What’s the Value of American Airlines AAdvantage Miles?

American Airlines AAdvantage miles are worth about 1.5 cents each when booking award flights.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Nerdy takeaways
  • American Airlines miles are worth about 1.5 cents each when redeemed for economy award flights.

  • American Airlines has one of the highest domestic airline valuations, tied with JetBlue, Southwest and Delta.

  • Booking award flights far in advance yielded the best value in our analysis.

In the past few years, American Airlines has made a dizzying array of changes to its AAdvantage program. With new rules on how to earn and burn miles, it can be hard to know how much miles are worth now.

The short answer is this: American AAdvantage miles have a value of 1.5 cents each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data on hundreds of main cabin routes, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 1.5 cents or more in value from your American miles.

What does this value mean?

NerdWallet compared real-world prices to determine that each American mile is worth about 1.5 cents. You can use it as a point of reference when making your own bookings. If you’re getting more than 1.5 cents per mile for a given American redemption, you’re scoring above-average value.

How can you get more value? Start with the basics of redeeming American miles, then look for sweet spots and other optimizations. Generally, you’ll get more value by flying in premium cabins, especially with partner airlines (see “value when booking business class” below).

How do American miles compare to other airlines?

American miles offer slightly above-average value compared to other airlines.

Program

Mile value

1.2 cents.

1.5 cents.

1.5 cents.

0.9 cent.

1 cent.

1.5 cents.

1.5 cents.

1.2 cents.

When is the best time to use American miles?

Digging one level deeper, we can look at how the value of miles varies when used in different time frames and in different cabins (main cabin versus business). We compared three booking time frames:

  • 15 days before departure.

  • 180 days before departure (six months).

  • Peak winter holiday travel (Dec. 22-29).

Booking far in advance yielded the best value in our analysis. This doesn't mean booking last minute or during the holidays will never offer good redemptions, but it does mean that using them in this way certainly doesn't offer above-average value, on the whole.

How to convert American miles to dollars

Use this calculator to determine how much any number of American AAdvantage miles is worth, based on our valuation. This is useful for comparing the value of an award ticket to the cost of a cash ticket.

How flexible are American miles?

American miles can be used to book flights on American, of course, as well as dozens of partner airlines (through AA.com directly, not by transferring to partners). They can also be leveraged to upgrade seats.

Watch out for other redemption options, like renting cars or booking vacation packages. Yes, these technically add versatility to your American miles, but they rarely offer decent value.

How did we determine the value of American miles?

We collected hundreds of data points comparing the cash value with award (mile) value for the same routes and dates. That is, we compared the cost of a given ticket in either cash or miles, across many tickets.

This method differs from others in that it looks at actual redemptions rather than hypothetical, maximized redemptions. The advantage of this approach is that it provides a real-world indication of how much these miles are worth under typical circumstances.

Frequently asked questions

10,000 American miles are worth about $150.

25,000 American miles are worth about $375.

50,000 American miles are worth about $750.

80,000 American miles are worth about $1,200.

100,000 American miles are worth about $1,500.


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 2022, including those best for:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.