Category Archives: Point Redemption

British Airways Award Redemption

Last week, I talked about how to redeem American Airlines miles.  But I’m guessing that some of you have a lot of British Airways miles now because of their incredible 100,000 mile sign-up bonus earlier this year.  American Airlines and British Airways are both members of the Oneworld Alliance.  So a lot of what I talked about last week also apply to British Airways.  But there are some differences.

British Airways has 4 different kinds of awards: British Airways only, BA plus one partner, 1 partner only, and oneworld award (based on distance).  That is different than American’s awards which include: all American, all Airline (can include multiple airlines with or without American) and oneworld.  So if you want to travel using multiple partners using BA miles, you will need to redeem using oneworld.

One big benefit that BA has over American award redemption is that BA allows for unlimited stops as long as the most direct route is taken (although the customer service representative may not fully enforce the more direct route clause).  That is a huge benefit if you want to visit many locations.

Let’s say you wanted to visit South America from the US.  You could travel on LAN for 20,000 miles each way in coach.  You could fly from NY to Miami to Buenos Aires (one-way) and then Buenos Aires to Sao Paolo to Lima to NY on the way back.

When redeeming British Airways miles, I would suggest redeeming on partner airlines.  British Airways charges high fueling charges on award tickets if you fly on British Airways flights.

You could do similar types of awards to other parts of the world as well.

Feel free to comment on the post or email me at travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.

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American AAdvantage Reduced Mileage Awards

For those of you who have a Citicard AAdvantage credit card, you can book some frequent flyer trips at a reduced rate.  Citicard allows you to book Milesaver awards for certain locations in the US and Canada for 17,500 miles instead of the standard 25,000.  There are different locations every quarter.  These locations are typically posted right before the quarter begins, so these are not the type of awards that you can schedule far in advance.  To book these types of awards, you first want to make sure that the Milesaver level is available between your home and one of the reduced mileage locations (you can search on www.aa.com).  After confirming a Milesaver is available, you call the American Airlines AAdvantage Reservations number at 1-800-882-8880.  Tell them that you want to book a reduced mileage award.  You will need the Award Code from the Reduced Mileage site.  Here is a link to current locations. 

I have links on the right side of the web site that link you to the application for American AAdvantage credit cards.  As I mention, these offers technically expired in February, but the links are still active and people on Flyertalk are reporting success.  The best offer I know about now that isn’t expired is a 30,000 mile sign-up bonus.

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Open-jaws and American AAdvantage One-Way

I stated in my American AAdvantage All Partner post that open-jaw ticketing is not allowed with that type of award and it is allowed with the oneworld award.  I realize that some people may not know what an open-jaw ticket is so I thought I’d talk about it today.  An open-jaw ticket is where you do not fly out of the same city your last flight landed in or your origination city is not the same as your final destination city.

American Airlines removed open-jaw ticketing as an option for all American or all Partner awards when American Airlines changed its frequent flyer program to allow one-way ticketing.  This does limit your options in the middle of your itinerary if say you had wanted to fly for NYC to Paris take a train to Madrid and then fly from Madrid to Rome.  However, you can still mimic open-jaws on a trip by booking your outgoing flights and your return flights separately as one-ways.  If you wanted to visit the same cities, you could fly one-way from NYC to Paris, take a train to Madrid, take a train to Rome and then book a one-way ticket home from Rome.  (You could also use the strategy I talked about on the All Partner awards if you didn’t mind spending less than 24 hours in one location.)

American Airlines does allow open-jaw ticketing on their oneworld awards.  However, you may end up spending many more miles if you book a oneworld instead of an All Partner ticket.  I wouldn’t recommend using a oneworld unless you wanted to visit many different cities or you wanted to book an around the world ticket.

Other airlines do allow open-jaw ticketing on regular awards.  It helps to research what’s allowed for the airline you are redeeming miles with so you can see more cities.

Feel free to comment on the post or email me at travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.

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How to Redeem American Airline AAdvantage miles for oneworld Awards

Two days ago I talked about how to redeem American AAdvantage miles for award travel solely on American Airlines.  Yesterday I talked about how to redeem American AAdvantage miles for All Airline award travel.  There is a third option for redeeming miles – oneworld awards.

Oneworld awards are typically used for international travel where you want to stopover in many cities or around the world travel.  Oneworld awards allow for multiple stopovers and open-jaws.  The miles needed to redeem a oneworld award are calculated based on the total number of miles you’re traveling.  Here is the current award chart.

You need to include at least 2 partner airlines in the itinerary: British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malev, Mexicana, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, or S7 Airlines.  Some partner airlines may be not used with oneworld awards that can be used for All Partner awards: Air Pacific, Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines / Horizon Air, Brussels Airlines, EL AL, Hawaiian Airlines, and Jet Airways.  The award ticket may include American Airlines, but it is not required to include it.  The ticket may not include more than 16 segments.  A segment is determined by flight number.  One flight number = one segment (even if the flight makes stops).  There are also restrictions on how many times you can stopover or connect through a city.  Refer to this thread for more details on restrictions.

Since this type of award is based on number of miles traveled, it’s very important to understand how they calculate total countable trip miles.  The total countable trip miles is calculated by looking at the originating cities, stopover cities, connecting cities, and final destination city.  It does not include any miles between open jaws (i.e. land segments where you landed in one city and you traveled over land to another city which you then flew out of for your next segment).

The tickets are valid for 1 year after issue date of the tickets (not from your first flight).  Once the ticket is issued, you cannot change the name of the person traveling, the routing of a segment or the airline of a segment.  You can make changes for free to the date of your flights as long as the routing and airline is the same.

As I mentioned yesterday, these types of tickets cannot be made on-line.  You must call the frequent flyer redemption line and talk to a representative.  If you are not an Executive Platinum member, you will incur a nominal fee.  It’s best to do your research ahead of calling to determine the flights you want to take.  The best tools for searching availability of oneworld partners are: British Airways, Qantas, Award Nexus, Expert Flyer, and KVS Tool.  I will cover the pros and cons of each of these in another post.

Feel free to comment on the post or email me at travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.

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How to Redeem American Airline AAdvantage miles for All Airline Awards

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 travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.

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