This past weekend I met reader Carberrie in Shanghai, and among our topics of conversation were… miles and points (shocker, I know). Anyway, one of the topics that came up was American’s OneWorld distance based award chart, and while I’ve mentioned it many times in the past (including in this TravelSort article), I do think it’s worth highlighting what an amazing value it can be one more time, especially in business class for further distances.
American’s all partner award chart doesn’t allow any stopovers except at the international gateway, so it really limits the number of destinations you can visit on a single trip. However, American also has a OneWorld award chart, which is a distance based chart, with the following costs:
There are a couple of interest things to note about the chart. First of all, it’s interesting how the premium for business class over coach is minimal, while the premium for first class over business class is substantial, especially as you go further down the award chart.
I think the real value in the award chart comes with the zone 6 and zone 7 awards. Let’s look at the zone 6 award, for example. You can fly between 14,001 and 20,000 miles in business class for a total of 130,000 miles. A simple roundtrip business class award to Australia would usually cost you 125,000 miles, and you couldn’t include any stopovers (except at the US gateway airport). Instead, for a premium of only 5,000 miles, you could fly business class from Los Angeles to Brisbane to Melbourne to Sydney to Auckland to Los Angeles, stopping at each airport, and still have nearly 4,000 miles of travel to spare. Alternatively, you could fly from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Melbourne to Sydney to Los Angeles on a zone 6 award, stopping at each airport. Those are just a couple of examples, as the possibilities are endless.
If you go up to a zone 7 award for only 150,000 miles in business class, you can really thoroughly explore both Asia and Australia (or Europe and Asia). For example, you could fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Bangkok to Singapore to Melbourne to Sydney to Auckland to Los Angeles, stopping at each airport, and still have nearly 4,000 miles of travel to spare.
In some instances you can even save miles by using a OneWorld award over a partner award. For example, American usually charges 135,000 miles for business class to the Middle East, while you can almost always get there in fewer than 20,000 miles, which would only cost you 130,000 miles on a OneWorld award.
Anyway, if you have a lot of time on your hands and want to visit lots of destinations, the value of a OneWorld award can’t be beat.
The basic restrictions are as follows:
- A maximum of 16 segments are permitted
- You need to fly at least two OneWorld airlines
- Can’t connect in any city more than twice