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Answers (6)

AA and Chase Sapphire points question

AA and Chase Sapphire points question

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Lucky,

    I’m a fairly informed traveler, but I don’t feel like I’m getting the most out of my awards miles. Because I’m in an AA hub, that’s my airline of choice. I’ve been an Aadvantage member for many years and have collected miles on flights and using my AA credit card. Because I’ve begun following your blog and listening to travel podcasts, I have recently received a Chase Sapphire card. While I’ve typically cashed in points to bring my kids home for the holidays, I think it would be a better use of points to use the miles internationally. However, AA makes using the points difficult, with circuitous routing, high redemption cost, and the inability to get upgrades. I feel that I am not collecting nor using my points in the best way possible. Can you advise me on what you would do in this situation? Thank you!

  2. MidSouthSkier

    You’ve picked up on one of the key rules of miles/points collection: a mile/point is only worth something if it gets you somewhere you want to go (or brings someone to you).

    Even using miles for international travel, certain miles are better for certain regions of the world. AA miles are pretty good for Asia and South America, but not as good for Europe.

    So our first question is where (what regions) are you wanting to use your miles internationally?

  3. Kgoley

    [QUOTE=”MidSouth Skier, post: 34634, member: 184″]You’ve picked up on one of the key rules of miles/points collection: a mile/point is only worth something if it gets you somewhere you want to go (or brings someone to you).

    Even using miles for international travel, certain miles are better for certain regions of the world. AA miles are pretty good for Asia and South America, but not as good for Europe.

    So our first question is where (what regions) are you wanting to use your miles internationally?[/QUOTE]

    I would want to use them for Europe, primarily, with the occasional Caribbean or Mexico. Another long haul option would be Hawaii.

  4. MidSouthSkier

    Welcome to the forum (officially) [USER=3398]@Kgoley[/USER] – so you’ve picked some of the most popular places where people like to use their miles. And why not? They’re fun places that lots of people like to go…using up all the award space as they do.

    One thing to keep in mind when using miles: the more flexible you can be, the better. The more limited you are in dates, routing, airlines and splitting up the number of people flying together, the less chance there is that the flight you want will be open. And sometimes you just have to shell out the cash to get the flight you want.

    Hawaii is one of the more difficult places to travel on miles but it can be done. Tiffany even wrote a post a couple of years ago devoted to just that topic: [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/10/06/redeeming-miles-to-hawaii-can-be-tough/[/URL]

    I know you’re at an AA hub, though you don’t say which one. However if you’re near DFW or MIA I’d just try to find cheap flights to Mexico or the Caribbean as those are relatively short flights and if you have more than two people on the trip it may be hard to get award space for all of you anyway.

    The key with all of this is your Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) card which earns Ultimate Rewards (URs). The great thing about URs is that they’re a very flexible currency: you can transfer them to several different airlines, depending on where you find award space and if you just can’t find award space on the dates you need you can book through the UR portal and “buy” the flight using URs as your currency instead of (or supplementing) your cash. (Beware that you don’t buy basic economy fares, though.)

    URs can be transferred to United or Singapore, which are great for flights on those airlines and their Star Alliance partners. That opens up a lot of availability to Europe. And if you should happen to find saver award space to Hawaii on United, you can get the same exact seats by transferring your URs to Singapore, which charges fewer miles on that route. Tiffany explains in her post.

    But all is not lost with your AA miles getting to Europe. If Iberia doesn’t fly to your city and you don’t mind repositioning to a US city where they do fly (like MIA, ORD, JFK) then there’s often good availability on their flights via Madrid. AA has just recently added Iberia flights to their online search tool so it may be that more people know about it now but in the past Iberia usually had two business class seats available if you booked well in advance.

    Hope this helps but let us know if you have more specific questions.

  5. Kgoley

    If it makes a difference, I’m in CLT. 🙂

    I’m new to this, so pardon my confusion. Suppose I transfer points to Singapore and want to use those to fly UA. How do I go about doing that? Through the Singapore website or the UA? I guess the same question would apply if I wanted to use my AA points on BA. Thank you!

  6. MidSouthSkier

    You’d book through the program where you have points. So you’d book the UA flights on the Singapore site or the BA flights on the AA site. Now keep in mind that not all partners are bookable on websites so you might have to call. But in that case any call-in booking fees should be waived.

    For example, you can book BA flights on the AA website but if you wanted to book a flight to Asia on Cathay Pacific, you’d have to call in because AA’s website doesn’t show Cathay availability nor allow booking there.

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