American Airlines Business Extra: How Businesses Can Earn & Redeem Points [2022]

American Airlines Flagship First. Image Credit: Stephen Au

American Airlines has a handful of premium routes in the U.S. that boast lie-flat seats and elevated service, known specifically as Flagship Business and Flagship First.

These are usually offered on transcontinental flights within the U.S. You can often find relatively inexpensive Flagship Business fares but Flagship First is typically much pricier.

Flights with fare codes B, N, O, Q, and S are excluded. The upgrade fare codes are A for upgrades from business to first class and C for upgrades from economy to business class. Of note, these are the same fare classes as systemwide upgrades.

But if you find an inexpensive Flagship Business ticket (these can cost as little as $499 one-way), you can redeem 650 points for a one-segment upgrade to Flagship First (where tickets can exceed $3,000 one-way).

Here are some great ways to get some exceptional value from your Business Extra points:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Boston (BOS) upgraded one-way from Flagship Business to Flagship First for 650 points (~$1,000 cash value)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Miami (MIA) upgraded one-way from Flagship Business to Flagship First for 650 points (~$2,000 cash value)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – New York (JFK) upgraded one-way from Flagship Business to Flagship First for 650 points (~$1,500 cash value)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – New York (JFK) upgraded one-way from Flagship Business to Flagship First for 650 points (~$1,500 cash value)

2. Upgrade Your Long-haul American Airlines Flights for 3,100 Points

American Airlines 787-9 Flagship Business seat. Image Credit: Stephen Au

Although not quite as stellar of a deal as upgrading transcontinental flights using Business Extra points, you can upgrade your long-haul flights using Business Extra points for excellent value, too.

Flexible travelers will find that round-trip business class airfare on American Airlines is often reasonably priced — but there are a handful of more expensive routes.

You can upgrade an economy ticket (discounted fares of B, N, O, Q, and S are ineligible) for 3,100 Business Extra points one-way. Here are some of the highest-value routes we could find:

  • Charlotte (CLT) – Rome (FCO) upgraded one-way from American Airlines economy to Flagship Business for 3,100 points (~$3,000 cash value)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT) upgraded one-way from American Airlines economy to Flagship Business for 3,100 points (~$4,000 cash value)
  • Miami (MIA) – Tel Aviv (TLV) upgraded one-way from American Airlines economy to Flagship Business for 3,100 points (~$5,500 cash value)
  • New York (JFK) – Doha (DOH) upgraded one-way from American Airlines economy to Flagship Business for 3,100 points (~$4,000 cash value)
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Athens (ATH) upgraded one-way from American Airlines economy to Flagship Business for 3,100 points (~$3,500 cash value)
  • Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) upgraded one-way from American Airlines economy to Flagship Business for 3,100 points (~$2,000 cash value)

Bottom Line: Our favorite way to redeem Business Extra points is for flight upgrades. On a per-point basis, you’ll almost always get the most value from flight upgrades on American Airlines, specifically for transcontinental Flagship routes and international long-haul flights.

3. Book Expensive Domestic Economy Class Flights Within the U.S. with No Blackout Dates for 5,000 Points

When it comes to booking flights using points, one of the biggest frustrations is the absence of award availability.

However, through the Business Extra program, you can access American Airlines’ Anytime certificates on U.S. domestic flights without blackout dates for just 5,000 points. This gets you a round-trip Anytime certificate in economy class.

Whether you’re planning your trip around ski season, the Kentucky Derby, spring break, or any other peak travel period, you can use this certificate to get awesome value.

Here are some of the most valuable routes to book:

  • El Paso (ELP) – Chicago (ORD) – Dubuque (DBQ) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 5,000 points with no blackout dates
  • Oklahoma City (OKC) – Chicago (ORD) – Marquette (MQT) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 5,000 points with no blackout dates
  • Rapid City (RAP) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Aspen (ASE) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 5,000 points with no blackout dates
  • Springfield (SPI) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Jackson Hole (JAC) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 5,000 points with no blackout dates

4. Fly From North America to the Caribbean in Economy Class for 2,400 Points

Is the Caribbean on your list? You can get excellent value for your airfare if you use a PlanAhead certificate. You’ll redeem 2,400 points for a round-trip economy class flight between North America and the Caribbean.

Although many of these itineraries involve connecting in a hub like Dallas (DFW) or Miami (MIA), you’ll get excellent value if your trip originates in smaller airports across the country. In doing so, expect to get a cash value of up to $1,500 round-trip.

