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My Favorite American Airlines Sweet Spot Award Redemptions – What Are Yours?

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Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

American Airlines sweet spots

American Airlines Award Sweet Spots – My Favorites!

American Airlines award sweet spots – everyone has a favorite. If not, here are some of mine. Understandably, there are some people who hate flying with American Airlines, but we aren’t talking about flying AA domestic within the US. That’s where most of the hate seems to come from. No, we’re thinking bigger. Here are some great American Airlines award sweet spots you should check out. None of them involve flying on AA planes, just using their award miles.

Tokyo to Sydney Non-Stop with Japan Airlines Business / Sky Suites

A product that doesn’t get a lot of chatter but looks amazing is the JAL Sky Suite. It is a bit odd that this still comes in a 2-2-2 layout, but the product looks great. This is an award sweet spot I don’t see a lot of chatter about, but it’s a deal. Direct from Tokyo to Sydney in JAL business class for only 40k AA miles. Add $55.40 in taxes.

This flight lasts 9:50 and gives you access to the JAL Sakura lounge on departure.

Sweet Spot Japan to Australia

Australia to Hong Kong in Qantas First Class

Qantas doesn’t make it easy to find first class award space on flights to the US. Think outside the box. They fly their first class product between Sydney and Hong Kong and between Sydney and Singapore. For 50,000 AA miles, this redemption sweet spot gives you 9:15 in Qantas first class and needs just $74.60 in taxes. You can also access the Qantas First Class Lounge at the SYD airport.

Qantas First Class Australia to Hong Kong

New York to South Africa with Qatar Airways QSuites

New York JFK to JNB in South Africa is 75,000 miles per person in business class. What if you ride the “best business class in the world” for this, though? And what if you get a day to explore Doha, Qatar en route? This also breaks up a long trip, which is nice. With AA’s award chart, JFK-DOH (Doha, Qatar – home base of Qatar Airways) is 70,000 per person in business class. Insanely, you can jump from there down to South Africa for just 5,000 more miles. It just has to be booked as one ticket.

Since American Airlines redemptions don’t permit “stopovers”, the maximum that you can get during your stop is a day visit or an overnight. With this itinerary, you can get a good 12 hours to explore Doha. Uber is everywhere in Doha, and the business / first class passport control area is separate. So is the business / first airport security. You’ll be out of the airport for your city visit pretty fast.

If you can’t find the space you want for this via Qatar Airways, you can also take Etihad business class for the same pricing. This routing will cost 75,000 AA miles per person, plus $94.30 in taxes. If you take the QR flight options, JFK-DOH is 12:15 of flight time, then DOH-JNB is another 8:55. (Note that the JFK-DOH option is the QSuite, while DOH-JNB will be a ‘traditional’ business class)

American Airlines sweet spot to South Africa

Abu Dhabi to Tokyo with Etihad First Class Apartments + Japan Airlines Sky Suites

This is the sweetest of the sweet spots, in my opinion.

For a paltry 50,000 AA miles and $56.20 in taxes, ride 2 amazing products. Depart Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on the famous Etihad First Class Apartments. It flies direct to Seoul Incheon ICN airport. But what if you aren’t trying to go to Seoul? You can extend this to Japan without any extra points.

It involves changing airports in Seoul, which might turn some people off. Hear me out. Depart Abu Dhabi and get the full experience with Etihad, including the incredible lounge at AUH. Arrive at ICN at 11:35am. Spend the rest of the day and night in Seoul. At 8am the next morning, depart Seoul GMP (the other airport) for Tokyo on Japan Airlines business class.

This flight will run GMP-HND (Tokyo Haneda) on the JAL Sky Suites III, their newest product. You get 11:35am to 8am in Seoul to explore, then continue to Tokyo without adding any extra points. You’ll check out Etihad first and JAL business class. Win! The Etihad flight is 8:35 long, and the JAL flight is 2:10.

My wife and I booked this routing in the reverse for July 2020. We depart Tokyo early in the morning, spend the day in Seoul, and depart 1am the next morning for AUH with Etihad Apartments.

Etihad first then JAL business

How to get American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

AA’s program only accepts transfers from Marriott points, so the best route is earning them with credit card welcome offers.

  • Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red
  • Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business
  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum
  • CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum
  • Citi AAdvantage Exectuvie
  • Citi American Airlines AAdvantage Mile Up

You can earn welcome offers across multiples of these cards. Transferring miles from one person’s AA account to another has hefty fees, but you can use your account to book a ticket in another person’s name. Additionally, you can book the ticket in one direction from your account and the other direction from your partner’s account, so that you’re on one reservation during the flight.

CLICK HERE To Compare Airline Rewards Credit Cards

Final Thoughts on American Airlines Award Sweet Spots

Obviously, any of these can be booked in reverse. Finding “sweet spots” or places in an award chart that really maximize value helps extend the value of your miles. It can also help leave miles in your account for another trip by using great deals. Even though people love to hate on American Airlines, flying sweet spots on their One World partners outside the US can lead to an amazing trip. Maximizing time on the ground within their “no stopovers” policy also tacks on another destination to see while breaking up a long trip.

What are your favorite American Airlines sweet spots in their partner award chart?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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  1. Just checked and couldnt find the sweet spot from AUH to Tokyo! Not sure if that changed with the “new website”! Any comments on that?

    • Possibly. I couldn’t find it either from the site or the mobile app. I hate the new search. Might have to call and specify your itinerary in pieces if you can’t get it online.

  2. How getting from Incheon to GMP airport? Make your own arrangements? How much and how long to get between airports? Thanks

    • Wow, that’s a great one!
      Make sure to take the train through Kandy to Ella. “Picturesque” is an understatement.

  3. These are solid sweet spots. It is worth mentioning that, departing the USA, you can often find AA metal (at least in economy) to get you from your point of origin to your gateway. This is important for the mentioned USA – Africa award, which I’ve done.

    Thanks for the post!


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