Analyzing American Airlines Premium Economy Award Chart
Yesterday, American Airlines became the last of the Big Three US airlines to add premium economy to their award chart. Until now, American’s premium economy seats could only be booked on revenue tickets. The new addition to the award chart should be a welcome sight for travelers.
Premium economy on American includes larger seats with extra legroom and footrests (think domestic first class), an amenity kit, improved food and beverage options, noise-reducing headphones, a Casper pillow and blanket, and two checked bags.
At the moment, these redemptions are not available to partners, meaning you will only be able to book flights on American metal through the AAdvantage program. You are also not able to book premium economy travel on Oneworld partners like Cathay Pacific using American miles either.
American’s new premium economy award chart is as follows:
(American Airlines’ Premium Economy Award Chart)
For the most part, American has priced their new premium economy awards squarely in the middle of economy and business prices. However, comparing AA’s new premium economy chart to their existing economy and business class charts, there are a few redemptions that seem to make more sense than others.
Europe may be a real sweet spot in the chart. At 40,000 miles, this comes in at only 10,000 more miles than SAAver-level economy (33% increase). This redemption seems perfect for a daytime flight coming back from Europe where a flat bed seat isn’t as critical. Business class comes in at 57,500, making a decent difference between the two. If you’re a few miles short though, it can make sense to pick up 50,000 bonus miles with $3,000 spending the AAdvantage Platinum or 40,000 bonus miles with $1 spending on the AAdvantage Aviator Red card
South America 2 (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay)
Similar to Europe, flights to South America 2 are only 10,000 miles more than SAAver-level economy awards. 10+ hours in premium economy for only 40k points seems well worth it. Especially when considering these flights can often go for over $1,500. Business class also comes in at 57,500 for awards to South America 2.
While the previously mentioned routes come across as solid values, there are also a few spots on the chart that make less sense than others.
For Hawaii, redemptions jump from 22,500 in coach to 50,000 in premium economy. That’s more than double! While there is a sizeable gap from economy to business (40,000 miles), it hardly seems worth it to use that many miles for premium economy.
Asia 1 (Japan, Korea, Mongolia)
These next two are less about the price of the redemption and more about the comparative cost. At 50,000 miles, American seems to have priced this award pretty fairly. However, considering that it is only 10,000 more miles for business, it doesn’t seem like the best use of miles. 10,000 miles seems worth the upgrade to a flat-bed, better meals, and lounge access.
(American Airlines Business Class, aa.com)
At 65,000 miles, a premium economy redemption to the South Pacific is the costliest premium economy redemption on American’s new award chart. However, the reason it makes this part of the list is again due to its comparative cost. Flights to the South Pacific are some of American’s longest flights, where the extra space and flat bed can really make a difference.
Overall, American has priced their new premium economy award chart pretty fairly. Fortunately, this hasn’t yet come at the expense of any other “enhancements” in their award chart. Hopefully it stays this way for a while.
What are your thoughts on American’s new premium economy award chart?