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Fly in First on Short-Haul American Flights for a Few Thousand More Miles

First of all, is first-class on short-haul flights pointless?

Now that you’ve decided “no”, make sure you don’t accidentally miss out on an opportunity to book a short-haul first class flight for only a few thousand more miles than taking an award flight in economy.

American’s new award chart added another tier.  Some short-haul economy flights are only 7,500 miles (as opposed to 12,500 miles).

I’ve had to book a few last-minute flights lately, and it’s been worth it to book them with miles instead of paying a lot of money for a short hop.

However, I’ve found that the 7,500 MileSAAver awards tend to be sold out when booking that late in the game.  So I’ve almost opted for the 12,500 options (involving a connection through a close city).

But when I’ve clicked over to the Business/First MileSAAver awards, a lot of options in the 15,000 range were still available.

I wouldn’t pay twice as much in miles for a first class flight, but I’d definitely pay 2,500 more miles to be in first.  (Yes, even on a short-haul!)

So let’s say I needed to fly to LGA in the evening next week.  These are the 7,500 options that come up:

MileSAAver economy

Bummer, nothing in the evening.

I briefly thought I was going to have to fly to LGA via BOS and pay 12,500 for it to boot.

But then I checked the first-class availability.

MileSAAver first

For only 2,500 more than my coach alternatives, I’m able to get the evening flight I need as a non-stop direct flight AND in first-class.

So when booking short-haul rewards, don’t forget to check your first-class options when the flights are limited.  You can avoid a connection and sit up front, just for a few thousand more points.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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3 comments

  1. I can see this making sense, but the chance to sit up front is definitely last on the list (if at all). 1) leaving at the time I want (important for reducing the amount of time off for work), 2) getting to the destination at a much more reasonable time and 3) IMO significantly reduced likelihood of lost baggage.

  2. Not to mention the free baggage allowance you would get ^^(if you have no status)

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