Best use of American AAdvantage Miles (Off-peak European Awards)
One way to maximize the value of American AAdvantage miles are off-peak seasonal fares to Europe. The best part is the European off-peak season lasts from Oct 15 – May 15. This is over half the year and includes all the fun winter holidays. I would recommend booking trips in October or May to enjoy the warmest weather.
Fares start at 20,000 miles for a one-way fare (30k normally), but it’s important to note this only applies to economy class. When booking I’d avoid any partner flights with British Airways (BA). BA will hit you with high fuel surcharges and ruin any value you’d get from an award ticket. The easiest routings for using AA miles are typically into Dublin or Paris.
Thrifty Tip: Avoid any flights on BA. American will try to get you to fly European award tickets through London, but avoid it if you can. Flying BA basically ruins your award fare with astronomical fuel surcharges as high as $600. Depending on where you are flying, try to fly only on AA metal, or with Oneworld partners such as Air Berlin, Iberia, or Finnair.
The great thing about AAdvantage off-peak seasonal awards is they are not only for European award tickets! There are off-peak awards for almost everywhere that American flies.
American AAdvantage Off-Peak Seasonal Chart
|Hawaii (17.5k miles)||January 12 — March 13 and
August 22 — December 15
|Caribbean / Mexico (12.5k miles)||September 7 — November 14|
|Europe (20k miles)||October 15 — May 15|
|Japan, Korea (25k miles)||October 1 — April 30|
|Central America / S. America Zone 1 (15k miles)||January 16 — June 14 and
September 7 — November 14
|South America Zone 2 (20k miles)||March 1 — May 31 and
August 16 — November 30
If you want to get the best use of American AAdvantage miles I’d recommend off-peak seasonal awards. If you have enough miles try flying out on a Business ticket (start at 50k) and fly back on an economy ticket (20K). I always like to take advantage of business or first class accommodations on my flight out and fly economy back home. Even if you choose to fly round-trip in coach it’s a hell of a deal for only 40k AAdvantage miles.