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American Airlines is in the process of updating its long-haul, widebody fleet with premium economy seating. Now that most of the fleet is completed (only the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner is yet to finish), the airline made it a priority to add the option to redeem miles for this upgraded economy class cabin.
This is a great option for those that don’t have enough miles for business class or prefer to splurge with miles on an enhanced economy experience rather than fly
Be sure to pack your travel credit card since premium economy awards are now available for many international cities like London, Paris, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Tokyo, and Auckland, just to name a handful.
How much do award flights cost?
Awards cost 40,000 miles each way between the continental U.S. and either Europe or deep South America (cities like Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile, for example). Awards between the continental U.S. and Asia go for 50,000 miles each. For comparison, business class awards for the former are 57,500 miles each way and 70,000 miles to Asia Region 2 (Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, for example) for the latter.
Economy class awards between the continental U.S. and Europe cost 30,000 miles each way most of the year, but dip to 22,500 during off-peak periods. This means that the cost seems to be almost in the middle of economy and business class awards. These are “saver” level prices and are not as easy to find as higher-priced awards.
Perks and Other Items to Watch Out For
For these prices, you get enhanced meals (similar to meals in domestic first class) served all on one tray with options from a printed menu. While they are served on proper ceramic dishes, drinks and servingware are usually plastic.
Other perks include a larger pillow and blanket from Casper, amenity kit, noise-reducing headphones, and of course, a wider seat with better recline. A large entertainment screen with power and USB outlets is
Keep in mind that premium economy seats are in a separate cabin from economy and offer more benefits than booking a Main Cabin Extra seat with more leg room. These awards can be booked online although you need to use the new award tool to find them.
If you go through the American home page (for now), it does not show premium economy awards. You can also use Expert Flyer, which seems more on the ball than AA when it comes to updating their website, to search for premium economy award space.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.