American Daily Deals: Upgrade to first class starting at just $50 when you book today
Editor’s note: This page is being updated with the latest deals.
American Airlines is beginning 2021 with a series of “Daily Deals,” giving the carrier an opportunity to jumpstart bookings during a period when many would-be travelers may be hesitant to fly or lock in future travel.
Be sure to bookmark this post. With a new offer going live each morning, we’ll keep updating this page — adding the most appealing deals up top while listing the expired offerings down below, for future reference.
Traveling in the near future and want some extra space? You’re in luck.
On Wednesday, American launched a deal aimed at luxury travelers. Through 11:59 p.m. CT on Jan. 14, 2021, you can upgrade to first class on new bookings starting at just $50. The deal is valid on travel between Jan. 21 and Feb. 28, 2021.
Nonstop flights under 500 miles can be upgraded for $50 one-way and flights over 500 miles can be upgraded for $100. The promotion is valid for new one-way and round-trip bookings, except for flights departing Friday and Sunday.
The deal works on most domestic routes in the continental U.S., with a few exceptions:
- Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) – Fort Myers (FMY)
- Dallas (DFW) – Forty Myers (FMY)
- Vail/Eagle (EGE) – Miami (MIA)
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Fort Myers (FMY)
- New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
- New York (JFK) – San Francisco (SFO)
You’ll see the discounted price on American’s website, Google Flights and other Online Travel Agencies (OTA). For example, this New York (LGA) to Boston (BOS) flight is $49 in economy and $99 in first class. This reflects the $50 premium to book first class over economy on sub-500 mile flights.
Longer flights — like this one from Phoenix (PHX) to Seattle (SEA) — shows the $100 upgrade cost for flights over 500 miles.
This deal can be a great way to sample American’s lie-flat business class product too. The airline is flying wide-body aircraft on select routes — including Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles (LAX). This 777-operated flight cost just $160 in first class next month.
Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Los Angeles (LAX) is another one of these routes. A one-way ticket is just $142 in first class during the promotion.
You can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book these flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. The Chicago to Los Angeles flight noted above costs just 11,872 miles if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Unfortunately, not all flights are eligible for the deal. We found various exclusions outside of the restricted routes above. There are no rhyme or reason for these exclusions and some are restricted to a single flight frequency.
When you book in American first class, you’ll earn double Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) after you fly. You can view how many EQM you’ll earn for each ticket on the checkout screen.
American launched once of its most appealing deals to date on Monday, Jan. 11, giving travelers until 11:59 p.m. CT time to book flights to select national parks between April 6 and May 6, 2021.
Fares start at $49 each way, and are available between the contiguous 48 United States and Bozeman (BZN), Jackson Hole (JAC), Flagstaff (FLG), Fresno (FAT), Denver (DEN), Redmond (RDM), Missoula (MSO) and Boise (BOI). Prepare to pay at least twice as much if your trip requires a connecting flight.
As with past deals, given the low cash fares, this promo presents an excellent opportunity to save your AAdvantage miles and redeem through a credit card portal, instead. For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can book these flights via Ultimate Rewards starting at just under 3,300 points each way.
Expired deals – Jan. 10
Sunday morning, American Airlines launched its latest deal, offering flights from the contiguous United States to beach destinations starting at just $49 each way for travel between Jan. 19 and April 28, 2021.
Eligible destinations include Charleston (CHS), Corpus Christi (CRP), Daytona Beach (DAB), Panama City (ECP), Key West (EYW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Gainesville (GNV), Gulfport/Biloxi (GPT), Hilton Head Island (HHH), Harlingen (HRL), Jacksonville (JAX), Miami (MIA), Mobile (MOB), Myrtle Beach (MYR), West Palm Beach (PBI), Pensacola (PNS), Fort Myers (RSW), Sarasota (SRQ), Tallahassee (TLH), Tampa (TPA), and Destin/Fort Walton Beach (VPS).
If flights had been priced below $49 before the sale, those lower prices remain intact — you can book economy tickets to Miami (MIA) from a handful of cities, such as Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL) and even Los Angeles (LAX) for just $42 each way, for example.
Note that the $49 fares are only available on certain days of the week, depending on your origin and destination — $49 flights between Chicago and Charleston are only available on Tuesdays, for example.