Here are some ideas:

  • Denver (DEN) – Charlotte (CLT) – Samana (AZS) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 2,400 points
  • Eugene (EUG) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Montego Bay (MBJ) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 2,400 points
  • Santa Barbara (SBA) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Aruba (AUA) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 2,400 points
  • Santa Fe (SAF) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Nassau (NAS) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 2,400 points

5. Fly From North America to the Caribbean in Business Class for 4,800 Points

If you’re interested in flying business class, you can redeem 4,800 Business Extra points for a round-trip business class PlanAhead certificate.

Depending on how these are redeemed, you can get thousands of dollars in value! Here are some great example redemptions:

  • Buffalo (BUF) – Charlotte (CLT) – St. Kitts (SKB) round-trip in American Airlines business class for 4,800 points
  • Chicago (ORD) – Miami (MIA) – St. Maarten (SXM) round-trip in American Airlines business class for 4,800 points
  • Detroit (DTW) – Miami (MIA) – St. Vincent (SVD) round-trip in American Airlines business class for 4,800 points
  • Phoenix (PHX) – Miami (MIA) – Bonaire (BON) round-trip in American Airlines business class for 4,800 points

6. Fly From the Continental U.S. to Hawaii With No Blackout Dates for 7,500 Points

Hawaii is an ever-popular destination, and also has some of the highest ticket prices around — in fact, we’ve seen economy tickets in American Airlines economy go for as much as $3,000 round-trip! Save thousands of dollars on airfare by redeeming 7,500 Business Extra points for a round-trip Anytime certificate with no blackout dates in economy class.

Check out some of these great example routes to book:

  • Aspen (ASE) – Los Angeles (LAX) – Lihue (LIH) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 7,500 points with no blackout dates
  • Grand Island (GRI) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Honolulu (HNL) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 7,500 points with no blackout dates
  • Tampa (TPA) – Phoenix (PHX) – Kona (KOA) round-trip in American Airlines economy class for 7,500 points with no blackout dates

7. Fly From the Continental U.S. to Hawaii in First Class for 5,400 Points

Comfortably fly to Hawaii in American Airlines first class using your Business Extra points. Image Credit: American Airlines

You can redeem 5,400 Business Extra points to fly to Hawaii in style, though keep in mind that you’ll have to use a less-flexible PlanAhead voucher to do so. If you’re able to find availability that works for your schedule, you can get an amazing value as these tickets regularly sell for several thousand dollars.

Here are some fun routes you can book:

  • Asheville (AVL) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Kahului (OGG) round-trip in American Airlines first class for 5,400 points
  • Grand Junction (GJT) – Phoenix (PHX) – Lihue (LIH) round-trip in American Airlines first class for 5,400 points
  • Harrisburg (MDT) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Honolulu (HNL) round-trip in American Airlines first class for 5,400 points
  • Montgomery (MGM) – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Kahului (OGG) round-trip in American Airlines first class for 5,400 points

8. Fly From the U.S. to London in Flagship First for 10,000 Points

Flagship First seats feature a large entertainment screen directly ahead, offering a variety of movies and television shows. Image Credit: James Larounis

American Airlines deploys a few of its most premium aircraft on flights to London (LHR). These aircraft, the 4-class Boeing 777-300ER, boast a spacious Flagship First seat that can swivel 270 degrees!

And if you happen to find availability, you can redeem just 10,000 points for a PlanAhead certificate in first class to London. Considering that round-trip first class tickets retail for $10,000+, you can see the value proposition here.

Here are some of our favorite flights to book:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship First for 10,000 points
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship First for 10,000 points
  • New York (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship First for 10,000 points

» Related: The Ultimate Travel Guide to London – The Best Things To Do, See & Much More!

9. Fly From the U.S. to London in Flagship Business for 7,200 Points

If you don’t need first class and prefer to save some points by booking business class, we support that, too!

You can redeem 7,200 Business Extra points for a round-trip PlanAhead certificate in business class to London. These tickets usually sell for around $4,000 to $5,000 round-trip.

Here are some examples of nonstop flights you can book:

  • Boston (BOS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Charlotte (CLT) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Seattle (SEA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points

10. Fly From the U.S. to Greece in Flagship Business for 7,200 Points

Itching to go to Greece? You’re in luck — American flies nonstop to the nation’s capital, Athens.

You can redeem 7,200 Business Extra points for one of these round-trip business class certificates. Paid tickets in business class routinely sell for $8,000 to $10,000 round-trip.

