Many airlines regularly offer sales for different destinations, both on cash fares as well as on fares where you can use your frequent flyer miles. The trend recently among many U.S. airlines has been away from a fixed award chart for award bookings and toward a more dynamic pricing model. That makes the cost of an award booking vary drastically depending not only on the route but also the time of day, the number of connections and whatever other factors the airline decides are relevant.
This can make it challenging to find an optimal use of your miles. One program that American Airlines has is its Reduced Mileage Awards. In this post, we’ll discuss what American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards are, how you can use them and why you might want to take advantage.
What are American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards?
American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards is a special program that lets holders of specific American Airlines co-branded cards get a discount on the cost of an award ticket of up to 7,500 miles for a round trip or 3,750 miles for a one-way flight, depending on which credit card you have. Flights that are less than or equal to 500 flown miles get a smaller discount — either 500 or 1,000 miles depending on which card you have.
American recently introduced a new class of award flight redemptions called Web Specials. Some of the Web Special flights cost as little as 5,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. It would be quite the deal to get a 3,750-mile discount on a flight that costs only 5,000 miles to start with, but alas, it is not to be. Reduced Mileage Awards are only good on the basic MileSAAver flights (which generally cost 7,500 AAdvantage miles for a flight less than 500 miles or 12,500 AAdvantage miles for a longer one-way flight).
Which credit cards make you eligible?
You must hold one of the co-branded American Airlines credit cards in order to be eligible for Reduced Mileage Awards. The following credit cards offer the full discount, which is 7,500 miles for round-trip flights longer than 500 miles or 2,000 miles for shorter flights:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Visa®.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® American Express®.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Select Visa®.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®.
This next set of credit cards offers a 5,000-mile discount on round-trip flights longer than 500 miles or a 1,000 mile discount for shorter flights.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold American Express®.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold Visa®.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold MasterCard®.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®.
As you can see, there are several American Airlines credit cards that offer the full 7,500-mile benefit.
Also, keep in mind that although the official American Airlines site consistently markets these discounts as round-trip amounts, you can also book one-way award flights for half of the discount (so a 3,750-mile discount on an award flight longer than 500 miles with one of the credit cards in the first group).
Where can you go with Reduced Mileage Awards?
There are a few catches with American’s Reduced Mileage Awards. The first is that they are for a limited-time only, and the second is that they are only good from a set list of airports in the U.S. The list of eligible airports changes monthly and is usually published about four months out. If your airport is on the list, then you can travel anywhere within the contiguous 48 U.S. states with the reduced mileage discount. Even if your airport is not on the list, you can still book a round-trip flight with the reduced mileage discount to any airport that is on the list.
How to book with Reduced Mileage Awards
The last quirk of American’s Reduced Mileage Awards is that you cannot book them online — you have to call in and give a code to the phone agent. Most phone agents are aware of the program, so even if you don’t have the code you may still be able to book the award, but it never hurts to be prepared.
Here is a list of the codes:
For flights of over 500 flown miles:
7,500-mile discount award codes
- First class (2-cabin aircraft) – UD21X2E / AVM13.
- Business class (3-cabin aircraft) – UD28X7E / AVA07.
- Main cabin – TD8X7E / AVM12.
5,000-mile discount award codes
- First class (2-cabin aircraft) – UD22X5E / AVM11.
- Business class (3-cabin aircraft) – UD30E / AVA01.
- Main cabin – TD10E / AVM10.
For shorter flights (less than 500 flown miles)
2,000-mile discount award codes
- First class (2-cabin aircraft) – UD14E / AVA12.
- Main cabin – TD6X5E / AVA11.
1,000-mile discount award codes
- First class (2-cabin aircraft) – UD14X5E / AVA06.
- Main cabin – TD7E / AVA05.
Since these awards cannot be booked online, the standard phone booking charge is waived, but you may still be charged a $35 fee if you book through the AA travel center.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best airline credit card for you
The complete guide to redeeming American Airline miles
34 ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles