New American AAdvantage Award Routing Exceptions

Yesterday I wrote about how American seems to have loosened up the restrictions on their routing rules a bit when it comes to connecting in the Middle East on AAdvantage award tickets.

American has a rule whereby you can’t transit a third region on an award ticket when you’re traveling between two regions. There’s a list of exceptions, whereby you can transit a third region when traveling between two regions.


Via JonNYC at TravelingBetter, it looks like American has liberalized their award routing rules for connections in the Middle East when traveling between two regions. But they only apply if connecting to/from Qatar Airways in Doha.

Here’s what JonNYC has to say:

OK, so new exceptions for award routings. A new category of “QR -> QR” exceptions.

That is to say, new 3rd region connections that are legal as a single award as long as it’s a QR->QR connection only.

These are:

South America Zone 2 -> Africa (Europe still allowed as well)
Africa -> Asia 1 (Asia 1 still allowed as well)
Africa -> Asia 2
Europe -> Asia 1 (Asia 2 still allowed as well)
Europe -> Asia 2

So these all make perfect sense. At the time the rules were written these weren’t added as exceptions because Qatar Airways wasn’t a partner. But there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to connect in Doha when enroute from Europe to Asia, Africa to Asia, etc.


Not mentioned above is North America to Africa, which definitely now also allows connections in Doha. I was able to hold a ticket from Philadelphia to Doha to Johannesburg for 75,000 miles in business class.

Anyway, it’s great that American is loosening up the rules here. The above suggests this is specific to Qatar Airways, though I hope that the same will apply to Etihad Airways as well, which is my preferred airline between the two, as I find they offer both a better first and business class product (and seem to treat their employees considerably better).


  1. Lucky, wondering whether this would this could also apply to Royal Jordanian as well? Could you try an award that wasn’t previously available with this connection in AMM?

  2. @ Nick — Just tried pricing a Royal Jordanian award online and it didn’t work. Still priced Europe to Amman and Amman to Asia as two separate awards.

  3. Don’t know why this shouldn’t apply to British, Iberia, or Finnair as well…and frankly, I don’t like it.

    Any chance/thoughts I can do NA -> Asia 1/2 via Doha? Would be awesome.

  4. I wonder why these changes are QR specific, and that I can’t do HKG-CX-DOH-QR-JNB

    Unless QR is charging their partners such a low price for awards it’s virtually free.

  5. @ Joey — I suspect it’s intentional. I would guess they include Qatar but not Etihad since they’re in oneworld.

  6. @lucky : if oneworld is the criteria for inclusion, then why not RJ ? and why not BA->QR or CX->QR type connections ?

  7. Now I understand why AA would not be able to book ZRH -> AUH -> PEK on EY for me. The reason they gave me was weird (they claimed it might have to do with a wet lease EY is doing) but did offer me (wrong dates unfortunately) options on QR.
    You think they might loosen the rules a bit for EY as well?

  8. @ German Expat — I hope so, though wouldn’t count on it. Will test it out more once Etihad bookings go live with AAdvantage again.

  9. Would PHL-DOH-HKG work? Or are they not allowing middle east connections for North America-Asia redemptions?

  10. Would Europe-DOH-Africa (e.g., CDG-DOH-JNB) still need to price as two awards if travel is on two QR flights? Or would such a trip be ticketed as a single Europe-Africa award?

  11. @ tyo_flyer — This isn’t included in the new exceptions, so I expect it would still require two awards. But haven’t verified myself yet.

  12. When I booked a JNB-DOH-JFK AA award a few months back (single award), I was able to book on Qatar but not on Etihad. When I spoke to an agent she explicitly said transiting the ME was allowed on Qatar but not on Etihad.

  13. Given the state of Qatar at the moment (with airport & A380 delays), you’d think Etihad should’ve been the one getting the exception, lol

  14. Can someone explain how Etihad is included as i can’t find them listed anywhere on AA’s oneworld website…..also, any tips on how to get offered more choice (like via Asia) for award tkts between the US and New Zealand. I only EVER seem to get offered Qantas these days, yet i’ve flown via Japan and Hong Kong in years past….thanks!

  15. @ Susan — American doesn’t let you route from the US to Australia via Asia on a single award, so that would require two award tickets. Etihad is indeed a partner, and here’s a primer on searching award space on them:

    Do keep in mind, however, that the link between American and Etihad is down at the moment:

  16. Hi Lucky,
    I tried the EY routing between AUS and UK, but AA prices it as two awards, 75k for J one way.

    But AA prices QF as one award, 60k for J, even though QF stops over at Dubai.

  17. @ Nelson — Right, that’s because it’s a “direct” flight with the same flight number, so the computer doesn’t view it as even transiting Dubai.

  18. can you tell me where these exceptions are published on AA’s site as I have a flight to Male and they were not letting me connect in Sri Lanka?

  19. @ traderprofit — They’re not published, but you can ask the agent to double-check with their support desk.

  20. Lucky, any idea if in using this Doha exception, QR has to operate all of the inter-region flights? For example, could you book IAD – QR – DOH – QR – AUH – EY – JNB? In that case, you are arguably transiting DOH and the flights in and out are QR, but still get to fly EY longhaul.

  21. Any idea if AA will allow IAH>DOH>DPS on one award? DPS = Asia Region 2

    Thank you for the information.

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