How to Redeem American Airlines Miles: A Step-by-Step Guide

How you redeem your miles matters. Make sure you have the highest-value redemption plan.
May 6, 2022

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If you’re ready to put your AAdvantage miles to use, you may be wondering exactly how to redeem American Airlines miles. The process is relatively easy no matter what you decide to do with your miles. You can redeem miles for award flights on American or its partner airlines, as well as for other options like seat upgrades and car rentals. This article will guide you through the redemption process with step-by-step instructions.

How to redeem American miles for flights

American Airlines makes it easy to redeem AAdvantage miles for award flights. You can browse award flight options at AA.com to find and book your tickets.

For American Airlines flights

Here’s what to do to redeem AAdvantage miles for American Airlines carrier flights:

1. Visit AA.com and log in to your AAdvantage account.

First, you’ll need to visit AA.com and log in to your AAdvantage loyalty account. (Don’t worry if you forget to log in — you’ll be asked to do so before booking.)

2. Search available flights.

Enter your desired flight details to search for available flights. Make sure that you check the “Redeem miles” box to view award flight options.

3. Review award flight options and find the award flight that appeals to you.

Review all details, including airport information, travel time, layover details, ticket type and pricing details — including the number of miles and total fees. You can also filter your options or select the calendar view to see a month’s worth of award fares.

4. Confirm details and select the award flight that you want to book.

Select your flight of choice to move on to the next step.

5. Click “Continue” to begin the checkout process.

Once you click “Continue” you’ll be able to confirm passenger details, select your seat and begin the checkout process.

If you’re booking an award flight with miles, you’ll still need to pay taxes and fees.

You’ll be prompted to choose a payment method, enter payment details, and complete the checkout process. Then, your booking is finalized.

For partner flights

You can also redeem AAdvantage miles for flights with partner airlines, like Alaska Airlines, Cape Air and JetBlue Airways, and the process is fairly similar to the steps above.

Here’s how to redeem American Airlines miles for Oneworld airline flights and partner flights:

1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above.

Log into your AAdvantage account, enter your trip details, select “Redeem miles” and search for reward flights.

2. On the next page, click “Airlines” and select which airlines you want to include in your search.

This is where the process for redeeming miles with a partner airline differs from the process for an American flight. You have the ability to search for partner airline flights only — select or deselect airlines based on your preferences. When you’re finished, click “Done,” and the search results will be updated.

3. Review award flight options and select the flight you want to book.

Once the reward flight options are narrowed down to your selected partner airline(s), you can follow the same steps previously described to choose your flight and continue with your booking.

4. Click “Continue” to confirm passenger details, select seats and complete the checkout process.

As noted before, you’ll need to pay taxes and fees when booking an award flight. Remember, taxes and fees may be higher when booking award partner flights.

Nerdy tip: China Southern Airlines, Etihad Airways, and GOL Airlines partner award flights can’t be booked online. You’ll need to contact an American Airlines booking agent to book award flights with these partners.

How to redeem American miles for other items

If you’re not interested in using your miles to book a flight, you can also redeem American Airlines miles in other ways.

Are you wondering what other redemption choices you have? For one, you can redeem miles for cabin upgrades on American, British Airways and Iberia flights. Additionally, you can redeem miles for seat reservations, car rentals, hotel stays, vacations, travel experiences and Admirals Club memberships. You can also choose to donate your miles to charity.

You can use your miles for these redemption options through the redeem miles page on AA.com. Once you choose which option works best for you, you'll be guided through the process to make your redemption.

Quick tips for redeeming American miles

Before rushing to redeem your American Airlines miles, consider the best use of your miles. By taking the right steps, you may be able to get more value out of your miles.

The following tips may help you get more out of your AAdvantage miles:

  • Score a web special award flight to get significant savings. American Airlines provides significantly discounted award tickets to some destinations. These deals are called Web Specials, and they can be found for as few as 5,000 miles each way. These rates aren’t published on the American Airlines website, but you can find them when searching for award tickets.

  • Look for MileSAAver award seats. Limited MileSAAver award seats are available, but these tickets can offer a great deal. You can book flights for as little as 7,500 miles each way for select North American journeys.

  • Award flight redemptions usually result in the best use of miles. If you want to maximize the value of your AAdvantage miles, redeeming them for an award ticket is likely your best bet. NerdWallet values American Airlines miles at 1.2 cents apiece. Other redemption options, like hotel stays, typically offer less value.

  • Review American Airlines’ calendar to find the most affordable award flight dates. You can use the calendar tool to find travel dates with the cheapest redemption options. This tool is available once you get to the search results page. If you have flexibility with your travel dates, you may be able to use fewer miles for your award flight redemption.

  • Don’t ignore taxes and fees. When redeeming award flights, you’re responsible for paying the taxes and fees. Review the total cost of fees before booking to make sure you’re still getting good value and use out of your AAdvantage miles.

Final thoughts on how to redeem American miles

Now you know how to redeem American Airlines miles. It’s easy to redeem miles and you have quite a few redemption choices. No matter what you plan to do, consider all of your options before redeeming miles to ensure you get the most out of your miles.

Photo courtesy of American Airlines.


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