Back in the day, redeeming American AAdvantage miles to the Middle East was really tough. The only airline partner that American had in the Middle East was Royal Jordanian, which in terms of quality certainly isn’t in the same league as the “big three” Gulf carriers (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar).
Over the past few years American miles have gone from being among the least valuable for travel to the Middle East, to being among the most valuable:
— In 2011, American started a partnership with Etihad Airways, whereby American flyers could redeem miles on them
— In 2013, Qatar Airways joined the oneworld alliance, meaning AAdvantage members could redeem miles on them
That means you can now redeem American miles for travel on two of the “big three” Gulf carriers.