Deal alert: Transcontinental flights from 15k miles in business, 33k miles in first class
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
American Airlines is on a roll.
On Friday, TPG discovered that American’s 5,000-mile economy Web Special awards are back. Today, we’re seeing that business and first class Web Specials have returned as well, with some incredibly enticing deals for those traveling coast-to-coast.
You can currently book domestic business and first-class awards from just 15,000 American AAdvantage miles each way. That’s equivalent $210 based on TPG valuations – in other words, the price of coach.
Offer from ShermansTravel: 4 nights at luxe Riviera Maya Resort w/transfers, $299+
Included in this deal are premium transcontinental routes between New York-JFK, Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) operated by American’s three-cabin A321Ts with Flagship Business and Flagship First. You can also book flights between Los Angeles and Miami (MIA), operated by American’s 777s, which also offer lie-flat seats.
The low rates are available for travel from late September through the end of the booking window in August 2021. Even better, Web Specials awards are included in American’s new no-change-fee policy.
For more TPG news and deals delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Airline: American Airlines
Routes: Various East Coast cities such as New York-JFK, Long Island/MacArthur (ISP), Miami (MIA), Boston (BOS), Philadelphia (PHL), Baltimore (BWI), Washington D.C. (DCA) and Washington Dulles (IAD) to/from West Coast cities such as Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), San Diego (SAN) and Phoenix (PHX)
Cost: From 15,000 AAdvantage miles one way in business class, 32,500 miles in first class
Dates: Late September 2020 through the end of the booking window
Pay Taxes/Fees With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline; starting Jan. 1, 2021 earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel) for travel protections on the award flight.
How to book
To book, either do an award search directly on American’s website or use the American Airlines Award Map. With this tool, you can enter your origin and preferred travel dates, preferred cabin and leave the destination open as “Continental U.S” to see the full list of discounted awards.
You can also use American’s calendar function and filter your search to only show Business/First class to find the cheapest dates.
The cheapest awards are available for one-stop cross-country itineraries, such as from San Francisco (SFO) to Long Island/MacArthur (ISP), and start at 15,000 miles each way for first class. These flights typically only offer standard domestic first-class recliner seats.
However, for only 5,000 miles more, you can book Flagship Business on premium transcontinental routes with lie-flat seats. This includes both New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX)…
… and New York to San Francisco (SFO).
Although this route doesn’t offer the full Flagship experience, 20,000 miles can also get you a lie-flat seat on a flight from Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles operated by a 777.
Departing from another city and still want the lie-flat experience? No problem. These rates are available out of other cities — including Boston (BOS), Philadelphia (PHL), Washington D.C. and more — as well and you can still opt to connect through an airport like New York-JFK to fly the three-cabin A321T.
In fact, these “premium” one-stop itineraries offer even lower rates in Flagship First than if you were to book a route like New York to Los Angeles outright. For instance, you could book Boston to Los Angeles via New York for just 32,500 miles in Flagship First.
The same rate is available out of Philadelphia as well.
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 and 50,000 miles for Flagship First) – and that’s assuming you’re able to find saver availability. So, you can easily save 50% or more through these web specials.
Important things to know
There is a risk with booking travel now in that there’s no way to guarantee when things will return to normalcy. While all states have at least partially reopened, several have a mandatory, 14-day quarantine order in effect for visitors. If you’re booking this deal, know that New York and New Jersey have mandatory quarantines for travelers entering from high-risk states — including California. If the situation does not get better soon, you may end up being forced to change or cancel your trip. On the bright side, you’ll no longer be on the hook for any fees if you wish to cancel your award and reinstate miles.
Keep in mind that for the foreseeable future, service onboard is reduced and that the ground experience — with some lounges closed or without hot food and amenities — will also be different than usual. Although American still sells Flagship First, it has eliminated much of the ground and onboard elements that differentiated it from Business. There is no date yet for when differentiated service may return.
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:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. Plus Admirals Club access for yourself and up to 10 authorized users.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening.
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card: 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $500 on purchases in three months — with no annual fee
The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related reading: Choosing the best credit card for American Airlines flyers
Maximize your purchase
When paying the taxes and fees on your award ticket, be sure to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases and offers travel protections in case anything goes wrong. Cards that fit the bill include The Platinum Card® from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
All screenshots courtesy of American Airlines.
Featured image by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees