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At the end of October, American Airlines rolled out a new mileage discount program called Economy Web Specials which offered AAdvantage members a chance to book economy flights for as little as 5,000 miles each way. Although American started with just six obscure routes, it expanded to 11 routes in early November and American has been steadily adding routes ever since.
This week has seen the most aggressive expansion yet with discount options now available on 39 routes including flights to Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America and Europe.
Airline: American Airlines
Routes: See routes broken out by region below
Cost: One-way economy award flights from 5,000+ miles for domestic flights; 5,000+ miles to the Caribbean; 9,000+ miles to Europe; 13,500+ miles for Hawaii flights; 20,500+miles to South America
Dates: Starting January 8, 2019 through the end of the calendar, although availability may be scattered on some routes
Booking Link: Directly with American Airlines
Pay Taxes/Fees With: Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Premier Card, Citi Prestige Card (3x on airfare plus excellent trip-delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)
Domestic & Canada
With this week’s expansion, there are now 29 routes in the US and Canada that are available through Economy Web Specials: ABQ-SAT, BOS-GSO, CLE-MSP, CLT-MLB, DFW-BRO, DFW-CRP, DFW-FLL, DFW-ICT, DFW-LIT, DFW-MAF, DFW-MFE, DFW-MSY, DFW-YYZ, IAH-ABQ, IAH-SNA, IND-AUS, LAX-AUS, LAX-LAS, LAX-PDX, LGA-ORF, LGA-RIC, MCO-BWI, OKC-SNA, ORD-ROA, PHL-GSO, PHX-LAS, PHX-LGB, PIT-MCO, RDU-DAY.
I haven’t had the chance to price each of them out, but there are a number of routes that would typically cost 12,500 miles each way but are available for as little as 5,000 miles each way.
Examples include New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Norfolk (ORF) for 5,000 miles one-way:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Portland (PDX) for 5,000 miles one-way:
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) for 5,000 mile one-way:
Mexico & Caribbean
Three Mexico/Caribbean routes have been added to the discount program:
- Miami (MIA) to Aruba (AUA)
- Miami (MIA) to Belize City (BZE)
- Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Montego Bay (MBJ)
Off-peak award flights to Mexico and the Caribbean cost 12,500 miles each way and standard award flights cost 15,000 each way. But with Economy Web Specials, you’ll get flights for as little as 5,000 miles each way. And availability is great too, even during peak travel times. Here’s Miami to Aruba in March — nearly everyday has flights available for 5,000 miles:
There are now four transatlantic routes included in the Economy Web Specials program:
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Barcelona (BCN)
- Raleigh/Durham (RDU) to London Heathrow (LHR)
- St. Louis (STL) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
- Miami (MIA) to Madrid (MAD)
And the pricing on some of these routes is spectacular — such as Miami to Madrid during peak summer for as low as 9,000 miles one way plus taxes of just $5.60:
This is a huge discount to the 22,500-mile off-peak award pricing and even more of a discount to the standard 30,000-mile award pricing.
In early November, American Airlines added two Hawaii routes to Economy Web Specials. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been expanded beyond these two routes:
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL)
- Phoenix (PHX) to Honolulu (HNL)
The pricing on these routes is all over the place, but I’m finding some options as cheap as 13,500 miles each way:
With this week’s expansion, American Airlines has added one route to South America: New York’s Kennedy (JFK) to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG). Discounted flights start as cheap as 20,500 miles each way vs. the 30,000-mile standard economy award rate.
How Economy Web Specials Works
I’d recommend reading through all of the details in this post about how Economy Web Specials works. However, as a quick briefer:
- These awards don’t have all of the American Airlines Basic Economy limitations.
- Executive Platinum elites get upgrades as they can on other domestic economy awards
- Where the American website says “Economy Web Specials cannot be changed once ticketed.” This isn’t defined but may mean that travelers can’t use Same Day Flight Changes to switch to another award flight on the same day.
- You can cancel and reinstate your miles according to the same terms as any other AAdvantage award. A redeposit fee of $150 for the first passenger and $25 per additional passenger applies for everyone but AAdvantage Executive Platinum elites.
- The “Economy Web Special” program is in addition to — but not replacing — the Reduced Mileage Award program.
If these awards leave your AAdvantage account depleted, here are some ways to replenish your account:
- Buy miles for as little as 1.77 cents each
- Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first three months.
- CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard: 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months and 2x miles on a wide variety of expenses.
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Plus Admirals Club access for up to 33 travelers at a time.
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card: 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit for spending $500 in three months — with no annual fee
Featured image by SeanPavonePhoto via Getty Images
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Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation