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The 11 Best Deals We’ve Found Using American AAdvantage Miles

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Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

You’ve likely already received these deals. If not, log into your Premium deals hub to see every recent alert we've sent.

American Airlines miles are well worth earning, whether you're a loyal AA flyer or not. But it can be much harder to use them wisely. We're here to help.

We've sent our Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers hundreds of award alerts to use their AAdvantage miles over the years. The hardest part was narrowing this list down to just 11 stellar deals. But even so, there are plenty of amazing alerts to pick from, whether you want to score a trip to Europe or the Caribbean for a fraction of what American typically charges or score a lie-flat seat halfway across the world on one of American's five-star partner airlines.

That's what our Thrifty Traveler Premium service is all about: Finding the best flights you can actually book with your points and miles – and cheap cash tickets, too. Here's the cream of the crop of what we've found for flyers with a stash of AAdvantage miles.



Lie-Flat Biz Class to Hawaii for 55K

There are plenty of great ways to book flights to Hawaii using points and miles, but scoring a lie-flat seat over to the Hawaiian islands using your points and miles is a tall, tall task. It hinges on finding award availability to book with miles, and that can be impossible.

But that's just what we did. Just last month, we sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members an alert for wide-open award space for two flying American Airlines business class to Honolulu (HNL) this winter and into the spring, including spring break!


hawaii premium deal


This Hawaii deal is long gone now – get the next alert in your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

Flying like that for 55,000 miles to paradise? Yes, please. While you'd only get those cushy business class pods on the nonstop flights from Phoenix (PHX) to Honolulu (HNL) with this latest alert, that's not always the case. In the past, we found other deals that could get you from almost any airport in the U.S. to Hawaii in lie-flat seats with one quick connection – still for just 55,000 AAdvantage miles total!


msp to maui aadvantage deal


38K AAdvantage Miles to Europe

Delta might be the king of deeply discounted award deals with their frequent Delta SkyMiles flash sales. But every now and again, we see American enter the fray with some uber-cheap sales, charging a fraction of the AAdvantage miles for routes around the world. This was one of our favorites.

In early February 2024, American launched a nationwide sale to European cities. And whether you flew from big cities like New York City (JFK) and Miami (MIA) or smaller cities like Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) or Tulsa (TUL), it was just 38,000 AAdvantage miles roundtrip!


aadvantage europe deal


This was truly a nationwide sale, with cheap award rates from more than 100 airports across the country over to London-Heathrow (LHR), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Rome (FCO), Madrid (MAD), and many more. And here's the best part: You can even make it work in August and September 2024 for a Eurotrip this summer!


thrifty traveler premium deal to paris


From the big hubs to tiny towns, we find flight deals from more than 200 cities in the U.S. and Canada!


70K AA Miles for the World's Best Business Class

Flying doesn't get much better than this.


qatar airways qsuite


Qatar Qsuites are the best business class in the world, bar none. With great meals, service, and a ton of space and privacy thanks to a door at your suite, the 15-plus hour flights to Doha (DOH) feel more like just five hours. And you can book it for just 70,000 AAdvantage miles each way. 

It's one of our favorite ways to use AA miles, period. That's why we're always looking for availability to book Qsuites with AA miles, letting our Thrifty Traveler Premium members know with an instant alert. In fact, we've sent more than a dozen alerts to book Qsuites in the last year alone!


qsuites aadvantage


Unfortunately, actually booking Qsuites with AAdvantage miles has gotten much more challenging recently: The airline has gotten incredibly stingy with releasing the award availability to actually book these suites. In many cases, your best bet is booking 11-plus months in advance using miles from Qatar or British Airways instead.

But when you can make it work with a deal like the one above, we'd argue that American Airlines miles are the single best way to book Qsuites. Here's why:

  • You can fly nonstop from a dozen U.S. cities to Doha for 70,000 miles
  • Or you can start from your hometown airport with AA service and make it to Doha with one stop for 70,000 AAdvantage miles
  • But you can also connect onward almost anywhere in the Middle East, India, or even the Maldives for … you guessed it, 70,000 AAdvantage miles

But there's one Qsuites deal that's arguably even better for just a few thousand AA miles more…


… Or 75K to South Africa

That's right. You can fly Qsuites from the U.S. to Doha or the Middle East for 70,000 miles … or you can tack on another 10-hour flight to the tip of South Africa for just 5,000 more American miles.

