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American AAdvantage miles have a reputation for opening up opportunities to fly some of the most luxurious business and first-class cabins in the sky. However, there are just as many ways to use American miles for economy flights.

Today, we’re going to look at how several of the 10xTravel team would use 100,000 American miles to book some fun travel experiences. While American Airlines doesn’t have a bank transfer partner, you can still earn AAdvantage miles via Citi and Barclays co-branded credit cards. In a pinch, you can even transfer Marriott Bonvoy points – more on that below.

With that, let’s take a look at how we’d use 100,000 American AAdvantage miles.

Anna Zaks

Anna Zaks
Anna Zaks

American Airlines has recently introduced “web specials,” or reduced mileage awards. And while they come with some restrictions, this is a great way to stretch your miles further. These web specials are available for both economy and business class.

So to stretch out my 100,000 American Airlines miles, I’d search for these web specials to a few places in Europe that are on my list. I am dying to go back to London, as it’s one of my favorite cities in the world.

I’ve seen web special awards as low as 20,000 miles from the U.S. to London. I’ll be looking for AA operated flights to avoid high surcharges that British Airways charges. The normal rate is 30,000 AA miles one way in economy.

To avoid London’s high departure taxes, I’d take a short flight on one of Europe’s low cost carriers to Dublin and book my return flight from there for 30,000 miles. If I can find another web special, that’s even better!

I’ve never been to Ireland and I’d get to see two places instead of one AND avoid paying exorbitant taxes, so a win-win! If my husband wanted to come with me, then 100,000 AA miles would be just enough for the two of us. If he can’t come, I would plan another trip to Europe soon and use up the rest of the miles.

I am sure my fellow 10xTravel team members will write about some really cool redemptions, such as booking Qsuites to South Africa or other amazing and exotic destinations. But I think that booking awards that work for you and fit your travel plans is the most important aspect of this hobby.

You don’t have to maximize every mile and point or always strive for the most strategic and hard to find award to get a good value out of your miles. Just do what works best for you and your family and keep on traveling!


Travis Cormier

Travis Cormier
Travis Cormier

I’m not going to say Anna spoiled it, but alright she did.

If you know me, you know I love the American Airlines AAdvantage program. It gets a bit of flak, but I think it is one of the most underrated airline programs out there. I used AAdvantage miles to fly to the Maldives for my honeymoon back in 2018 and have gotten great use of my AAdvantage miles since then.

If I had 100,000 AAdvantage Miles to use, I would absolutely use them to fly Qsuites to or from the Maldives. Flying Qsuites from the US to the Maldives only requires 70,000 AAdvantage miles one-way. While I’d still have to get back, I think it is totally worth it to splurge on traveling to the Maldives in style.

American Airlines’ Flagship First Class on the Boeing 777-300ER (77W) on our DFW-LHR flight

In addition to being a great way to get to the Maldives, there’s another huge advantage that flying Qatar Airways to the Maldives has.

Getting to the Maldives is far from easy. It requires a lot of time spent in the air. You can expect at least 20 hours of flying to get basically to the other side of the world. Add in a few stops and your travel becomes long and tiring very quickly, even if you’re in business class.

Depending on where you’re based, you can really help cut down your travel time by having only one stop in Doha. That’s it. Just one stop. When I flew for my honeymoon, I had three. I guarantee you, no matter how nice the lounges are, that is a lot of time lost stuck in airports or hotels trying to get to your destination.

Plus, Qatar flies to a ton of places in the US. With 10 US destinations, you’re likely not far from being able to hop right onto your Qsuites equipped plane. Yes, every US destination served by Qatar now has Qsuites!

I love this option so much that I’ve booked it myself for later this year. Here’s to hoping those travel plans don’t fall through, and I’ll report back later on why using 70,000 AAdvantage miles to fly Qsuites to the Maldives is well worth it.

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Anya Kartashova

Anya Kartashova
Anya Kartashova

AAdvantage miles are my go-to airline currency for traveling to the Caribbean. For those who live on the West Coast or in the Intermountain West and can’t take advantage of the short-haul award redemption rates by British Airways Executive Club, American offers the best mileage rates to the region.