Here are the nonstop routes you should be looking at:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Athens (ATH) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • New York (JFK) – Athens (ATH) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Athens (ATH) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points

11. Fly From the U.S. to Italy in Flagship Business for 7,200 Points

American Airlines operates nonstop flights to 3 airports in Italy. You can redeem 7,200 Business Extra points for a PlanAhead certificate good for a round-trip business class flight. Depending on the exact route, you can get anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000 in cash value.

Check out our favorite routes:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Rome (FCO) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Rome (FCO) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • New York (JFK) – Milan (MXP) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Rome (FCO) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Venice (VCE) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points

12. Fly From the U.S. to Spain in Flagship Business for 7,200 Points

American Airlines serves 2 of the largest airports in Spain — Barcelona (BCN) and Madrid (MAD) — with nonstop flights from the U.S.

You can redeem 7,200 Business Extra points for a round-trip business class PlanAhead certificate, and these tickets typically go for around $3,000 to $5,000 in cash.

Here are some of the routes you can book:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Barcelona (BCN) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Madrid (MAD) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Miami (MIA) – Barcelona (BCN) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • New York (JFK) – Barcelona (BCN) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • New York (JFK) – Madrid (MAD) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Barcelona (BCN) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Madrid (MAD) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points

13. Book Last-Minute Flagship Business Flights to Europe for 18,000 Points

Business class tickets booked very close to departure can be astronomically expensive, but if you have Business Extra points, you can redeem 18,000 of them for an Anytime certificate for a round-trip flight.

As a reminder, there are no blackout dates with these certificates, which is very useful for business travelers. Here are some example routes you can book using this certificate:

  • Charlotte (CLT) – Frankfurt (FRA) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 18,000 points with no blackout dates
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Dublin (DUB) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 18,000 points with no blackout dates
  • Miami (MIA) – Paris (CDG) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 18,000 points with no blackout dates
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Zurich (ZRH) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 18,000 points with no blackout dates

14. Fly From the U.S. to Tokyo in Flagship Business for 7,200 Points

You can cash in 7,200 Business Extra points for a round-trip PlanAhead certificate for a round-trip business class flight to Tokyo, Japan. Note, however, that American is currently offering a reduced schedule of flights to the Japanese capital due to ongoing travel restrictions in the country.

You can expect to see prices of about $4,000 to $6,000 on this route if you were to pay cash.

Here are some of our favorite routes to book:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points

15. Fly From the U.S. to South Korea in Flagship Business for 7,200 Points

Redeem 7,200 Business Extra points for a PlanAhead certificate valid for a round-trip business class ticket on American Airlines’ lone route to South Korea (at least for now). Paid flights on this route usually sell for about $6,500 to $7,000 round-trip.

Here’s what you can book:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Seoul-Incheon (ICN) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 7,200 points

16. Book Flexible Flagship Business Airfare From the U.S. to Australia and New Zealand for 18,000 Points

Award availability on American Airlines to Australia and New Zealand at the Saver level is almost impossible to find. For this reason, having a PlanAhead certificate is almost useless.

That’s why we recommend redeeming 18,000 Business Extra points for a round-trip business class Anytime certificate, which has no blackout dates.

This could be a huge money saver because paid business class flights on these routes can cost upwards of $15,000 round-trip.

Here are 2 of the best routes to use these certificates on:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Auckland (AKL) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 18,000 points with no blackout dates
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD) round-trip in American Airlines Flagship Business for 18,000 points with no blackout dates

17. Book British Airways First Class From the U.S. to London for 20,000 Points

British Airways first class. Image Credit: British Airways

British Airways and American Airlines, despite being close partners, vie for market share in the very competitive U.S.-U.K. travel corridor.

In general, though, British Airways edges out American Airlines for its first class product, making it a good idea to choose BA first class over AA first class when given the choice.

The other added benefit of British Airways is that it connects London with many more cities than American does, understandable given its position as the flag carrier of the U.K.

For 20,000 Business Extra points, you can get a partner award certificate for round-trip first class between the U.S. and Europe with British Airways. Keep in mind that these first class tickets routinely sell for more than $10,000 round-trip.

Here are some of our favorite flights to book with this:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in British Airways first class for 20,000 points
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in British Airways first class for 20,000 points
  • San Francisco (SFO) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in British Airways first class for 20,000 points

18. Book British Airways First Class From the U.S. to the Maldives for 37,000 Points

If you were interested in flying British Airways beyond the U.S., why not fly to the Maldives with a short layover in London? For 37,000 Business Extra points, you could fly in first class luxury for 20+ hours to one of the world’s most exclusive destinations. And, it represents an exceptional value, given that these tickets routinely sell for up to $20,000 round-trip.