Flying in a Qatar Airways Qsuite for just 75,000 AAdvantage miles all the way from the States to Johannesburg (JNB), Cape Town (CPT), or anywhere in Africa is tough to beat, especially on the long journey to South Africa that clocks in at roughly 24 hours of flight time. It's not just one of the best ways to use American AAdvantage miles – it's one of the best deals in the world of points and miles, period.


dfw to cape town booking with aa miles


But actually finding the award availability to book this deal with AAdvantage miles can be harder: You need not just one long-haul flight, but two to make it all the way. We do the legwork for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members to make it happen, sending award alerts any time we find some solid award space to fly Qsuites down to South Africa.

That's gotten harder lately, but every now and again we find a gem like this.


thrifty traveler premium deal to south africa


10K to Australia and Back (Yes, Really)

No, you're not seeing things. No, I didn't miss a zero. Yes, you really could have booked roundtrip flights to Australia (or New Zealand) for just 10,000 miles.

It was like catching lightning in a bottle: For just a few hours way back in 2019, American briefly sold flights from several U.S. cities to Sydney (SYD), Melbourne (MEL), and even Auckland (AKL) in New Zealand for just 6,000 miles each way – or 10,000 AAdvantage miles roundtrip. It was so unbelievable that the surge in traffic briefly broke American's mobile app.

Yet plenty of our Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers were still able to book the bargain of a lifetime for just 10,000 miles to the land down under.




How's that possible? How could flights that typically cost $1,000-plus or 80,000 AAdvantage miles go for so cheap? Was it a mistake fare?

Hardly. These random, deeply discounted sales are American's way of selling award flights for ultra-cheap – and American is doing even more of it after it fully transitioned to dynamic pricing. While there are big downsides, insane sales like this are the upshot.

Over the years we've found some other amazing AAdvantage deals to Australia. There was another flash sale a few years later for 55,000 AAdvantage miles roundtrip. We've seen subsequent sales of 70,000 miles to both Australia and New Zealand.

But really, you can't beat getting to Australia for fewer miles than your typical one-way domestic flight to Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) or Miami (MIA).


Business Class to Australia & New Zealand for 60K

Even 1 million AAdvantage miles or more may not do you any good if you're looking to fly lie-flat business class seats to Australia or New Zealand. Airlines are incredibly stingy with releasing these seats to be booked using miles, making it one of the hardest redemptions to pull off.

But that has changed in the last year or so, as we've found deal after deal to get to both Australia and New Zealand in lie-flat seats using miles. If you've got AA miles, this alert we sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium members a few months ago was exactly what you needed: Just 60,000 AAdvantage miles to book flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to both Sydney (SYD) and Auckland (AKL)!


australia new zealand deal


That's just one of several business class deals to Australia using AAdvantage miles we've found in the last few months, including:

  • Wide-open award space flying Qantas on the new route from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Melbourne (MEL) or 80,000 American miles
  • A similar deal from Dallas straight to Sydney (SYD) flying Qantas, bookable for 80,000 American miles
  • Arguably the best one? We sent alerts last year to book business class seats from Los Angeles (LAX) to Melbourne (MEL) and Dallas to Sydney from last November through February 2023 – Australia's summer!

Every email alert we send Thrifty Traveler Premium members includes detailed booking instructions so you know exactly what to do.


thrifty traveler premium booking instructions


Japan Airlines Biz Class for 60K

This one's my personal favorite. I like it so much, I've booked it several times with my own stash American AAdvantage miles.

Nothing beats the personal space, privacy, and excellent onboard meals when flying Japan Airlines business class. And at just 60,000 miles each way, it's arguably the best way to get to Tokyo.


japan airlines seats


Whether you're trying to get to Japan for this summer or fall, hit the fresh powdery slopes up in Hokkaido during “Japanuary,” or wait until the cherry blossoms bloom next spring, we're always looking for the award space to use your American Airlines AAdvantage miles for a flight to Tokyo.

One of the big advantages of using American miles is that you can often add in a connecting flight – like here, from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – before or after hopping on the transpacific flight … and it still costs just 60,000 miles total!


msp to tokyo aadvantage miles


16K or 20K to the Caribbean & Costa Rica

Aruba? Jamaica? American Airlines miles can take ya.

Few airlines are better when it comes to getting to the islands of the Caribbean. And that makes AAdvantage miles indispensable … especially when the airline slashes award rates down to just 120,000 miles roundtrip or less.

