Hardly a day goes by where I don’t learn something new in the mileage world. Today it comes in the form of American Airlines redemptions. Living on the east coast of the US, I’m always frustrated by the redemption costs for premium cabin awards to Europe. With American Airlines miles, for example, it’s 100,000 miles to Europe in business class, or 125,000 miles in first class. While there are some places in Europe I’d love to visit, I can get to Asia for the same number of miles, and I’m all about “maximizing.” Add on the fact that you’re not allowed a stopover with AAdvantage miles since the rules changed, and it’s just not something I’d consider.
I’ve always known about the OneWorld awards American offers, which are distance based. They’re typically more expensive than an award directly to a region, but they allow an unlimited number of stopovers. Well, they might actually just save you miles, even when trying to get to a single point.
For example, a 4,000 to 9,000 mile award is a mere 80,000 miles in business class or 100,000 miles in first class. What does that mean? Well, if you’re starting in New York, for example, you can fly to most of Western Europe for 80,000 miles in business class or 100,000 miles in first class.
The one catch? You need to fly at least two OneWorld airlines besides American. That works for me, though. Let’s say I’m flying to London. I could fly New York to Toronto on LAN (it’s a tag flight they operate), and then Toronto to London on British Airways (since one can’t redeem American miles for British Airways flights between the US and London). Even with a JFK-YYZ-LHR roundtrip routing, you still have over 1,000 miles to “play” with, so in addition to a stopover in London, you could continue to one or two other places in Europe, if you wanted to.
While this is hardly earth shattering, it’s a specific case where I’ve found the OneWorld award to be a better value than the basic award, even for a simple roundtrip.