Maximizing American Airlines Business and First Class Web Specials

Elina GellerMay 4, 2020
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Flying in premium cabins on American Airlines with your miles is more affordable than you might think thanks to business and first class Web Specials. Web Special awards are available for fewer AAdvantage miles than those on American’s published award chart.

Price isn’t the only difference between standard and Web Special awards, the latter generally don’t permit changes, include several restrictions and aren't officially published anywhere — you have to search specific routes to find them. Currently, Web Special awards are available only on American Airlines and not on partner airlines.

In this post, we’ll take a look at Web Special awards in first and business class and compare them with American’s award chart. Use the chart below as a reference point when deciding which regions are most in line with the number of AAdvantage miles you would like to spend.

Business and first class award chart for American Airlines

American’s award chart includes MileSAAver and AAnytime awards. When people talk about the airline’s award chart, they are typically referring to MileSAAver tickets, since the AAnytime flights are usually overpriced and rarely offer a good value.

Below we’ve included the one-way MileSAAver price for first and business class awards with American Airlines.

This chart shows what award tickets cost from the U.S. to another region. For example, a one-way business class flight from one of the contiguous 48 U.S. states to Europe costs 57,500 miles. Now, let's take a look at some Web Specials to see where you can maximize your miles at prices even lower than this chart.

Examples of great business and first class Web Special awards

U.S. to Hong Kong

In business class, a Web Special award from Dallas to Hong Kong is only 50,000 miles + $5.60 in taxes compared with the standard rate of 70,000 (for Asia Region 2).

The most incredible value, however, comes from first class at only 61,000 miles + $5.60 in taxes (compared with 110,000 miles based on the award chart). The LAX-HKG flight is 15 hours and 40 minutes, so spending that time in a lie-flat first class seat is an appealing option.

U.S. to Sao Paulo

A Web Special in business class from Chicago to Sao Paulo is 44,000 miles + $5.60 in taxes compared with the standard rate of 57,500 miles (South America Region 2).

First class is only 55,000 miles + $5.60 in taxes compared with 85,000 miles per the award chart. If you book this route, you could experience American’s Flagship First class with lie-flat seats during the eight-hour flight from Miami to Sao Paulo.

U.S. to London

On this San Francisco to London route, no matter which premium award you chose, you would get to experience either American’s Flagship First or Flagship Business. Seats in both cabins convert into flat beds, and if you fly first class on this route, you can access the Flagship First Lounge in JFK (which has showers and premium food and drinks).

In business class, a Web Special award is 52,000 miles + $5.60 in taxes, which is slightly cheaper than the MileSAAver rate to Europe at 57,500 miles.

Again, you would be getting the best value in first class. A Web Special in this cabin is only 62,000 miles + $5.60 in taxes compared with 85,000 miles based on the award chart.

So what’s the catch?

Well, these heavily discounted awards are more likely to include a stop, and they don’t reflect partner availability.

For example, here is a nonstop award ticket from Dallas to Hong Kong.

These nonstop business and first class awards are priced at a whopping 97,000 miles and 210,000 miles, respectively. In addition, they are both significantly more expensive than the prices shown on the award chart (70,000 miles in business and 110,000 miles in first class).

If you can be a little flexible and don’t mind a connection (or live in a non-hub city where a connection is required anyway), you’ll have the best chance to snag a decently priced Web Special award that makes sense for your travel plans.

Keep in mind that American is a member of Oneworld and has independent partnerships with various airlines. Due to these partnerships, AAdvantage miles can be used to fly on over 21 different airlines. Although Web Specials aren’t available on these airlines, if you’re not finding any Web Specials or the awards are too expensive, use American’s advanced/multi-city search page to find partner availability.

American also publishes an award chart for its partner airlines, and those prices are generally in line with its own chart.

The bottom line

A lot of value can be extracted from American’s business and first class Web Special awards. If you’re willing to be flexible and choose a connecting flight over a nonstop, you could find some rock bottom prices.

One caveat about Web Special awards is that they are restrictive and don’t allow any changes. If you’re sure you won't need to change your ticket, a Web Special award may be your best bet.

Have you flown in business or first class on a Web Special? How much did you save compared with the award chart? Share with us in the comments!

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