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.
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!
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.
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:
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!
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?