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For months we have heard a lot of complains about AA miles being useless. While I don’t have the same complain because I use my AA miles mostly for flights to Asia on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airline, I can certainly understand the frustration. If you are sitting on a big load of AA miles, you might want to put them to use now! American just released a ton of awards this past week, to Asia, Europe or South America. Even within North America, the availability is better than before. So book now and travel through the end of current schedule, which is early July 2018!

[SEE ALSO: 8 ways to use a MILLION “worthless” AA miles]

AA international routes

The first step to look for any availability is to search the nonstop international routes. Below is a list of American Airlines international services to Asia, Europe and South America.

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Beijing (PEK), Shanghai (PVG), Tokyo-Narita (NRT), Tokyo-Haneda (HND), Seoul (ICN), London-Heathrow(LHR),  São Paulo–Guarulhos (GRU)
  • Dallas (DFW) – PEK, PVG, ICN, NRT, LHR, GRU, Frankfurt (FRA), Paris (CDG), Madrid (MAD), Lima (LIM), Santiago, San Salvador (SAL), Rio de Janeiro-Galeão (GIG),
  • Chicago (ORD) – PEK, PVG, NRT, LHR, and seasonal CDG, Rome (FCO), Guatemala (GUA)
  • Charlotte (CLT) – FRA, LHR, and seasonal BCN, FCO
  • Miami (MIA) – LHR, MAD, GRU, GUA, Barcelona (BCN), Milan (MXP), Buenos-Aires (EZE)
  • New York (JFK) – BCN, LHR, MAD, CDG, Milan (MXP), GIG, and seasonal Dublin (DUB), Edinburg (EDI), Manchester UK (MAN), FCO
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – LHR, MAD, CDG, MAN, Munich (MUC), and seasonal BCN, FRA, Athens (ATH), Lisbon (LIS), Glasgow (GLA), Venice (VCN)

Once you find availability on any route mentioned above, expand the search to your home airport. If no award is available to your home airport, consider using Southwest points or purchase a cheap cash ticket to reposition yourself to the American Airline hub.

Awards wide open in economy but limited in premium classes

Awards are wide open in economy class but rather limited in premium classes. I searched for four seats in next March from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, plenty dates to choose from:

Say you want to take your family of four to Japan next April to see cherry blossom,  you might want to lock in the dates now. Seats are wide open from between Dallas and Tokyo, and same between Los Angeles and Tokyo.

Unfortunately, availability in business class and first class are very limited, for even just 1-2 seats. My friend actually was lucky enough to get two seats to Australia next June in business class!

Other tips for booking your awards

American Airlines allow five-day award hold. Once you find availability on the international route, you can book it online and put it on hold. If you need to reach beyond the international city that AA serves, you can use British Airways website to search for availability on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to rest of Asia, on Japan Airline from Tokyo to rest of Japan and other parts of Asia, on British Airways from London to rest of Europe, on Iberia from Madrid to rest of Europe.

Are you able to use your AA miles to book a family oversea trip? If so, where are you heading to?

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