While I haven’t flown American Airlines more than a dozen times, I’ve redeemed well over two million American Airlines AAdvantage miles.. mainly for travel on Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways – those three are the most powerful AAdvantage partners, in my opinion. While I love American Airlines miles, I find it ridiculous that the airline does not issue tickets instantly (like most airlines do now). My recent award ticket booked using AA miles took 5 days to be issued – that is ridiculous.
The biggest advantage of AA’s frequent flyer programme is that they allow 5 day holds on award tickets. This means that the flights will be guaranteed for you for up to 5 days while you transfer in or purchase additional miles. SPG transfers usually take less than 3 days to AA and therefore the 5 day hold is a perfect combination with the SPG transfer time to AA.
The issue with AAdvantage is that most tickets booked are not issued instantly.. which is insanely ridiculous in today’s world as some people love to book last minute travel.. which is technically possible with AA miles, however, it is very likely if you are booking really close to departure, that your ticket won’t be issued before your flight. The biggest issue is that since ticketing can take days is that some award flight segments can drop off of the booking. When a booking is created, a partner airline is giving that seat for confirmation to American Airlines who confirms the passenger wants that seat by issuing the ticket. If the ticket isn’t issued quickly, segments drop off as the partner airline doesn’t want AA to hold those seats for a longer time if they won’t be confirmed and ticketed.
The biggest thing to watch out for when redeeming AA miles is to ensure all of your desired flights are ticketed properly and that none of the segments have dropped off by the time the ticket is issued. If this happens, you would need to call AA to get the ticket fixed. If there is still award space on your desired flights, this won’t be an issue… however if there isn’t, you may need to fight your way to get those flights booked.
Be sure to check out some of the awesome Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Hotel Rewards Credit Cards, and Point Rewards Credit Cards that are available and will earn you lots of miles and great travel benefits!