How to Use American AAdvantage Miles for Kids Tickets and Cash for Yours

Jan 22, 2017

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As you may have read, I’ve had a bit of trouble using my American Airlines AAdvantage miles recently at the saver level. From the extensive discussion in the comments on that post, I know I’m not alone. With four kids, budgets are tight and I am now booking trips beyond when my youngest daughter turns two, so that means that the days of booking her as a free lap baby are over.

 

With this in mind, as we planned our holiday 2017 visit to my in-laws in Kansas I really wanted to use AAdvantage miles if possible. This is especially true since we will be flying to Kansas from Dallas after a stay at the Gaylord Texan to experience their winter wonderland, and that is a route American operates as a quick nonstop flight.

There wasn’t any economy saver availability on the date I needed, but there was actually first class saver availability using AAdvantage miles for two seats. Since it is a pretty short flight at under 500 miles flown, it was just 15,000 miles per first class seat. That isn’t a great award price, but it certainly isn’t horrible. I’ll be taking the girls by myself on this flight to see the grandparents while Josh heads home to work, so having the little extra attention that comes in first class seemed worth the splurge…especially since using miles for economy would have cost more than first anyway.

The only hitch in this otherwise solid plan was that since our littlest will have already turned two by the time this flight happens, I need three seats and not just the two that were available using miles. The cash price for the third ticket was actually quite fair, so I was good with using miles for two seats and cash for one. However, no matter how I divided the three of us up, at least one kid was having to fly without an adult on their ticket.

The American reservation system will not let you book a flight for a child under 16 years old online without an adult attached to the reservation. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

In cases like this one where you want to book a child using miles and then purchase an adult ticket with cash, or vice versa, you have to call American Airlines and make the booking over the phone.

I explained our situation over the phone and said that I will be traveling on the flight, but no matter how I did the booking, at least one daughter would be booked without me on the reservation since there were only two saver award seats available and three of us traveling. The agent totally understood and said she can make that booking over the phone.

Within a matter of minutes we were able to get the two bookings done, even though it meant booking a kiddo without me on the same reservation. She did “link” our two reservations behind the scenes, though in my experience that isn’t something you can see on the front end. There were no extra fees to make this booking over the phone since it cannot be done online.

If you ever find yourself needing to make a reservation for your minor children using American Airlines miles without you on the same reservation, even though you will be on the same plane, just pick up the phone and make the reservation the old fashioned way by talking to an agent. I imagine the same process would be true with most other airlines, though I can’t promise all will allow you to make a child booking without an adult on the same reservation. Thankfully, it was an easy process with American and I can vouch for having done the same with United in the past as well.

Have you ever used miles for your minor kids without an adult on the reservation?

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