If you’re looking to redeem points for your travel, these discounted fares present an excellent opportunity to save your AAdvantage miles and redeem through a credit card portal, instead. For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can book these flights via Ultimate Rewards starting at just under 3,300 points each way.
As always, you’ll need to book your ticket by 11:59 pm Central Time today, Sunday, Jan. 10, in order to score the discount.
Friday morning, American launched its latest limited-time sale, giving travelers an opportunity to book flights to Hawaii starting at just $99 for travel through May 16, 2021. The sale covers flights between the contiguous 48 U.S. states and Honolulu (HNL), Kona (KOA) and Maui (OGG).
Remarkably, even American’s longest Hawaii flights are included, with many dates available for $99 each way, or $198 round-trip.
Depending on where you’re originating, the lowest fares may require a pretty nasty layover — an overnight in Dallas isn’t uncommon for flights from the East Coast, for example, so expect to pay a bit more for better routing, or be prepared to add in an en route hotel stay.
As always, you can redeem credit card points through your program’s respective portal as well — Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can book these flights starting at just 6,500 points each way via Ultimate Rewards, for example.
Redeeming directly through American requires more than three times the number of points, meanwhile, and you won’t even earn miles or elite credit for your trip.
Flights on Saturday and Sunday are excluded, but that’s fine by me — if you’re flying all the way to Hawaii, you might as well make a long weekend of it.
On Wednesday morning, AA published a deal for travel through May 31, 2021 — or, in this case, May 26, since this latest promotion specifically covers travel on Wednesdays.
Officially, the deal is limited to flights operating within the 48 contiguous U.S. states, and exclusively for economy travel, though we’re also seeing the discount applied to flights in business and first-class.
The savings really can be significant — with this promotion, you could book a lie-flat seat on American’s 777-200 between New York-JFK and Miami (MIA) for just $153 each way, for example.
A lie-flat seat on American’s 787-9 Dreamliner can be had for just $201 each way between Chicago (ORD) and Los Angeles (LAX), meanwhile.
Even the airline’s Flagship business and first-class products are available on the cheap, with transcon fares starting at just $323 each way.
You don’t need to go through the checkout process in order to see these discounted fares, so I recommend beginning your search with Google Flights — results appear instantly, and you’ll see the discount reflected there. Note that the 40% discount only applies to the base fare — the savings are a bit less significant after taxes and fees on lower fares.
As travel guru and former TPG staff member JT Genter points out, the carrier’s first offer went live Monday morning, with flyers scoring one free child ticket to the Caribbean for each adult ticket purchased at the same time.
When you purchase a ticket by 11:59 p.m. CT on Jan. 4, 2021, one child (up to 15 years old) can fly free for each adult booked on American Airlines flights to select Caribbean destinations between Jan. 18 and April 30, 2021.
Valid airports include Grenada (GND), Grand Cayman (GCM), Punta Cana (PUJ), George Town (GGT), North Eleuthera (ELH), Puerto Plata (POP), Curacao (CUR), Bermuda (BDA), St. Martin (SXM), Montego Bay (MBJ), Nassau (NAS), Barbados (BGI), Turks and Caicos (PLS), Aruba (AUA), Bonaire (BON), Marsh Harbour (MHH), Antigua (ANU), St. Kitts (SKB), Freeport (FPO), St. Lucia (UVF) and St. Vincent (SVD).
The offer is valid for all cabins, including one-way and round-trip flights, but award tickets, codeshares and contract tickets are excluded. No promo code is required — you should see the discount automatically reflected once you select your flights. Taxes and fees may apply.
Note that as American Airlines awards miles based on the pre-tax cash price of a ticket, the discounted ticket may not be eligible to earn award miles or elite-qualifying credit.
Flexible booking policy
It could be worth considering American’s Daily Deals even if you aren’t planning to travel right now. Offers may be valid for travel several months in the future, and the carrier’s current booking policy adds significant flexibility if you choose to change your trip.
American will waive change fees for all new travel booked by Jan. 31, 2021, including basic economy tickets. Customers can change their origin and destination cities, but a difference in fare may apply. If the airline cancels the flight, customers can request a full refund to their original form of payment.
Maximize your purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns bonus points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel; earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amextravel), Citi Premier® Card (3x on air travel) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases).
The information for the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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