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AA's frequent fliers can now use their miles to book on Qantas

July 09, 2012|By Terry Gardner | Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • The Endeavour replica ship sails past Australia's Sydney Opera House. Presumably, you'll have an easier time getting there by flying: American Airlines now allows you to book an award flight on Qantas.
The Endeavour replica ship sails past Australia's Sydney Opera House.… (Greg Wood / AFP / GettyImages )

If you’ve been hankering to hug a koala, you can now redeem American Airlines Aadvantage miles on Qantas.

In April, American Airlines gave frequent fliers the option of booking award flights on British Airways and Hawaiian Airlines as well as Alaska and American using AA.com.  It was so well received that American negotiated with Qantas to let customers redeem AAdvantage miles for Qantas flights on American’s website too.

AAdvantage MileSAAver Awards can be booked on the AA.com site for American and those four partner airlines. MileSAAver Awards use fewer miles than AAnytime Awards but usually need to be booked further in advance. AAdvantage travel can also be booked by phone, but customers will pay a $25 reservation assistance fee per ticket.  

Tested: I checked availability for flights in September through June of next year and found far more MileSAAver coach seats available for 37,500 each way than Business/First MileSAAver seats (67,500 miles each way) or First MileSAAver seasts (72,500 each way).  I could fly round trip on nonstop Qantas flights from LAX to Sydney, Australia, departing Sept. 2 and returning Sept. 12 for 75,000 miles plus $132.10 in taxes and fees. More first/business MileSAAver seats were available in November and in May and June 2013. First-class MileSAAver seats seemed scarce through next summer.  When I test-booked a flight in first/business for next May, taxes and fees were $134.60. 

American Airlines is working with additional airline partners so that customers will soon be able to redeem AAdvantage miles to fly to more destinations.

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