One of the best ways to redeem American Airlines miles is to fly to Africa from the U.S.

I enjoy going to South Africa to visit Cape Town or Johannesburg. This one-way in business class costs just 75,000 American Airlines miles. The taxes and fees are just $15.70 for a one-way trip from Chicago to Cape Town.

I will tell you more about this redemption and give you step-by-step instructions to book.

Why it’s special


All of the long haul products are enjoyable. The food and drinks on my flights have always been great.

You can fly its Qsuite product on flights between the U.S. and Doha, as well as on some other routes. If you travel as a couple, you can get two of the center seats that cabin attendants can make into a double bed.


You could redeem American Airlines miles to fly between the US and the Middle East or Indian Subcontinent.

If you want to redeem American Airlines miles, you can add a flight between the two countries for just 5,000 more miles.

You can fly between the US and Africa for just 75,000 AAdvantage miles. You can connect domestically in the U.S. for the same cost if you don't live near a Qatar Airways gateway.

If you look at the seat map, you can see if the flight has Qsuite seating. The company that I use to do that is called ExpertFlyer. A Qsuite A350-900 flight would look like this.

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Qatar A350-900 Qsuite business class seat map. EXPERTFLYER.COM

A non-Qsuite A350-900 flight would look similar to this.

Qatar A350-900 business class seat map without Qsuite. EXPERTFLYER.COM

Points and miles can be used to fly in business class to Africa. For more information on the best ways to get to South Africa, check out our post.

Brian Kelly thought about flying with a group of 4.

How to book this award


It's easy to book this award. Even if you don't know if you'll be able to take the flight, you can still book an award even if you don't know.

I don't think it's a good idea to transfer points to speculative book awards. If you need to cancel your award, you might be left with less miles.

Even if you don't have enough miles, you can still look for award availability. You won't be asked to sign in until the fifth step if you follow the steps below. There is a way to find award availability and book it.

Step 1: Start your search on American’s home page

You can redeem miles even if you want to fly round-trip, searching and booking one-ways may be easier. Select the number of tickets you want from the list. Click to find something.


Some results will be shown on the next page. If you don't, consider searching for fewer passengers or changing your location.

There is a review of the Qsuite business class on the plane.

Step 2: Limit your search to select airlines

You should only search for specific airlines. If you're flying from a city in the U.S. that's served by Qatar, it's a good idea to only choose that airline. You should choose the airline you want to connect on if you want to connect to the U.S.


You will eliminate other options if you select onlyQatar Airways. As you move on to the next step, it will help if you do that.

Booking flights with points and miles is related.

Step 3: Use calendar search to check alternate dates (if needed)

There is a calendar of award availability. Click on the "show all classes" drop-down and select "business/first" The calendar search will only show dates with business class awards if you choose to do so.


If this calendar search doesn't give you any itineraries you like, you can go back to Step 1 and search for a ticket from a different airport or another destination.

If you're looking for an airport in the U.S., you should search from it.

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)

On the inaugural San Francisco flight, the Qsuite business class was flying.

Step 4: Select your award and check the trip summary

Clicking on a date on the calendar will show you all the awards that day.


You can check the trip summary by clicking on the award. Click "Log-in" if you want to keep going.

What to do with less than 5,000 AAdvantage miles?

Step 5: Log in, check your passenger info and select seats

On the next screen, you will need to log in. You have to enter the passenger information here. Click continue if you don't want to stop.


You should call American Airlines to get the confirmation number. You can choose your seats on the website. If you want certain seats on the ExpertFlyer seat map to be unblocked, you need to call the country of origin. The Qsuite quad seats are usually blocked by Qatar.

There is a way to fly to Hawaii for 15,000 miles.

Step 7: Review your flight and pay

You can check the cost in miles and cash when you review your itinerary.


You have to pay taxes on your award. Even if you only use your card to pay for taxes and fees, you should still use a credit card that gives travel protection. The Chase Reserve card is my go-to choice, but the Chase Preferred card is also a good one.

It's related to when to buy travel insurance and when to use credit card protections.

How to earn miles for this award

Some American Airlines loyalists don't have to worry about earning enough miles. The most difficult part of booking this award is the amount of American Airlines miles you earn. Marriott Bonvoy and Bilt rewards are the only major transferrable currency that you can use to transfer to American Airlines.

Transferring Marriott Bonvoy points

You can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to AAdvantage. THE POINTS GUY

At 3:1, Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to American Airlines AAdvantage. If you transfer 60,000 points, Marriott will give you 5000 miles. The transfer ratio can be difficult to swallow.

You would have to transfer 180,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to get one one-way award. It is possible to book a week at many mid-tier properties with this amount of points.

Transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to American Airlines may seem like a bad idea if you have a lot of Marriott Bonvoy points.

If you want to earn Marriott Bonvoy points to transfer and get Marriott-specific perks like elite night credits and free night certificates each year, you may want to apply for a Marriott Bonvoy credit card.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 150,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. ($650 annual fee, see rates and fees)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 125,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. ($250 annual fee, see rates and fees)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new card to make $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. ($125 annual fee, see rates and fees)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.($95 annual fee)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. (no annual fee)

There are two reasons why you need a Marriott Bonvoy credit card.

Transferring Bilt Rewards points

You can transfer your points to AAdvantage if you pay your rent with Bilt rewards. You can transfer points from Bilt to AAdvantage in a second.

The Points Guy did not collect the information for the Mastercard. The card issuer did not review or provide the card details on this page.

Paying rent and mortgage with a credit card is related.

Earning with American Airlines cards


You can earn more American Airlines miles by using the co branded American Airlines credit cards. Sign up for a new card or use your existing card.

Some American Airlines co brand cards are worth considering.

The Points Guy did not collect the information for the Mastercard. The card issuer did not review or provide the card details on this page.

It's related to maximizing redemptions with American Airlines AAdvantage.

Bottom line

Business class awards are easy to find. You might need to be a bit more flexible with your travel dates. It is possible to find award availability if you want to travel with more than one person.

It is a great deal to redeem American Airlines miles for a one-way flight between the US and the Middle East. It doesn't cost much more to travel all the way to South Africa from the US.

Click here for the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant rates.

Click here for Amex Bonvoy Bevy rates.

Click here for Amex Bonvoy Business rates.