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American Airlines has quietly introduced the ability to book premium-economy awards online. So far, you can only book an award on AA metal (not on partner airlines), and you can not upgrade to Premium Economy from Economy fares yet.

AA 787

AA Premium Economy Awards Overview

  • Premium Economy awards do not appear on normal searches; you have to use a special page to locate them.
  • Awards are priced roughly halfway between economy-class and business-class fares.

Pricing:

According to the AA Premium Economy Award chart, the cheapest option is a MileSAAver award to Alaska for 25,000 miles. The most expensive award on offer is a cringe-worthy AAnytime Level 2 award to the South Pacific for 155,000 miles.

Sample Premium-Economy Awards

Finding premium-economy awards at the saver lever requires a bit of effort, but it is possible. The challenge with the new search tool is that you have to click on each day to see whether an award is available at the lowest price.

Like other classes of service, premium economy is scarce during popular travel times. Please don't pay 110K miles for a one-way Anytime Level 2 award ticket to Europe! For those keeping score at home, you could get a business-class round trip for only 5,000 miles more if you find saver-level pricing.

AA Premium Economy Aircraft

At this point, premium economy is only available on a fraction of American's global route network:

  • The cabin class is in operation on long-haul, international flights and some flights to Hawaii.
  • When premium economy equipped aircraft fly within the U.S., you can book the seats as main cabin extra seats.

When booking your award, the type of aircraft can give you an indication whether it has a premium economy cabin or not. All the following aircraft feature premium-economy cabins:

  • Boeing 787-9
  • Boeing 777-200
  • Boeing 777-300
  • Airbus A330-200
  • Boeing 787-8 aircraft are being retrofitted, and all should be completed by mid-2019

Our Take

Since we haven't seen any changes to award pricing for other cabins of service, this change is all positive for the moment. It is great news that you can now book premium-economy awards, and hopefully, AA will add the ability to upgrade to premium economy with miles soon. In the long run, we're hoping AA will roll out the ability to book partner awards in premium-economy cabins since partners like Qantas, Japan Airlines, and Cathay Pacific have an excellent hard product.

On the other hand, the award search for premium economy is badly inferior to the search tool for other award classes. The premium-economy search lacks a calendar view to see prices for more than one day at a time. The ability to filter for nonstop flights is also notably absent, but both features are present in the new interface with a “coming soon” notation. As with any major change, our biggest concern is an across-the-board repricing of awards when premium economy is fully integrated into the AAdvantage booking experience. For now, we can celebrate more options to redeem AA miles and stretch those legs on long-haul flights.

Source: One Mile At A Time

You Can Now Book AA Premium Economy Awards Online
5 (100%) 7 votes
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Comments

  • NIce to have another option to use miles in other than economy. I hope they do follow through on improving the search interface.

  • Marlin Seevers says:

    I booked a round trip to Alaska last Fall with AAdvantage miles and travel is next month. It would have been nice to have been able to get these nicer seats!

    • You should be able to upgrade without any change fee if you’re happy to pay the extra miles

  • Hopefully they sort it out and integrate it with the search, and with other carriers. Premium Economy is a great option for daytime returns from Europe. Even for night flights, I’d almost rather sleep in a recliner than trap my legs in the cubby of most business seats, i’ve taken to just reclining about 3/4 so i can move my legs, so I’m really just burning points for service and privacy.

    • This is a very solid point, and I tend to agree with it. I think that’s really an underrated option, so hopefully the integration works.

  • This is great news. I’ve been wanting to experience AA Premium Economy. Not sure if it will be as great as United’s Premium Economy product.

  • Thanks for providing the link to this page! Now I just need to keep it in mind when I need to book.

    • Indeed. AW can inform us of opportunities, but we must still remember them when the right time arises! Maybe some day AW will solve the problem of us remembering. 🙂

  • Wow, the South America AAnytime Level 1 is 80,000 points for Premium Economy. For that amount you could get TWO MileSAAver Economy seats and have even more room!

  • Partner premium economy redemption searches would be ideal!

  • Another way to use points, yes! Always a plus. Would be great to be able to take advantage of that on flights to Europe when it’s at the low level.
    You said there is a separate page to look at the availability? I wonder when they’ll have it merged with the usual search. Everyone’s definition of coming soon is different. I hope this means other good things are coming.

  • Although this change is nice, in general, I’ve noticed that awards are pricing much more variably than the award chart would indicate, which worries me that AA may soon follow DL and UA in eliminating award charts.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    Looks like I should cash in. The cheapest option is a MileSAAver award to Alaska for 25,000 miles.

  • Es rourk says:

    Great to know. Thanks for the tips.

  • nice to know about, too bad the search is so hidden

  • George N says:

    Thanks for this! Have just recently started looking at Budapest so this will be another option.

