24 Dec Use Ultimate Rewards to Fly American Airlines

American Airlines is not a Chase Travel Partner, which means that you cannot transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards into your American Airlines AAdvantage account. (In that case, ignore the American Airlines AAdvantage Award Chart, since that is based on redeeming AAdvantage miles only!)

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel on American Airlines!

Here is how you CAN use Ultimate Rewards to fly American:

OPTION NUMBER 1: Chase Travel Portal

Utilize the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal.

For those of you that are unfamiliar, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal allows you to book travel using points based on the actual price of the airfare. Once you have selected your flights you can then redeem Chase Ultimate Reward points at the standard rate of 1.25 cents per point (for Chase Sapphire Preferred users) or 1.5 cents per point (for Chase Sapphire Reserve users) as shown below.

32,740 is the price in Ultimate Rewards for Reserve cardholders… Preferred cardholders need to redeem 39,280 points!

The price in points is 32,740 Chase Ultimate Reward points (CSR) for a one-way flight from Miami to St. Kitts in the Caribbean!

Redeeming via the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal is an especially good deal in the case of long-haul fare sales, where a round-trip ticket to Europe may cost ~$450 or just 30,000 Ultimate Rewards.

For short-haul expensive fares on American Airlines (as in the example above), there is a much more attractive option!

OPTION 2: Avios!

You can book award flights flying American Airlines (or other oneworld partners) using the Avios team of Chase partners – British Airways,  Aer Lingus and Iberia!

To start, lets focus on British Airways…

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to British Airways Executive Club Avios. Once Avios are in your BA Executive Club account, you can very easily redeem for award flights on fellow OneWorld Member Airline, American Airlines!

If you don’t yet have a British Airways Executive Club account, go ahead and sign up here! It’s easy, it’s free and you are going to need it to search for award availability!

British Airways mileage program is distance based, making this a great use of Chase Ultimate Rewards points for short-haul within the US and Europe! Keep in mind that for longer-haul flights, British Airways Avios might not always provide the best value considering their distance based program.

A great tool to determine how many Avios you will need for a specific route is the Avios Redemption Calculator from Wandering Aramean:

Miami to St. Kitts for just 10,000 Ultimate Rewards turned Avios! Compare that with paid fares that can reach $800+

Or you can always utilize British Airways own tool, though I find it to be a bit clunky and user unfriendly…

IRL Example on British Airways site:

Once you have any idea of how many Avios your flight should cost, you can begin your search for availability here! (You must be logged into your Executive Club account in order to search)

Here is an example of the British Airways award flights search tool using that same MIA-SKB one-way route:

Sweet! 2 seats in economy available for Avios redemption!

And just as the Wandering Aramean site displayed, here is the cost of that one way flight:

Just 10,000 Avios per person for the one-way flight!

Now, just for fun, let’s compare that again to the paid fare…

Quick Recap

For this particular one-way short-haul route, redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal would cost 32,740 Ultimate Rewards points (CSR cardholders) or 39,280 Ultimate Rewards points (CSR card cardholders)…

Or JUST 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards transferred to British Airways Avios! You still fly that same American Airlines flight and that simple transfer to Avios just saved you over 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Other Avios?

In addition to British Airways Avios, Chase just added Aer Lingus and Iberia as Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners, greatly simplifying redemption through these programs!

Previously, there was some run-around needed in order to convert British Airways Avios into the Aer Lingus and Iberia Avios programs, making this a nice addition for those redeeming in those programs (I never have…).

Final Thought

You cannot transfer Ultimate Rewards to AAdvantage miles, but you can still use Ultimate Rewards points to fly American Airlines.

Just keep in mind that you have a couple options, including the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal and points transfer to British Airways Avios (or other Avios program)!

For cheap long-haul fares, think Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal.

For expensive short-haul fares, avoid the cost with a transfer to British Airways (or other Avois program) and Avios redemption!

Which option to chose varies on a case by case basis, so be sure to research both options and determine which will get you to your destination for the least amount of [valuable] Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Have you ever redeeming Ultimate Rewards for travel on American? Did you utilize the portal or transfer to Avios?

Happy Travels!

DW

7 Comments
  • Julie C
    Posted at 11:24h, 24 December Reply

    Thanks for the great post but you lost me with the BA Executive Club Account since your post assumes we already have one. Do you need a separate CC to create a BA Executive Club Account? Thnx for clarifying!

    • DW
      Posted at 11:37h, 24 December Reply

      Thanks for the comment!

      I just added the following withing the post “If you don’t yet have a British Airways Executive Club account, go ahead and sign up here! It’s easy, it’s free and you are going to need it to search for award availability!”

      Hopefully this answers your question and makes the process a little more clear!

      DW

  • Gary70
    Posted at 12:02h, 24 December Reply

    Tried to book AA flight with Avios several times and NEVER was able to find an award flight from Philadelphia

    • DW
      Posted at 12:04h, 24 December Reply

      From PHL to where? AA is very stingy on domestic award availability… though they often release mass amounts of availability during 2-3 day windows, you just have to be ready to strike when the happen to open the floodgates!

      Thanks for the comment!
      DW

  • Man Gropes 3 Women on 45-Minute Flight, How to use Ultimate Rewards on American, Marriott All-Inclusive Hotels - BaldThoughts
    Posted at 09:58h, 27 December Reply

    […] Use Ultimate Rewards to Fly American Airlines. – It’s easy to assume that you can’t fly on American because they aren’t a transfer partner, but here are some easy workarounds to redeem on American. […]

  • Pat Rose
    Posted at 14:31h, 30 December Reply

    Do you have to have Avios in your account to see award availability? Like the comment above, I have never been able to find a flight using Avios but I have never transferred any in either.

    • DW
      Posted at 14:37h, 30 December Reply

      Hey Pat! You need to have an Executive Club account, but you do not need to have avois in there in order to search! Search first, then transfer in once you have found the availability you need! Chase transfers are one way and once you transfer you can’t go back!

      DW

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