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Answers (12)



  1. michael yunger

    hi lucky, ive been following you for years. i have had my FF account with AA since the 80’s i am a 2 million mile flyer with aa and forever platinum. i only use my miles to travel. i currently have over 1M miles and they are basically useless for saver useless as BA. i called the Aadvantage desk today just to ask if they were ever going to load the saver awards or do i have to call in to redeem them….he answered with a very short: sir the biz and first saver awards are usually all gone 331 days out. i cant even get one to OKC (or anywhere else for that matter)…your thoughts ?

  2. David W

    AA is just super stingy with saver award space. Really not much can be done about that except constant checking and hoping.

    When you say BA is useless, what do you mean? They do have quite a bit of award space and they guarantee a certain number of award seats in every cabin on every flight, unlike AA. The only thing that isnt great are their fuel surcharges that AA passes on and the UK APD for LHR departures. The BA EC program is distance based though, which isnt great though Avios are valuable for short flights.

    I always find AAdvantage miles to be more useful on partner awards, particularly Etihad, JAL and Cathay.

  3. Donna

    I follow AA business class award availability very closely and set up alerts on EF for several routes 331 days out and closer and I’m not buying the BS answer your agent offered up – they just aren’t offering any Saver awards on AA metal for business class on popular destinations, especially to Europe. This started about a year ago when they cut the price of international business class fares significantly. So, apparently they are filling those flights with cash customers. Like you, I’m sitting on a lot of AA miles which I haven’t used hoping things might open up – hard to spend 220,000 for a J flight to Europe. And like you, BA isn’t an option……

  4. MidSouthSkier

    Welcome [USER=3075]@michael yunger[/USER] – I have the same issue. Booking 331 days out I was able to use AA miles to get a flight to Asia from SFO for this fall but could not get the positioning flight from my home to SFO. I’ve got alerts set and at some point space opened up from my home airport to some of the hubs, but not between the hubs and SFO. I’ve still got about 6 months before I leave but at this point am just waiting for the price to drop a little since I don’t want to burn another award.

  5. michael yunger

    WOW !! that got a few peeps talking fast…just as background i own a courier company and am a travel agent (own a small part)…..i also have approx 2.5 million miles total right now on multiple airlines/CCs (travel agency uses my chase sapphire resvd for all the tickets they write= 3X points)…for my courier company (major gas !!) i use my amex gold = 2X points. so im accumulating about 750K mpy..which im sure ill need as AA really bites and BA does not offer any “O” fares and an ok amount of “I” so i did a little research on both: all of these are from jan 10 to mar lax-jfk 6 in O 20 in I….sfo to jfk 4 in I none in O…lax to iad zero….okc to iad…..a ton (HAHAHAHA). at least in 2016 they had I available on connections….but i would just book coach and get an exit row seat… ill end with this: AA devalued their mileage and then basically devalued again by 50% since you can virtually never find the I or O savers….DL REALLY BITES….UA is good for asia not so much for europe…on the upside: last september i snagged the AA777 in I connecting to QF8 to syd in O for 110K….returning (using ua miles) on NH I syd to hnd then OZ O hnd to lax…..have been really “lucky” to have flown both NH and OZ first and they were both available for the over the water portion….it was a really tough decision but i figured the OZ was better as i like the 380…but then NH service is impeccable…LEAVING LAX at 1400 TOMORROW….i hope lucky notices this thread as id really like his input on this AA BS

  6. David W

    If youre booking plane tickets directly with the airline, the Amex Platinum card is a good option, for the 5x points. Additionally, it may also make sense to get the Business version of the Amex platinum as well, for the 50% points refund for plane tickets purchased via Amex Travel and using the “pay with points option.” For example, if you can find a US-Europe round trip biz fare for $2000, that’s 200k Amex points but only costs 100k after the refund kicks in. That’s pretty great, plus you earn miles and elite credits like you would a cash ticket. Furthermore, the 50% refund and 5x is potentially stackable as well.

    DL miles were great if you used them on SkyTeam partners, though less so now because of their most recent devaluation. It sucks when their business class award rates are higher than some programs’ first class rates.

    StarAlliance has a bunch of partners and their networks in Asia and Europe are pretty strong. I feel like there are always decent options with StarAlliance. Specfically, LH seems to be pretty good about releasing F awards within 2 weeks of departure

  7. michael yunger

    He davd… I don’t ever purchase any tix unless absolutely necessary and i always book directly with the airlines… Not sure why you would adk that. All CC points are worthless unless you transfer them. my chase card is 3X for “any travel” not just mine. Not sure if thats the case for amex platinum. Thanks ill check that out. ALSO how do you get etihad cathay and jal using aadvantage miles?? Not only can i not get a saver I or O to any Asia but even the standard awards are all on AA. I flew the LH 380 in O a few weeks ago. Top notch anf lounge in FRA siperb. Mercedes limo ride was hilarious.

  8. David W

    With Amex, it’s 5x points on any airfare booked directly with the airline.

    AA’s award search can only display results for a handful of partners, not all of their partners.

    You can use BA’s website to search for JAL and Cathay awards, then call AA to book the flights. Additionally, you can use Alaska Airline’s website to find JAL awards (though awards only display if they start or end in North America, per Alaska’s agreement with JAL).

    For Etihad, search on Etihad’s website for “GuestSeats,” which are bookable by AA. The thing with Etihad’s seats is that AAgents in the US may not be able to see the award seats. However, if you call their Australian call center, they’re able to see the seats as well as ticket your reservation.

  9. michael yunger

    thanks a lot david. ive heard of the AK workaround. just to be sure i dont need ak miles ? i just look for the availability on AKs website for JAL and then call AA to book it ?

    also you might remember before the devaluation and AA’s flights to asia i was able to get a few cathay trips in O @ 125K r/t…..what a deal that was !!

  10. David W

    Nope, no Alaska miles are needed, just have an AS account so you can log in and search. Same applies for searching on BA.

    Yes! Pre-deval AA rates were fantastic. I flew on Etihad’s First four times (twice in the apartment and twice on their 789) and also Cathay First and biz. Was also able to get seats so a friend could travel with me, and then another friend who flew JAL First.

  11. MidSouthSkier

    Right. You don’t have to have any Alaska (IATA code: AS) miles to search using their website. Just check the “use miles” box on the search tool or you’ll only see destinations where Alaska itself flies. As David said, you’ll only see routes to/from North America so if you need connecting flights once you reach Japan you’ll need to use another tool, like BA’s, to find those seats. But even then since you’ll be using AA miles you’ll need to call AA to book.

  12. michael yunger


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