  • Thanks for the tips, Award Wallet! Will be keeping an eye out to see if they add the ability to upgrade to Premium Economy.. that would be choice.

  • Bill from Maine says:

    I’m thinking of premium economy next year to Europe. We’ll see how it prices out versus Business & Economy.

  • Patrick B. says:

    This is good news, and I’m an AAdvantage member, so I could actually get some practical use of of this. I hope they’ll consider expanding this to partner airlines as well!

  • The food for Premium Economy is a lot better than MileSAAver Economy, definitely worth to try.

  • Nick Miles says:

    Finally, maybe justification for making a point of keeping my AA miles alive.

  • The Arts Traveler says:

    This is great news on using AA miles. I usually only use these for domestic flights mainly because of the BA routings. Wish I would use them for something else more exciting.

  • Brian G. says:

    I am not a fan of AA’s Premium Economy product.

  • Kudos for making an actual improvement. Have to give them that.

  • Good info – hoping we can use points to upgrade online soon.

  • Hopefully this won’t devalue things in a few weeks….

  • Pricing so relatively close to Business just makes you wish that they’d release more J award seats instead of relying on British Airways and their surcharges…

  • It’s nice that they are offering another option. The number of miles required in the example above is crazy high. The value of these only decreases.

  • It’s great to have more options how to use miles!

  • Could one use, say, KVS or ExpertFlyer to find available award seats more efficiently?

  • It’s still sad that what used to be included “economy” service now costs an arm and a leg, whether cash or miles

  • Fingers crossed for no more changes to AA’s award chart.

  • what are the benefits of Premium economy??

  • I wonder why these live on a special page. You’d think AA would want to upsell as much as possible.

  • I hope that the premium economy booking will be extended to every flight.

  • Stacy Liu says:

    This is super helpful with all the screen shots and links. Definitely keeping this in mind for future usage of my miles!

  • E. Christopher says:

    Great news! But it appears there are no one-way awards, correct?

  • Jeanne murphy says:

    I do think i had premium economy on my last trip…..i remember feeling like my foot rest was like a bicyle pedal, my knees up in the air, and i have a fractured foot to boot! I had been assured i could elevate the foot…nope.
    ….. and the food was inedible. My husband just chimed in:
    …yes ..nasty! Fell on deaf ears at AA except for agreement with a staff member it wasnt worth it. She had the bike pedal routine too. Extra room is a better deal unless you have the points for the upper classes.
    All and all, i love American ….have since 1983….but that trip was premium hell.
    Hope this comment doesnt get me kicked out of next weeks business class to china….as i said, i happily fly no other airline as a rule. Ps…5 bonus aa miles is no incentive!

  • The more you can book online the better, I guess. Although this premium economy is getting pricey.

  • It’s a step in the right direction. Good of AA to do in a time where other airlines are taking away options.

  • we will see how much miles it will cost in compare with biz

  • Haven’t tried the product yet; is it worth the miles, say, to Frankfurt?

  • Perfect, another good way to spend miles. Hopefully easier to find award seats in premium than in business class!

  • Hopefully they improve the IT around it….oh wait…it is AA…nevermind.

  • I noticed a mileage increase for seats to Hawaii. It seems the premium economy seats are going for the old first class mileage and first-class mileage has increased.

  • charles j says:

    Thanks. I’ll probably still get the cheapest option, but if you didn’t post that a special page was available for this option, I would never even look.

  • Awesome, thanks for the info! Need to remember so i can use my points wisely.

  • I just checked for premium economy for some dates in June from ORD/SYD, it was 130K.
    Once upon a time one could book a business saver award for 80K from ORD/SYD.

  • Interesting. For folks with a lot of AA miles, this might be a good use.

  • Has anyone traveled in the AA premium economy cabin?

  • Great info and extremely useful, thank you!

  • great to see the PE option is now open

  • It’s only 10k miles more to Europe – 30k vs 40k – might be worth it.

  • Not sure of the value of PE award compared to biz. Not a huge improvement over ordinary coach.
    And smaller cabin means less likely to have award availability.

  • Great for AA, just returned from Madrid on AA miles, found a great seat in economy in the back where the seats are two and two not the standard 3 by 4 by 3. extra room by window and extra space under seat where there are 3 seats in front of you. these were better seats than in premium economy. Boeing 777 and only 60K miles round trip.

  • Nice for more choices, but this seems to me to be horrible value.

  • Thank you for helpful information

  • Always happy to see more options and appreciate the link to locate them.

  • Well if AA actually had PE similar to JAL it might be worth it. Otherwise I’ll take a pass….just not worth it in most cases

  • jacob zynger says:

    Sometimes you can get a free upgrade to premium economy by asking at the counter. Happened to me and wife on trip back from Prague.

  • This is great news for using AA miles. I usually only use these for domestic flights.

  • Patrick B says:

    Good to know this information since I try to book premier economy when traveling. Thank you.

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