Here’s the goal:

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The goal is for a New Yorker to get a one way award to Europe in the height of summer for only 20k miles, which is a 10k mile discount plus a free oneway from Los Angeles to New York, a 12,500 mile value.

We want to pay 20,000 American Airlines miles for two flights that “should” cost 42,500 miles.

(This trick doesn’t just work for New Yorkers. It works for people who live in every city that has an American Airlines flight to London. And it doesn’t just work if you want a free oneway from Los Angeles. It works for free oneways from most of North America including Canada, Mexico, and Hawaii.)

Cities with AA Flights to London
Cities with AA Flights to London

So how can we accomplish our goal in 10 clicks?

1. On aa.com, “Refine your search.”

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2. AAdvantage Award

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3, 4, 5. Multi-City and Dates. The first date has to be between October 15 and May 15. The second date can be any time including the height of summer.

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6. AA, American Eagle, and AmericanConnection. This click is optional. I did it on this route, so that British Airways flights (and their high fuel surcharges) won’t clutter the search results.

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7, 8. Select any light green date for each flight. (I love the price of “–” for the free oneway!)

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Look how good award space is between New York City and London-Heathrow this summer.

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 6.02.57 PM 9, 10. Select each flight by clicking on the “Flight 1″ and “Flight 2″ boxes then choose your flights.

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(Yes, yes, I probably skipped a few clicks for effect. This probably takes 20 clicks.)

Goal accomplished:

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For more information on this trick, why it works, what other routes it can work on, and a step-by-step breakdown of how to book it for yourself, see 20k Miles to All of Europe All Summer.

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41 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent trick! Dude – your hacks are positively the best! The other bloggers keep repeating the same things again and again…This is terrific;

    P.S. I like the price of ‘-‘ of LAX-NYC. LOL

  2. I misunderstood the sentence “We want to pay 20,000 American Airlines miles for two flights that “should” cost 42,500 miles.”

    To clarify for the easily excitable (including myself): The total r/t cost is 2x20K = 40K miles + fees/taxes.

  3. what if you want to change date to gateway city but no change to departing europe date ? will that trigger more miles to the award ?

    • If the date of the first leg is an off peak date, you pay the off peak price. If the first leg is a peak date, you pay the peak price.

    • Yes you did. AA calculates the miles you must redeem based on the 1st flight of the trip. In this case the 1st flight from LAX to JFK is in May, therefore it’s 20,000 miles off peak rate.

  4. I am in Providence. The closest place to fly American is Boston. How would I go about doing this? Would I have to book a flight from NYC to Boston on a day before May 15th (for example April 20) and then book my flight from Boston to London on a date after May 15 but before October 15th. Since I am in Providence do I actually have to fly from JFK to BOS or could I instead just skip the flight and then just fly from BOS to LHR on the date I choose (which has the 20k award availability).

    • XXX to Boston any time between October 15 and May 15, then BOS to Paris during the summer for 20k miles one way. You must fly that first leg. Use it as the return from a first vacation.

  5. I don’t think US Air is offering the 35K roundtrip off season to Europe any more. I can’t get the fare to show at all!!!

  6. So many questions from this noob:

    Why would a New Yorker need a one-way ticket from LAX to NY just to get to London? Is it just to get the trick price of 20K? Wouldn’t he need to be on that flight from LAX?
    This itinerary is for a 2 month trip. Is that really what is going on here? Who can travel for 2 months?

    Let me have it!!

    • As you said, this is for a New Yorker, so he’s not traveling for two months, he’s in New York at home for two months. The flight from LAX-JFK is the return of one vacation that can be as long as he likes. JFK-LHR is the outbound of a second that can again be as long as he likes.

  7. I don’t understand how one would go about utilizing this then. So I basically would have to book a flight now and and actually fly before May 15 , and then just book the flight from for instance BOS to London after May 15 and before Oct 15th from a gateway city.

    • Read the linked post at the bottom for why there’s no way to pay off peak price on London to NYC for a peak date flight. The short answer is that AA determines whether to charge peak or off peak pricing solely on the date of the first flight.

  8. But you have to take the 1st flight, otherwise NYC-LHR will be cancelled.
    If this is true then what’s the point of this award – just misleading. If this is not true – please explain how it will work.

    • This is a blog for people who like to travel, so a traveler should see the opportunity to get an extra flight for negative 10k miles as a benefit. Fly to LAX on a separate award or cash ticket and enjoy a vacation there.

  9. I’m following the thread until you arrive in London /LHR.
    Then to return to NY/ JFK from LHR before Oct. 15 you would still need 30k points for peak season one way, correct?

  10. I played around with some gateways outside yours and I finally understand it. Time for winter trips in Hawaii and summer trips in Europe! Now need to figure out a place to stay in Dallas in between :)

      • Looks like your trick is now doa. Thanks to Suzanne RUBIN. Not too much of a surprise – the surprise however is the length of time they let the exploitation go on. Oh well, back to the drawing boards?

        PS:Scott, you do know that airlines have a few people whose job function is to read as many travel blogs as possible to see what’s actually going on, right?

        • It’s a stretch to think something I originally posted 16 months ago is what caused American to drop stopovers. –> milevalue.com/20k-miles-to-all-of-europe-all-summer/

          I also do not think airlines have a “few people whose job function is to read as many travel blogs as possible.”

          Not to say that this didn’t die because of free oneways. It may have.

          • I doubt it was because of that particular post, but its been repeated ad nauseum since then (not just at milevalue) and I’m sure after lots of analysis they caught on and said enough. It’s pretty obvious that the completely out of whack (ie: to or from Hawaii on a one way basis after a transatlantic when the award holder doesn’t have an address in Hawaii…really?). Yes I agree, those foolhardy, oennywise pound foolish one ways were like a dead giveaway. Airlines really do analyze these things.
            Regarding an airline having people whose job entails scanning travel blogs? Two words: they do. Maybe not all day, every day, but with sufficient frequency to see what’s new on the avenue. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine the”why” behind it. Maybe there’s more interest by the carriers in it since that jagoff Brian of TPG advertised one of his unethical practices and then some nimrod got snagged by Emirates in BKK. That nimrod really skated. So yeah, airlines do it and can’t really blame them.
            I don’t think you’d like customers trying to scam you if you had a business. I know I definitely wouldn’t.

  11. Why would anyone fly to LHR on any airline that charges outrageous fuel surcharges? I suggest Aer Lingus BOS-DUB-LHR/LGW for few Avios and little money.

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