Yesterday I talked about redeeming American Airline miles for tickets solely on American Airlines. American Airline frequent flyer miles can also be redeemed on American Airline partner airlines. There are 2 types of partner awards – the All Airline (or All Partner) Award or the oneworld Award. Both types of awards are going to require that you book the tickets over the phone, so you will incur the Ticket Service Charge if you are not an Executive Platinum. The major differences between these types of awards are:
- The number of airlines you must have on your itinerary
- The number of stopovers and open-jaws that are allowed
- The way the number of miles needed for the award is calculated
The All Airline award is a trip where you travel on one or more of American Airline’s partner airlines. You would typically use this type of award if you wanted to travel to one location outside of the U.S. If you were just traveling within the U.S., you would use an All American Airlines award. If you were traveling outside the U.S. and wanted to stop in many cities, you would probably use a oneworld award (although depending on how you scheduled it, you may still use an All Partner award).
The number of miles required for the trip is determined by which zones you are traveling between. For example, there is a set number of miles that you need to use (20,000 miles one way during the off-season) between any city in North American zone and any city in the European zone. Here is the link to the current award chart.
Open jaws are not allowed on this type of award.
You are only allowed one stopover each direction in your North American gateway city when traveling between North America and another zone. I talked about gateway cities in yesterday’s post. You could use the stopover strategy, as I described yesterday, to get a free one-way ticket to Hawaii for later use. Or you could use the stopover to see NY, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, or Dallas (depending on where you are traveling).
You are also allowed to stop in a city on international travel for less than 24 hours without it being considered a stopover. So let’s say you were traveling to Europe from the U.S. and the main goal of your trip is to see Italy. You could fly from the U.S. to London, stay less than 24 hours and continue on to Italy. If you wanted to implement both the stopover strategy and the short stop in an international city, you could fly from your home city to Chicago, stay a few days in Chicago. Then travel from Chicago to London, stay less than 24 hours, and continue on to Italy. On the way home, you could go to 2 other cities. You could travel from Italy to Madrid, stay for less than 24 hours. Then you could travel from Madrid to Miami, stay a few days, and travel home.
At the top of the post, I mentioned that you will need to book this type of award ticket over the phone. The reason is that the American Airline web site does not allow you to search partner airlines for award travel. However, there are other on-line resources that will allow you to search. I suggest that you use these tools before calling the agent because it will make booking the award travel a lot easier. The main web sites people use for searching partner airlines are: British Airways, Qantas, Award Nexus, Expert Flyer, and KVS Tool. I will cover pros/cons of each of the methods of searching in another post.
Feel free to comment on the post or email me at email@example.com with any questions.