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When it’s time to cash in your AAdvantage miles for an award flight, you’ll want to understand how to make your rewards go further. Here's everything you need to know about American Airlines' miles chart to get the most out of all those hard-earned miles.
American Airlines award travel
Before we dig into the details, one important caveat: The trend in U.S. airlines over the past few years has been to eliminate award charts entirely, opting for dynamic award rates that respond to demand. Sure enough, that time has come for American Airlines as well.
American has published a new "award chart" to give flyers an idea of where rates might start for certain routes and fare classes, but there are no guarantees:
For flights on American Airlines and American Eagle, you can also use miles to upgrade your cabin by one service class using a combination of miles and cash. Upgrade costs range from 5,000 miles to 25,000 miles plus $550, depending on where you’re flying and what class of ticket you’re upgrading from.
Note that upgrading from a full-fare ticket doesn’t cost in cash, only miles.
American Airlines award chart tips
When booking award travel on American Airlines, award prices are shown in one-way segments. There will also be taxes and fees imposed when you book award travel. These start at $5.60 for each one-way flight.
Expect to pay extra if the first/business class flight you book in the U.S. or Canada happens to be on an aircraft with lie-flat seats. We suggest checking the aircraft you’ll fly on before you book.
Partner airlines and Oneworld award charts
Since American Airlines is a member of Oneworld and has independent partnerships with various airlines, AAdvantage miles can be used to fly on American and more than 20 different airlines, which include:
The chart below shows American’s award chart for Oneworld and partner airlines:
The prices of flights in miles are largely in line between the American and the Oneworld and partner airlines award charts. The partner chart also includes flights to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Africa. Since American doesn't fly to these regions, it's nice to know that you can still use your AAdvantage miles to get you there.
Upgrade awards on British Airways and Iberia
Upgrades are only available on paid flights to the next cabin of service and will require a payment of any additional taxes and carrier surcharges. In the case of British Airways and Iberia, these surcharges can be quite expensive.
Whether you’re redeeming for an award flight or an upgrade, many of these tickets are within reach because American makes it easy to earn miles. A welcome bonus on a credit card offer can provide a nice boost toward earning miles for that award flight.
American Airlines partner/Oneworld award chart tips
When flying with partners, make sure your AAdvantage number is on your reservation and visible on your boarding pass. If needed, you can request missing AAdvantage credit retroactively.
Premium cabin award availability can be more limited; plan your redemptions far in advance to improve your odds of scoring a good deal.
» Learn more: The NerdWallet guide to AA transfer partners
Earn miles with American Airlines credit cards
American Airlines offers several credit cards to help you earn miles faster. Here are the annual fees and sign-up bonuses.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® (annual fee: $99): Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® (annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $99): Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (annual fee: $595): Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® (annual fee: $0): Earn 15,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® (annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $99): Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
Note that the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® comes with membership to American's Admirals Club lounges.
All these cards except the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® also offer a free checked bag on domestic itineraries with American Airlines, making them beneficial to loyal frequent flyers. Read our guide on how to choose between American credit cards.
» Learn more: Find the best airline credit card for you
American Airlines miles chart, recapped
American Airlines is just the latest domestic carrier to do away with a traditional award chart in favor of dynamic pricing.
Deals are out there if you're flexible, but more rigid travel plans mean you’ll likely have to cash in more miles.
The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
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 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card