This summer I am feeling a bit antsy since for the first time in 11 years I am not doing an enormous amount of travel. I usually travel internationally (to Israel and beyond, more or less) and this time am sticking close to home with small trips on the east coast and Chicago.
That being said, it doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to dream! I’ve been eyeing some tickets to Southeast Asia just to find out how many miles they would cost and what kind of planes they would be. I reviewed some of the first-class options two days ago that was mainly using Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Here, though, I’m going to talk about using American Airlines miles, which can often be a better use of your points.
The two important things you must know are:
1) American Airlines has a great partner award travel chart. As a member of the oneworld alliance, you have access to amazing airlines like Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and more. Their chart shows that you can get from the US to Southeast Asia (known as Asia Regions 1 and 2 in this chart) for at most 67,500 miles one-way (in first class, no less). Sometimes you can even do it for 25,000 in economy.
2) You can’t easily search these flights on the American Airlines website. To better your search capacity, using British Airways Avios search tool (it sounds weird, but it’s true).
First, you must make sure you are a member of the British Airways Executive Club (sometimes there are sign-up bonuses but don’t let that make you hesitate).
Then, you can use their search tool to ostensibly find British Airways flights, when in fact you will find all the partner flights as well. For example, here is a search from New York to Singapore on February 26:
Or you could try using another airline on February 23:
All these flights would be available for American Airlines mile-users. The one caveat to note, however, is that American Airlines only allows the fares listed above if traveling directly to that region. In the case of the British Airways and Qatar Airways flights, they are technically flying through an extra region to get to Singapore, so your flights would be broken up into two segments and priced accordingly.
In any case, it is important to note this method when you want to find these flights. It is hard to find them otherwise.