We sent this alert to Thrifty Traveler Premium members in early January, with flights from airports big and small to Punta Cana (PUJ) in the Dominican Republic for just 16,000 AAdvantage miles. And yes: That's roundtrip.


dominican aadvantage deal


One of the beauties of these AAdvantage deals is that you always get a main cabin economy fare, with free seat selection and cancellation, too. The same can't be said of Delta's cheapest SkyMiles deals, which are almost always basic economy tickets.

It may not be part of the Caribbean, but Costa Rica is one of the best (yet criminally underrated) warm-weather destinations on the planet. A few years ago, we found yet another nationwide flash sale to fly into either Liberia (LIR) or San Jose (SJO) … again, for just 20,000 AAdvantage miles!


msp to costa rica aadvantage miles


Get the heads up on amazing deals like this to use your AAdvantage miles with Thrifty Traveler Premium!


Fly the Etihad Apartments with AA Miles

First class seats don't get much better or more spacious than this. And AA miles could put you in them.


Etihad first class apartment seat


Welcome to the Etihad Apartment, one of the best first class suites in the sky. Heck, it's got a separate bed and chair … not to mention an onboard lounge and showers at 38,000 feet.

So go figure it's also one of the hardest to actually book. Not only do you need to find the award availability to book these vaunted suites with your miles, but you need to get yourself to either Abu Dhabi (AUH) or London-Heathrow (LHR) first: That's the only route Etihad is flying its Airbus A380s, as of publication – though that is changing soon.

But knocking it off your bucket list doesn't get much cheaper than this.


nerd alert aadvantage deal


That's right: 62,500 AAdvantage miles for eight hours of one of the coolest experiences in commercial aviation. Back when we sent this alert to Thrifty Traveler Premium members a few weeks back, there was wide-open availability for two passengers.

It's one of our latest Nerd Alerts – the deals for the points and miles-obsessed travelers like the team here at Thrifty Traveler. And if you ask me, it's one of our best.

Get the next “nerd alert” like this one with Thrifty Traveler Premium!


Cathay Pacific First Class for 110K

If flying the world's best first class seats is on your list, Cathay Pacific first class should be, too.

With a cabin of just six seats, these first class seats are some of the widest you'll find in the sky – with the most comfortable beds, too. Caviar service and top-notch champagne are a given.


cathay pacific first class


But booking these seats with miles is a chore even if you're flying solo, as Cathay is incredibly stingy with award availability. Need two seats? Good luck.

Just as Cathay Pacific finally brought first class back to the states after a long pandemic pause, we found it: First class seats for two passengers flying from Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG) later this year. We even listed out the dates so Thrifty Traveler Premium members could quickly book with their American Airlines miles.


cathay pacific aa miles


This deal is long gone now – get the next one in your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

First class or not, 110,000 AAdvantage miles is pretty steep for a one-way flight to Hong Kong. But that's a small price to pay for flights that typically cost $8,000 or more.


80K to Fiji in Biz Class

Fiji is on millions of travelers' bucket lists … but it just sounds expensive, right? It doesn't have to be.

On the long list of partner airlines you can book using American AAdvantage miles, Fiji Airways has to be near the top. Its latest and greatest business class seats look superb. Just 80,000 AA miles and you're on your way to paradise in the South Pacific. Or maybe you're just making a pitstop and continuing all the way to Australia or New Zealand!


fiji airways deal aa miles


How to Earn AAdvantage Miles

If you didn't know it already, this list should make clear that you should be earning American miles. So, how do you earn AAdvantage miles – besides flying American?

For starters, there's the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Master Card®. You can currently earn 75,000 miles after spending $3,500 in the first four months of card membership. This is a limited-time offer!


Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card


Learn more about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Master Card®.


But American Airlines is unique in the fact that they have co-branded credit card relationships with both Citi and Barclays thanks to the merger of American and U.S. Airways a few years ago. For the time being, American has made the decision to continue the relationship with both banks.

That means you've got another option. And few credit cards offer a better, more lucrative welcome offer bonus than the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. Just by opening the card, you can earn 70,000 American Airlines miles with a couple of quick purchases. The annual fee is also waived in the first year of card membership.