Depending on the season, I can book round-trip flights from the United States to the Caribbean for 25,000 (off-peak) to 30,000 miles (peak). Most other loyalty programs charge about 35,000 miles, which is why AAdvantage is the way to go.

So, with 100,000 AAdvantage miles, I could fly to one of the islands with a companion twice if I go in the off-peak season. Because I’m able to travel whenever I want and not just during school breaks or holidays, I can choose off-peak dates for any given trip to get these low redemption rates.

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Additionally, traveling in the off-season provides opportunities for redeeming hotel points or free-night certificates and actually finding an available standard room.

Even better, with the introduction of Economy Web Specials, American Airlines has offered the same flights for less. In the past, I’ve found flights to the Caribbean region for as low as 10,000 miles as part of this promotion.

For example, here’s a one-way flight from Salt Lake City to St. Maarten for 10,000 AAdvantage miles. It’s a redeye flight to Charlotte, but the second segment brings me to the island with enough time to enjoy the sunshine on the day of arrival.

Screen Shot 2020 04 17 at 4.47.54 PM

Flying to the Caribbean for a change of scenery without having to spend a ton of money (or miles) isn’t that far-fetched. As a country chaser, I can pick a new destination from 13 sovereign island nations and 12 dependent territories.

Personally, I haven’t been to all of them yet and would love to increase my country count without having to travel too far from home. The islands are a perfect trip if I’m bringing a travel companion who works a full-time job and has five to seven days to work with.


Carly Helfand

Carly Helfand
Carly Helfand

I thought I’d pull from real life for this one and write about how I actually did recently use 100,000 American miles.

While 95% of the award tickets I book are in economy class, when I realized last summer that there was Etihad First Class availability on the exact date I needed to get from the UAE back to the U.S., I pulled the trigger, happy to hand over 115,000 AAdvantage miles for a chance to try the apartments between Abu Dhabi and JFK.

Obviously, that’s above budget for this particular challenge, and it was above my AAdvantage balance at the time, too. Eager to book the ticket ASAP—and without a clear plan for organically coming up with the 12,000 more AAdvantage miles I would need—I decided to transfer 36,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to my AAdvantage account at a rate of 3:1.

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If you’re also hoping to book Etihad First Class some day and only have 100,000 or so American miles in your account, I recommend you do the same—and if you don’t have any Bonvoy points, then wait until you have enough American miles in your account to do the booking. A trip in the apartments, from start to finish, is like nothing you will ever experience, and it’s definitely worth saving up for.

One thing to note: You’ll have to search for award availability on Etihad’s site and then call American’s call center in Australia or New Zealand in order to book. Agents at other call centers won’t be able to see the space!

Final Thoughts

The variety of ways to use American miles is what makes earning and using miles and points so darn enjoyable! We have a great way to get to the Caribbean and Europe in economy class as well as two ways to fly to the Middle East (and beyond) in total luxury. What’s not to like about that?

Whatever your travel goals, American AAdvantage miles will likely play a role at some point. And, if you have 100,000 miles, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

How would you use 100,000 American miles?!

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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


About the Author

Spencer Howard is the Editor in Chief of 10xTravel. He is also the founder of Straight To The Points where he publishes Award Alerts, an email newsletter that provides great business and first class award booking opportunities complete with dates and the best ways to book. He enjoys long walks through the airport and taking in airplane views from lounges. He’s obsessed (no, really) with finding creative ways to earn and redeem miles and points and...

Learn More About Spencer

4 Responses to “Team Piece: How We Would Use 100k American Miles”


Kimberly Zhang

Hi, I’ve been trying to sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card via the link on this blog since late last week, but the Chase website (after hitting “Apply Now”) is always down. Is this a problem with Chase, or are they no longer offering the credit card?

David Loaiza

Using AA award travel to Europe is difficult and expensive as the majority of flights offered go with British Airways and their terrible fees/surcharges


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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