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You can now redeem AAdvantage miles for concerts and sporting events, but is it worth it?

There’s a new way to redeem your American Airlines miles, and it doesn’t involve taking a flight.

Starting Tuesday, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier is offering American Airlines AAdvantage mileage redemptions for concert, theater and sporting event tickets booked through the AAdvantage Events portal. Mileage redemptions can completely offset the cost of an event ticket or be combined with cash in 1,000-mile increments.

The new feature is now available on the AAdvantage Events portal, but it’s a bit tricky to find the redemption option.

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After searching for tickets, you need to find the event you want and then proceed to the payment page. (This portal works in partnership with Ticketmaster, so you should be able to see most of the standard and resale ticket options that Ticketmaster offers.) The search results will show how many miles you would earn if you paid cash, but it’s best to ignore that figure if you plan on redeeming miles.

If you wish to redeem miles, you will need to enter your AAdvantage number on the contact information page.

AMERICAN AIRLINES

Once you reach the checkout screen, you’ll see a new tab offering the “Redeem Miles” feature. From there, you can manually enter the number of miles you wish to redeem to offset the cost of the ticket.

Please note that unverified resale tickets or tickets from affiliate sites linked to Ticketmaster are always grayed out and cannot be purchased through AAdvantage Events.

As to whether this redemption option makes sense, for most travelers the answer will likely be no.

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American told TPG that redemption rates will be consistent across events, but AAdvantage status members and American co-branded credit card members will see more favorable redemption rates.

AMERICAN AIRLINES

As an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member and co-branded credit card holder, I took a look at the redemption rates for some upcoming New York Yankees games.

The AAdvantage portal showed that all redemptions, whether made directly as a combination of cash and miles or as miles-only purchases, resulted in a fee of 1 cent per mile.

I then repeated the same searches for my wife, who has no US status or credit cards, and her rates were 0.9 cents per mile.

Loyalty Basics: The Best Ways to Earn Airline Miles

TPG’s July 2024 valuations peg American miles at 1.55 cents each. At this valuation, most travelers will lose out by using miles to purchase tickets. But, if you have a huge surplus of miles or are looking for a good use of a few thousand orphaned miles, this could be a great option.

After all, it’s always better to have more options than less (and American seems to know this, because in recent months the airline has been busy adding other non-flight-related rewards, like Wi-Fi packages).

As for me, I’m just holding out hope that the Oneworld alliance’s upcoming mileage upgrade program will be a bit more valuable than this latest redemption option.

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