TPG Readers: The Best Ways to Use American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

Apr 28, 2019

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.

With this in mind, we recently asked our TPG Lounge members to share the ways they love to use their AAdvantage miles, whether it’s finding the best American award flights to get a bigger bang for their buck or utilizing them on an airline partner for an even swankier experience. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).

Bragging Rights

There’s no doubt our TPG Lounge audience is an extremely well-traveled group. That said, some of the trips and premium airline experiences they’ve been able to book with points and miles are just downright impressive.

“57,500 AA miles one-way in business class to Argentina, which retails for about $5,000.” — Frank I.

“My wife and I went to Cancun (CUN) for 45,000 AA miles round-trip.” — Frank M.

“120,000 AA miles for all four of us to get to Curaçao (CUR). The cash price is about $3,400.” — Rosie R.M.

“60,000 AA miles for a round-trip to London-Heathrow (LHR) from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD). Pretty sweet. Never had a problem with booking the flight I want.” — Farheen K.

“It’s not flashy or unique but 30,000 AA miles round-trip in economy to pretty much anywhere in the Caribbean is better than award rates on Delta or United.” — Erik L.

“I just booked a business-class ticket from Phoenix (PHX) to London for 57,500 AA miles and $87 dollars in taxes and fees. The fees vary and most of the time they don’t make sense but every once in a while, you’ll get some decent redemptions.” — Mark S.R.

“We just got back today after two weeks in Argentina and Chile using 115,000 AA miles to fly round-trip per person in J from San Diego (SAN) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Buenos Aires (EZE), then open-jaw from Santiago (SCL) to DFW to SAN” — Maurice N.

Use your points and miles to visit Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Henrik Dolle / EyeEm / Getty Images)
Use your points and miles to visit Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Henrik Dolle / EyeEm / Getty Images)

Using Them to Fly With a Partner Airline

Lucky for us, American Airlines is part of the Oneworld alliance — which also includes partner airlines like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Finnair, Iberia, British Airways and Qantas, among others. Since most of the included airlines are known for their luxurious business- and first-class products, some TPG readers wrote in saying they’d rather use their AAdvantage miles to fly those carriers instead.

“Award tickets within 48 states for 7,500 miles one-way [applies to flights under 500 miles in distance]. Business class on Cathay Pacific. Japan Airlines to Asia 1 for 70,000 or 75,000 to Asia 2. Qatar and Etihad are also nice.” — Nakano S.

“I have used 80,000 AA miles to fly Cathay Pacific from LAX to India in economy class round-trip. Also, Argentina to LA for 30,000 and LA to Doha (DOH) in Qatar QSuites for 70,000 miles.” — Beena M.

“Cathay Pacific business class to Asia.” — Meg G.

“Etihad from Europe to Asia is a good way to go!” — David B.

“Qantas for 80,000 miles from the US to Australia.” — Jamie L.

Singapore (SIN)–Doha–Casablanca (CMH). 63,000 miles in Qatar business class.” — Chie M.

“Cathay or Japan Airlines in F or J.” — Danielle D.

Qsuites from Phoenix–Dallas–Doha to Entebbe, Uganda. 70,000 miles each way.” — Derek S.

“The Etihad Apartment.” — Manab M.

Who wouldn't want to travel in an apartment in the sky? (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)
Who wouldn’t want to travel in an apartment in the sky? (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)

JAL business class. I have a big trip planned for next year so they better not devalue before the booking window opens!” — Mark K.

“I used 75,000 miles for Qatar’s Qsuites from Tokyo-Narita (NRT) to Doha (DOH), then regular business class from DOH to Johannesburg (JNB). It was awesome.” — Kyle L.

“Oneworld partners to Asia when searching through Qantas and/or British Airways. There’s also really good value in flying Qatar Airways from Europe to the Indian subcontinent.” — Kyle P.

“Just booked business class on Cathay Pacific for a 16-hour flight from Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Hong Kong (HKG) for two people. 70,000 miles each with a long layover in HKG and on to Auckland (AKL) for 10 hours in business for 40,000 each. Will do the same on the return trip.” — Rick H.

“Etihad First Class Apartments, JAL First Class, Cathay Pacific First Class, Qatar Qsuites.” — Will W.

“Qatar to South Africa and the Seychelles in business or economy, but especially in business!” — Adam J.

“Easy, Qsuites. 75,000 miles to or from Africa.” — Philip N.

Qatar's Qsuite was a big hit for our TPG Lounge members. (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)
Qatar’s Qsuite was a big hit with our TPG Lounge members. (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

Readers Helping Readers

We love it when our TPG Lounge members get so caught up in a topic they end up answering each other’s questions with tips and tricks based on their own experiences. That’s what happened when TPG reader Matthew M. asked for advice about using AAdvantage miles to book first-class tickets on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

“I’ve found that Cathay First is harder to find than JAL First but usually search through Qantas. JAL operates first only on the B77W as far as I know from New York-JFK, ORD and LAX.” — Kyle P.

“I’ve only booked it once, but I found availability through the British Airways website, then called AA to book it.” — Benny H.

“I’m a noob, so apologies here. How do I go about doing this exactly? Am I just looking on Oneworld airlines via AA for first-class availability operated by Cathay and JAL? Or is there a portal to just search for award redemptions for first-class flights on AA or Oneworld airlines? From the little I know about this stuff, I’m going to imagine this isn’t the most straightforward process.” — Matthew M.

“Basically, you’re using the British Airways website to find availability and then using AA miles to book it because you’re not going to see Cathay or JAL available when you search for award tickets on the AA website.” — Benny H.

Featured photo by AtomicZen / Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • 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.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • 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
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.