Use Ultimate Rewards to Fly American Airlines

An American Airlines aircraft in flight, viewed from the side. The plane has a white fuselage with the American Airlines logo and a tail featuring red, white, and blue stripes. The landing gear is extended, indicating that the plane is either approaching for landing or has just taken off. The sky in the background is mostly clear with some light clouds.

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!)

The image shows an American Airlines airplane in flight. The aircraft is white with the American Airlines logo and branding on its fuselage. The tail features the airline's distinctive red, white, and blue stripes. The plane appears to be a large commercial jet.

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.

The image shows a travel booking webpage for a rewards program. The top section displays a banner with a scenic background of mountains and ancient ruins, with the text "Book Your Next Adventure." Below the banner, it states, "Your 172,740 points are worth $2,591.10 towards travel when you book through Ultimate Rewards. Not enough to get you there? Pay with your points, your Chase card, or both."

Below this, there is a booking form with tabs for Flights, Hotels, Cars, and Activities. The Flights tab is selected, and the form includes fields for Round Trip or One Way, Multi-City Destination, Leaving From, Going To, Departing Date, Returning Date, Number of Travelers, Age Information, and Preferred Class. There are also checkboxes for "Include Nearby Airports" and "Use Flexible Dates." A green "Search" button is at the bottom right of the form. The top navigation bar includes options for "Use Points," "Earn Points," "Travel Customer Support," and "Travel Profile." The top right corner shows the points balance of 172,740 points.

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.

Alt text: A screenshot of a flight booking page showing a one-way flight option. The flight is with American Airlines, departing from Miami (MIA) at 11:45 AM and arriving in San Juan (SJU) at 3:29 PM. The flight is non-stop, with a duration of 2 hours and 44 minutes, covering a distance of 1,070 miles. The fare class is Economy. The price is highlighted in red, showing 32,740 points or $349.10 per ticket. There is a "Select" button to choose this flight option. Additional details and baggage fees are mentioned at the bottom.
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:

The image shows a webpage titled "Avios Redemption Calculator." The page includes fields for entering travel details, such as "From: Miami Intl - Miami - MIA" and "To: Robert L Bradshaw - Basse Terre - SKB." There is a "Search" button below these fields. The page also displays a table with columns labeled "From," "To," "Via," "Partner/First," "Business," "Prem. Econ," and "Economy." The table contains data for flights from MIA to SKB, with different partner airlines and corresponding Avios points required for each class of service. The top navigation bar includes links to "BLOG," "HOTELS," "AWARDS," "REBATES," "LOUNGES," and "EARNING OPTIONS."
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:

The image is a screenshot of a flight booking page for a trip from Miami to St. Kitts on Friday, January 26, 2018. The page shows a calendar with dates from Tuesday, January 23 to Monday, January 29, indicating flight availability. The selected date is Friday, January 26, with a note that flights are available. Below the calendar, there is a section titled "Outbound flights" which states that there are no direct British Airways flights available on this route. Instead, it shows an American Airlines flight (AA318) departing at 11:40 and arriving at 15:26, with a duration of 3 hours and 46 minutes. The flight is in Economy class, and Business Class is not available.
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:

Alt text: A screenshot of a journey summary for a flight booking. The outbound flight is on January 26th, departing at 17:54 and arriving at 21:57, with the flight number MA. The inbound section indicates that a one-way journey has been selected. The total price, including all taxes, fees, and carrier charges, is 10,000 Avios plus $15.60. There is a link for more pricing options and a note stating that the exact cost will be shown after clicking "Continue."
Just 10,000 Avios per person for the one-way flight!

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

The image is a screenshot of a flight booking summary. It shows a one-way flight from Miami (MIA) to Saint Kitts (SKB) on Friday, January 26. The flight departs at 5:54 PM and arrives at 9:57 PM, with a duration of 3 hours and 3 minutes. The flight is operated by American Airlines, flight number 1235, in Economy Class on an Airbus A319 aircraft. The amenities listed include in-seat and USB power, streaming to your device, and no Wi-Fi. The total price for the flight is $492, highlighted in a red box. There is also a blue button to book, track, or share the flight, and a note about additional bag fees.

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!


The image shows a simple white line drawing of a paper airplane inside a blue circle.


  1. 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!

    1. 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!


    1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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!


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