Here's how the bonus works:

  • You'll get 60,000 AAdvantage miles after making your first purchase within 90 days and paying the card's $99 annual fee in full
  • You can get an additional 10,000 AAdvantage miles for adding an authorized user and having them make a purchase within 90 days

These are some of the easiest miles you will ever earn.


barclays aa aviator red credit card


Learn more and apply for the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard (full disclosure: this is a personal referral link)


This is significant because you can earn the welcome offer bonus on each card, netting you a total of 145,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,500 on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card in the first four months of card membership and earning 70,000 miles after making just one purchase on the Barclays card. You won't pay an annual fee on either card in the first year.

But the best way to earn AAdvantage miles might not be an American Airlines credit card at all – especially if you're paying rent.

The *bilt rewards card* allows you to earn 1x point per dollar you spend on rent each month without paying extra transaction fees – and there's no annual fee for holding the card, either. It's a no-brainer option for renters … at least until Bilt cuts American as a transfer partner sometime in June 2024.

Bilt Rewards sweetens the deal with what it calls Bilt Rent Day: A monthly promotion that allows you to accelerate on the first of each month. So long as you make at least five transactions every month with your Bilt card, you normally earn 3x points per dollar spent on dining, 2x points per dollar spent on travel, and 1x points on other purchases. On Bilt Rent Day, that doubles: You get 6x points per dollar on dining, 4x points on travel, and 2x points on non-rent expenses.

Here's the beauty of earning Bilt points: For now, you can transfer them to your American Airlines account on a 1:1 basis, so 50,000 Bilt points get you 50,000 AAdvantage miles.


*bilt rewards card*


Learn more about the *bilt rewards card*


Bottom Line

Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There's no need to scour the internet for the best ways to use your AAdvantage miles or search in vain for award availability. That's what Thrifty Traveler Premium is all about.


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.

7 Responses

  • I’m a recent member of Thrifty Traveler. Granted I live in one of the armpits of America where the winters are so cold the bears leave for a warmer climate.
    I haven’t seen any fantastic deals thru Delta or AA. Any deals that come my way are from the east coast to Europe and beyond. I thought i would give this site a try for at least one year and i will continue to do that.
    I often see deals to some great places but you have to get to Dallas, or Seattle/somewhere.
    Not complaining. Just thought I’d let you know my end of the story. As I said i will continue for another year and see if I can get a good fare to somewhere nice….bottom line that would pay for this membership and that is worth it.
    Thx for your posts.

  • There is little to no value for most of us to subscribe for several reasons. First all this info you will still be getting second hand. By the time these deals are are shared with you it has already been posted on several other public sites. And before it goes on these public sites there are some very hard core seasoned travelers that have already jumped on these deals. Being based out of SFO you would think I was in a major hub with every flight option open not really. Flights are full and the number of elite fliers is growing so the availability of the premium seat are fare and few. Which brings me to point #2 you will need to be a solo traveler. Rarely will you find more than one seat on these award seats. So if you are a family traveler forget it don’t waste your time. You will never get more than 2 seats that will be a impossible find. Just do your work and check the airlines availability daily. You will get the same results

    • We only send award alerts that have 2+ seats available. And 9 times out of 10, when another public site is posting about some great award deal it’s because we sent it to our members first.

  • Totally useless. All of these low mileage fares are rarely available. If you are luck to find one hope you are traveling solo because you will never fins more than 1 seat. This is all a scam. Selling the dream of traveling the world for free. Don’t fall for it.

  • You had an ad stating 50k Delta miles for first class. I have found my Delta miles can only be used on Delta flights. Please explain how you found that. I’m using these Delta miles then getting credit card miles because they do not transfer to any partner airline. Please correct me if wrong.

  • The guys at Thrifty Traveler do a great job finding lots of award availability that is meaningful and helpful, and I really appreciate it. Some of my aspirational flight bookings have had to be sacrificed when the Lord changed my plans around, but there is still great value to be had and I have even gotten very helpful advice from the credit card consulting through TT. My personal favorite AA redemption, because of how valuable it is to me, is plain-Jane economy class but I love how the availability is wide open and it saves me and my family thousands of dollars: 40k AAdvantage miles from any airport with AA service in the USA, ticketed all the way through to Port Moresby (includes Qantas flights). Taxes and fees around $40 one-way. And we were able to get 5 tickets together, plus a travel companion beginning in another city and joining on the rest of our flights! Sure I would love to have a lie-flat seat flying to Australia. But when we have 6 seats together, we’ll be able to share space and stretch out a bit to have room to rest at least a little bit, Lord willing. Thanks Thrifty Traveler for your news, info, and points coverage that have helped us out a lot in our personal travel needs and goals!

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