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American AAdvantage miles are some of the most valuable airline miles out there. Personally, I think their best uses are for long-haul premium redemptions (like my spring trip to Sao Paulo in first class on their brand new 777-300) or for off-peak awards like 40,000 miles to Europe in coach.
Update: The 40,000 point offer for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World Mastercard has ended.
However, if you have a co-branded personal Citi AAdvantage card, such as the Citi Platinum Select World Mastercard, which is currently offering 40,000 miles after spending $3,000, there are some mileage redemption benefits that can present some great values. Cardholders earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar, and have access to reduced price domestic awards.
Those reduced-price awards shave 5,000-7,500 off roundtrip award tickets and are valid on certain routes within the US and Canada originating within the 48 contiguous United States. They can be booked in economy or first class. Though they only used to be bookable as roundtrip awards, they are now also available for one-way bookings, making them even more versatile. Also instead of being available between various city pairs on a quarterly basis, the reduced mileage award routes now change monthly. As of now, the monthly lists of cities you can fly to/from has been planned out to November. As long as there is mileage saver availability, you should be able to receive these discounts but you must call to book.
How To Book
In order to book these discounted awards:
- Check the current list of eligible destinations and check MileSAAver awards, since there must be MileSAAver availability to take advantage of this offer, to find the flight dates and times that work for you.
- When you are ready to book, call American Airlines AAdvantage reservations at 1-800-882-8880 and have the award code ready and a reservation representative will book your flight for you. Unfortunately there’s a $25 fee, but it’s waived for Executive Platinums.
Depending on the Citi AAdvantage card you have, you can get either 7,500 or 5,000 miles off a roundtrip award. The following cards yield the 7,500-mile discount (for a total of 17,500 miles roundtrip, or 8,750 one-way):
While these cards only earn a 5,000 mile discount on roundtrips, so you’re looking at 20,000 miles (10,000 miles one-way).
Some of current reduced mileage award destinations for August include New Orleans, LA; Charleston, WV; Washington Dulles and Washington National, Monterey, CA; Cedar Rapids, IA; Columbus, OH; Champaign, IL; Key West, FL and Toronto, Canada.
Some of the current reduced mileage award destinations for September include Nashville, TN; Albuquerque, NM; Phoenix, AZ; Montreal, Canada; Tampa, FL and Santa Fe, NM.
Some of the current reduced mileage award destinations for October include Traverse City, MI; Alexandria, LA; Durango/Purgatory, CO; Oklahoma City, OK; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN and Savannah, GA.
Some of the current reduced mileage award destinations for November include Newark, NJ; Tallahassee, FL; Charlotte, NC; Dayton, OH; Green Bay, WI; Monterey, CA; Santa Fe, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Raleigh, NC; and Montreal, Canada.
I conservatively value American miles at about 1.8 cents each because my redemptions tend to be for long-haul international premium class tickets, so if you were to get 7,500 miles refunded that would be about $135 in value, more than enough to make up for the annual fees on these cards.
As an example, I searched for an economy award from Dallas-Fort Worth to Washington National and was able to come up with tons of Mileage SAAver availability, so if you had a personal Citi AAdvantage card, it would bring the award cost down to only 17,500 miles round-trip.
To compare, a comparable ticket would cost $411 in economy for the same dates.
So my per-mile value would be 2.35 cents as a Citi AAdvantage cardholder instead of 1.64 cents as a non-cardholder. And that’s not even taking into account the 10% mileage refund you’d get as a cardholder.
As another example, I searched for an economy award from Chicago-O’Hare – New Orleans and was able to come up with tons of Mileage SAAver first availability, meaning if I had a Citi AAdvantage card, it would bring the award cost down to only 42,500 miles round-trip.
Comparable tickets are going for around $809 those same dates:
Though the list of eligible cities changes each month, there’s a lot of overlap month-to-month, and American makes the details available 4-5 months in advance, so if you play your cards right (and have an AAdvantage card), you can score a lot of discount award tickets on the airline just by keeping up with the cities lists and calling in to book your reduced-mileage awards and earn the 10% cardholder mileage refund. In combination, these are definitely two of my favorite airline credit card benefits, and if used strategically, can save you a ton of miles.