000 miles.
These changes to the AAdvantage program mean that the sign-up bonus of some of the American Airlines co-branded credit cards could get you more bang for your buck if you’re planning a trip north.
» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you
It also makes the AAdvantage program more comparable to other airlines’ frequent flyer programs that already consider Canada as part of the mainland U.S. when determining the value of award travel. United MileagePlus rewards members, for example, can book flights throughout the U.S. and Canada for 10,000 to 32,500 miles.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: 9 easy ways to earn travel rewards you’ll actually use NerdWallet’s top travel credit cards A Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles