Test your knowledge: How well do you understand award chart tricks?

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Bloggers spend a lot of time sharing complex tricks with readers such as fuel dumping, free one-ways, and manufactured spend. But if you are like me, not everything you read clicks right away. Sure, I can usually recite the trick back but can I really put it into practice? The best way to confirm your understanding is by testing your knowledge. So let’s give it a try. In this week’s piece, Points, Miles and Martinis asks, how well do you understand the American Airlines award rules? (Don’t cheat and look in the comments)

Let’s say you are feeling the Aloha spirit and are looking at flights to and from Hawaii in April. The AA award chart clearly states a one way award will cost you 22,500 in Hawaii’s peak season.


In looking at your full year’s travel strategy, you also decide you’d like to check out Europe this summer and hone in on Berlin, my personal favorite city in Europe, of course. The award chart reveals your one way award will cost you 30,000 AA miles since this is Europe’s peak season after all.


Straightforward pricing. You decide to price both flights together online to pay your additive total at once (Hopefully you have more AA miles at this point than my 331 total). The award price comes out to…..


Huh?! Wait. What just happened? This is less than the 22,500 AA was asking for the one way flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles.

How well do you understand the American Airlines award rules?

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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

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  1. I think milevalue posted about this – it basically turns into off-peak Europe award when you start the trip in the spring.

    But who cares!?!? I want to go out an book this award. Too bad travel plans are set through February 2014

  2. My husband and I have 80,000 eurobonus points (he has 45,000 and I have 35,000) plus a total of 29,000 BA Avios points. I would love to find a way to get us to PHL (or near airports) for Christmas this coming year. Any tips for me?

  3. Milesaver off peak with stopover. Since you are starting in N.A. going to Europe the N.A. gateway is LAX. You could also do ORD,NYC,DFW stopover. By using Air Berlin you avoid the Surcharge

  4. Not very well…how do you plan on getting back? Is this only half of the equation…do you need to schedule another flight segment getting you back to Hawaii in April or back from Berlin in July? Do you just have to book another time, once going from LAX to OGG and another from Berlin to OGG?

  5. Well iI dont understand the rules very well.
    Perhaps you can explain why a a multicity ADL-SYD SYD-HKG is more expensive than a oneway
    ADL-SYD-HKG with the same dates and the same flights?

  6. That’s a pretty old ‘exploit’. OTR wrote about planning your year with a couple of free stop overs with AA. Basically it’s3 trips Hawaii, Europe, Argentina bundled into several one-ways. Works best from the East coast or DFW. Very little miles needed and one can take teh whole family with.

  7. Well I don’t know how to do these or other tricks so I am always willing to learn. Does Delta not have any? Every time I try to be crafty with Delta awards nothing happens. Case in point, I want to book a 100K JFK-MXP FCO-JFK trip and I found the low awards both ways. It spit out a 200K trip when I was done. Oh well.

  8. We just used this last spring for a great value, OGG-ORD in April(stopover) then ORD-BRU in July, 20k pp coach total each way. If you originate in the off peak USA to Europe season, you get the lower mile redemption amount. Of course, if you’re coming back to USA from Europe in the summer you wont see the discount. Still, it’s a good way to save some miles.

  9. If you decide not to show up for the Hawaii portion of the trip, is there a risk of the airline cxling the remaining portion to Berlin?

  10. Your return trip back to LA should be another 20K miles, hence the “free one way” from Hawaii to LA.

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