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Over the past few years, American Airlines has aggressively rolled out true premium economy cabins to much of its international aircraft fleet. By the beginning of December, AA surpassed 100 widebody aircraft with premium economy.

However, since its introduction as a separate class of service in May 2017, no amount of miles could reserve you a seat in premium economy. Instead, travelers either had to purchase a premium economy ticket, pay for a cash upgrade or get a free day-of-departure upgrade granted to top-tier elites.

Finally this Wednesday, American Airlines shared that it would be adding premium economy awards on Thursday. Sure enough, premium economy awards were just added to American Airlines’ award chart.

Premium Economy Award Chart

For premium economy awards on American Airlines flights, the “MileSAAver” award prices are going to be:

  • Alaska: 25,000 miles one-way
  • Hawaii: 50,000 miles one-way
  • South America Region 2: 40,000 miles one-way (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela)
  • Europe: 40,000 miles one-way
  • Asia Region 1: 50,000 miles one-way (Japan, Korea)
  • Asia Region 2: 50,000 miles one-way (China, Hong Kong)
  • South Pacific: 65,000 miles one-way

For South America and Europe, these are very reasonable prices. This is in line with what I’ve noticed with American Airlines premium economy cash fares; AA is pricing these at a reasonable premium over economy to get travelers to pay just a little more for the upgrade.

But I’m baffled by the award prices for Alaska (25,000 miles each way), Hawaii (50,000) and the South Pacific (65,000). I can’t see too many travelers paying the huge surcharge over economy — and almost business class rates — for premium economy.

Also, it’s important to note that these are the award prices you’ll pay if American Airlines releases saver award space. “AAnytime” awards are going to cost more, but hopefully you won’t have to settle for redeeming for these higher award rates. However, for completeness, here’s the full premium economy award chart for awards to/from the US contiguous 48 states:

From the Contiguous
United States to:
MileSAAver AAnytime
Level 1
AAnytime
Level 2
Alaska 25,000 40,000 55,000
Hawaii 50,000 65,000 85,000
South America Region 2 40,000 80,000 105,000
Europe 40,000 75,000 110,000
Asia Region 1 50,000 80,000 105,000
Asia Region 2 50,000 85,000 115,000
South Pacific 65,000 130,000 155,000

What’s Missing

While it’s great to have the option to book American Airlines premium economy flights with miles, this award chart update is missing an element: premium economy awards on partner airlines. From Japan Airlines to Qantas and Iberia to British Airways, many of AA’s Oneworld partners have premium economy cabins that are still not bookable with AAdvantage miles. And there’s no sign of when these awards will be introduced.

Consolidated Award Chart

Since the beginning of 2019, American Airlines has aligned the Canadian region with the contiguous US, sharply increased premium cabin award prices to Hawaii and now added premium economy awards. Putting all of those changes together, here’s the latest consolidated “MileSAAver” award chart by cabin for American Airlines-operated flights to/from the contiguous United States:

From the Contiguous United States to: Economy
Off Peak
Economy Premium
Economy
Business /
Domestic First
First Class
Contiguous 48 US & Canada* n/a 12,500 n/a 25,000 50,000
Contiguous 48 US & Canada
(nonstop flights under 500 miles)^
n/a 7,500 n/a 15,000 n/a
Alaska* n/a 15,000 25,000 30,000 55,000
Hawaii** 20,000 22,500 50,000 55,000 80,000
Caribbean* 12,500 15,000 n/a 25,000 50,000
Mexico* 12,500 15,000 n/a 25,000 50,000
Central America* 12,500 15,000 n/a 25,000 50,000
South American Region 1* 17,500 20,000 n/a 30,000 55,000
South American Region 2 n/a 30,000 40,000 57,500 85,000
Europe 22,500 30,000 40,000 57,500 85,000
Asia Region 1 32,500 35,000 50,000 60,000 80,000
Asia Region 2 32,500 35,000 50,000 70,000 110,000
South Pacific n/a 40,000 65,000 80,000 110,000

^Valid only on non-stop flights.
*If the award includes travel on an aircraft that offers lie-flat seats in the U.S. and Canada, the Business/First levels will be 7,500 miles higher than what is shown in the chart above.
**If the award includes travel on an aircraft that offers lie-flat seats, the MileSAAver Levels will be 7,500 miles higher; AAnytime Levels will be 20,000 miles higher than what is shown.

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