Terrific deal alert: Cross-country first class flights for just 15k miles each way — including lie-flat options

Jan 20, 2020

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In December 2019, American Airlines began expanding its “web special” pricing to premium economy, business class and first class awards. While this dynamic pricing scheme has its downsides — such as some international business-class awards soaring to 480,000 miles each way — it has also brought upon some terrific deals, such as first class flights to Hawaii for 28,000 miles each way, business class flights to Europe for 42,000 miles each way and business class flights to Tokyo for 45,000 miles each way.

Today, we are seeing the positive side of dynamic award pricing, with cross-country first class flights from just 15,000 AAdvantage miles each way. While the low fares are available to a number of destinations, you’ll find the most availability on flights in and out of NYC airports — specifically Long Island-Islip (ISP), which is an approximately 75-minute drive from midtown Manhattan.

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Even better, some of these awards let you route through Philadelphia (PHL) to fly a lie-flat business-class seat on American’s A330 or 787-8 for the majority of your trip.

Image by JT Genter / The Points Guy
Business class on American Airlines A330. (Image by JT Genter / The Points Guy)

Not all transcontinental flights in and out of Philadelphia offer lie-flat seats so you’ll want to pay close attention to what aircraft the flight you’re considering is operated by and check the seat map.

Per the American Airlines award chart, domestic first-class awards greater than 500 miles ordinarily cost 25,000 miles each way (32,500 miles if the award includes travel on an aircraft with lie-flat seats) so you can easily save over 50% through these web specials.

The most availability can be found between now and April, but there’s some availability scattered beyond that. On the plus side, if you’re considering booking an award within 21 days of departure and don’t have AA elite status, you’ll no longer incur a $75 close-in booking fee.

As with other web specials, these deals aren’t available over the phone. We recommend using AA’s calendar function and filtering your search to only show Business/First class to find the best availability.

As a reminder, there are some minor restrictions that come with these web specials, which you can read more about at the end of this story.

Airline: American Airlines
Routes: Various West Coast cities such as LAX/SAN/SFO/SEA/PHX to/from East Coast cities such as ISP/EWR/JFK/PHL/DCA/MIA
Cost: 15,000 AAdvantage miles + $5.60 taxes and fees one-way
Dates: January through April 2020
Pay Taxes/Fees With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel) for travel protections on the award flight.

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

Long Island-Islip (ISP) to Los Angeles (LAX) for 15,000 AA miles + $5.60 one-way:

San Francisco (SFO) to LaGuardia (LGA) for 16,000 AA miles + $5.60 one-way:

Phoenix (PHX) to New York-JFK for 16,000 AA miles + $5.60 one-way nonstop:

How AA Web Specials work

Web Specials offer AAdvantage members a chance to book award flights for as little as 5,000 miles each way. Although American started with just six obscure routes, it has since expanded to flights around the world. You never know what you’ll find on the Web Special tab — for instance, economy flights to Australia and New Zealand were recently available for 10,000 miles round-trip.

There are some minor restrictions that come with these web specials. We go through all of the details about how Web Specials works in this guide, but 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
  • Web Specials cannot be changed once ticketed, but 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 “Web Special” program is in addition to — but doesn’t replace — the Reduced Mileage Award program.
  • These deals aren’t available over the phone.

Related reading: Maximizing redemptions with American Airlines AAdvantage

Boosting your AAdvantage balance

There are a variety of ways to earn American miles — from AA-operated flights to trips on Oneworld airlines to various non-travel partners. However, one of the best ways to boost your American Airlines AAdvantage balance to score a few free trips is by adding one of these cards to your arsenal:

Related reading: Choosing the best credit card for American Airlines flyers

Featured image by Nick Ellis / The Points Guy.

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