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Last week, we wrote about plentiful Virgin America first-class award space, which was bookable with AAdvantage miles. Now, however, there’s fairly wide-open award space on AA’s own premium nonstop routes between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), and you can depart as soon as today (Tuesday, February 6):

You can search right from the homepage, although the Advanced Search option will sometimes return more results. Once you have the initial results, select the “Non-Stop Only” option from the drop-down to eliminate the connecting flights.

Here are the first class nonstop options from NYC to LA starting Wednesday, February 7:

While AA’s MileSAAver domestic first class awards are generally 25,000 one-way, the airline charges 50,000 miles each way on this route due to the quality of the product. On these A321T-operated flights, first class is arranged with just one seat on each side of the aisle. Each seat is fully lie-flat and both the service and dining are designed for the celebrities that frequent this route. (I sat across from Ansel Elgort the last time I flew this route in business class.)

If you splurge for a first-class award, you’ll get a chance to check out American Airlines’ industry-leading Flagship First Dining before the flight at either JFK or LAX.

AA Flagship Dining at JFK.
AA Flagship Dining at JFK.

The food’s so good that AA’s half-jokingly reminding passengers not to forget about their flights:

Flagship First Dining advertisement found in New York
Flagship First Dining advertisement found in New York’s JFK in early February. Image by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

If you decide to enjoy the lie-flat bed rather than eating in-flight, you might even be able to score a meal after arrival too. When I talked with the JFK Flagship Lounge manager in December, he said that first-class passengers are “absolutely” welcome to visit for a meal after their flight — although this may have been a temporary measure during the airline’s LAX catering crisis.

Other Mileage Programs

If you’ve got points and miles in other currencies than AAdvantage, you can actually score an even better deal:

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: JFK-LAX for 30,000 miles one-way in business class
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: JFK-LAX for 40,000 miles one-way in first class
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: JFK-LAX for 50,000 miles round-trip in business class
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: JFK-LAX for 70,000 miles round-trip in first class
  • Japan Airlines Mileage Bank: JFK-LAX for 90,000 miles round-trip in first class

British Airways Avios can also be used for this route at 50,000 Avios each way in first class — the same rate as what AAdvantage charges.

H/T: View From The Wing

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
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  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
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  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
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  • $550 annual fee.
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