Redeem American Airlines Miles: Part 3 — Where to Search Award Space for All Partners

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I am updating and re-posting this series on redeeming American Airlines miles in light of the fact that right now it’s super easy to earn 146,000 American Airlines miles.

For a limited time, the Citi /AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard and the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard are both offering 50k bonus miles for spending $3,000 on each card within three months of opening it. The new Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard is offering 40k bonus American Airlines miles after just one purchase and paying the annual fee of $95. You can sign up for all three in the same nine day period (you can be approved for no more than one Citi card in an eight day period) and earn at least 146k American Airlines miles within three months after meeting the bonus requirements. 

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

“Redeeming American Airlines Miles” Series Index

Which Airlines Can You Book with American Airlines Miles?

American Airlines is a member of oneworld, so its miles can be used on all 14 oneworld partners. American also has partnerships outside its alliance. They have yet to update their website, but the prior LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines have merged to become LATAM, hence why I say 14 oneworld partners and not 15. American Airlines miles can also be used on the 8 airlines listed as Additional airline partners.

Subject to other rules that I cover here, you can freely combine as many partners as you want onto a single award.

Where to Search Award Space on All American Airlines Partners

You have to search award space on American Airlines partners on a combination of aa.com, ba.com, other airline websites, or simply by calling AAdvantage reservations (800-882-8880). The fact that there are so many places to look is one of the main reasons many people prefer to have my Award Booking Service book their American Airlines awards.

It is important to note that you should completely ignore the number of miles quoted for an award ticket during your search on ba.com, alaskaair.com, or etihad.com. Since you are booking with American Airlines miles, you are subject to American Airlines’ very different award chart. How many miles will your award cost? I cover that in Part 4 of this series.

Searchable on aa.com

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • airberlin
  • British Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Royal Jordanian

Here’s how to search aa.com.

In general, aa.com is pretty good at finding all possible connections for the airlines it is searching. However, your results can always be improved by segment-by-segment searching.

Searchable on ba.com

 

  • Japan Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Iberia
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Here’s how to search ba.com.

BA.com is fantastic if you want to search direct flights, but it does a terrible job of finding connections. To search ba.com for award space when connecting itineraries are possible, you must master the very simple concept of segment-by-segment searching. Any award space for the preceding airlines found on ba.com is bookable by calling American Airlines.

Searchable Other Places

  • Air Tahiti Nui and Gulf Air are searchable on Expert Flyer.

Here’s how to search Expert Flyer.

Note that American Airlines cannot book Air Tahiti–a separate airline from Air Tahiti Nui–or Air Tahiti Nui First Class. Any award space found on Expert Flyer for Air Tahiti Nui or Gulf Air is bookable by calling American Airlines.

Expert Flyer is a paid service that offers a free trial. If you don’t want to search there, you can search by calling American Airlines.

  • Etihad Airways award space is searchable on etihad.com.

Here’s how to search etihad.com. American Airlines miles can be used to book any space labeled as “GuestSeat.”

Here’s how to search alaskaair.com. Any Fiji Airways award space on alaskaair.com is bookable with American Airlines miles.

  • Jet Airways and Seaborne are only searchable by calling American Airlines.

Note that no one in this FlyerTalk thread seems to have ever been able to book an award on Seaborne because of lack of award space even though it should be theoretically possible. However, recently someone was at least able to put a Seaborne award on hold.

Booking the Awards

If your award is entirely searchable on aa.com, you can book there also or put the award on a five-day courtesy hold after selecting your flights.

If you cannot search on aa.com, note the date, flight number, and cabin of the award space you find before calling American Airlines at 800-882-8880 and feeding the agent the flights one at a time. Make sure to remind the phone agent to waive the phone fee, since you couldn’t book online.

Once your award is constructed, you can ticket it or put it on a five-day courtesy hold by phone.

Bottom Line

For a limited time, the Citi /AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard is offering the same bonus. The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard is offering 40k bonus American Airlines miles after just one purchase and paying the annual fee of $95.

By meeting the $6,000 total spending requirement + putting one purchase on the Barclaycard and paying its $95 annual fee, you’ll earn at least 146,000 American Airlines miles. If you decide to open all three cards, open the Barclaycard first, then either Citi card, and then wait eight days to apply for the second Citi card. For example, on day 1 you apply for the Barclaycard and then immediately following, the personal Citi card. On day 9 you apply for the CitiBusiness card.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

You’ll be much better equipped to spend all those American Airlines miles if you understand that while those miles can be redeemed on any oneworld or non-allied partner, you aren’t always going to find the award space displayed for each on aa.com. Bookmark this page as a guide to help you when searching, or hire my Award Booking Service to help.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. Very helpful discussion, which I’ll bookmark. I’m just wondering WHY American is so horribly slow about getting up the functionality to see itineraries on more of its partners on its website. Not everyone is a Scott Grimmer who can readily investigate half a dozen websites. United, though imperfect, is much closer to complete, and thus has the more useful website and often currency, in my view. Anyway, thanks for the overview.

  2. One correction: Qantas flights are visible on AA website as well as the BA site, and they actually make better connections on the BA site than the AA for Qantas . For example I’m looking at flights from PER to SYD on Thursday March 5th and AA says there are no available awards in economy but BA shows me 4 connections that would work! (not sure if they are bookable with AA, Im assuming so and I may just have to call in)

  3. Thanks for a this great series, Scott. One question on searching for award inventory on ba.com. The award search on ba throws up “x” number of avios for what I’m looking for. How do I find out the AA miles required for this ? Do I have to call the AA phone agent ?

  4. HI, you mentioned in the ba.com section that “Any award space for the preceding airlines found on ba.com is bookable by calling American Airlines.”
    I found 4 award seats available from MAD-DOH on QR0148 in business on 28-Jun but when I called AA, they said no business class is available.
    Several other similar finds in ba.com can’t be found be the AA agents.
    What can/should I do?

  5. […] I searched Cathay Pacific’s American routes for award space on ba.com on February 4, 2016 to see what space is available 11 months out. Cathay Pacific space is available with Avios even further out than 331 days in advance, but almost all of that space is still available 11 months out. (For more information on searching ba.com and where to search all American Airlines partners for award space, see Redeem American Airlines Miles: Part 2 — Where to Search Award Space for All Partners.) […]

  6. airberlin long haul biz awards not showing on AA.com. Confirmed availability on Qantas.com
    airberlin long haul economy awards are showing on AA.com. Is AA blocking airberlin long haul biz awards?

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