Here are a few routes that are on our minds:

  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) – Malé (MLE) round-trip in British Airways first class for 37,000 points
  • Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) – Malé (MLE) round-trip in British Airways first class for 37,000 points
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) – Malé (MLE) round-trip in British Airways first class for 37,000 points

19. Book British Airways First Class From London to the Middle East for 17,000 Points

The last British Airways redemption we’ll discuss is for travel between London and the Middle East. Despite flights being around 6 to 8 hours in duration, these flights can easily cost several thousand dollars.

For this reason, we love the idea of redeeming 17,000 points for a partner British Airways award between London and the Middle East, good for round-trip first class travel.

Here are some great example routes to book:

  • London-Heathrow (LHR) – Bahrain (BAH) round-trip in British Airways first class for 17,000 points
  • London-Heathrow (LHR) – Kuwait City (KWI) round-trip in British Airways first class for 17,000 points
  • London-Heathrow (LHR) – Riyadh (RUH) round-trip in British Airways first class for 17,000 points

Hot Tip: Iberia often sells discounted economy and business class tickets, which can reduce the value proposition of redeeming Business Extra points for flights on the Spanish flag carrier.

20. Book Japan Airlines Business Class From the U.S. to Japan for 18,000 Points

Pick a window seat to have the best business class experience on Japan Airlines. Image Credit: Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines is another airline that offers a well-rounded experience bookable with Business Extra points.

In particular, we like redeeming Business Extra points on Japan Airlines because nonstop business class flights on the Oneworld airline can be pricey, while partner-level availability can be plentiful.

With such an attractive value proposition, we encourage you to explore the idea of getting a round-trip business class certificate for travel on Japan Airlines by redeeming 18,000 points. You’ll get a cash value of $6,000 to $10,000 on a round-trip ticket.

Here are example routes to think about:

  • Boston (BOS) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT) round-trip in Japan Airlines business class for 18,000 points
  • Chicago (ORD) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND) round-trip in Japan Airlines business class for 18,000 points
  • New York (JFK) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND) round-trip in Japan Airlines business class for 18,000 points

21. Book Japan Airlines Business Class Between Japan and Europe for 18,000 Points

Japan Airlines flights between Japan and Europe are also very expensive. These flights are generally limited to international gateways, but getting one of these flights means 10 to 12 hours of comfort in the sky.

You can redeem 18,000 Business Extra points for a round-trip partner award on Japan Airlines in business class. Some of these tickets retail for up to $8,000 round-trip!

Here are some example routes:

  • Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – London-Heathrow (LHR) round-trip in Japan Airlines business class for 18,000 points
  • Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – Paris (CDG) round-trip in Japan Airlines business class for 18,000 points

22. Book Japan Airlines Business Class Between India and Japan for 11,000 Points

The last redemption option we’ll discuss is for regional flights between Japan and India on Japan Airlines business class.

Because these flights are still considered long-haul despite staying wholly within Asia, you can get solid value from your Business Extra points.

Specifically, you can redeem 11,000 points for a round-trip certificate in business class for travel between Japan and the rest of Asia. Because these fares can run anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 round-trip, you can get some great value.

Here are Japan Airlines’ nonstop routes to/from India:

  • Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – New Delhi (DEL) round-trip in Japan Airlines business class for 11,000 points
  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Bengaluru (BLR) round-trip in Japan Airlines business class for 11,000 points

Final Thoughts

Overall, there’s plenty to like about the American Airlines Business Extra program. The earning structure is an especially transparent and simplified aspect of the program.

For the vast majority of instances, you will earn 1 point per $5 spent on flight revenue — it’s as simple as that!

One of the best features of Business Extra is that you can easily redeem points for upgrade certificates and even flights on partner airlines.

But perhaps the best part (especially for business owners) is that you can redeem points for flight certificates with no blackout dates. Sure, these are more expensive, but they are incredibly useful if you have less flexibility.

Our favorite ways to use Business Extra points include transcontinental flight upgrades, long-haul flight upgrades, flexible U.S. domestic certificates, and more.

You can also redeem points for partner award certificates on British Airways, Iberia, and Japan Airlines, but these are a bit more expensive than similar flight certificates for travel on American Airlines.

There’s a lot to love about American Airlines Business Extra, and if you’re a business owner, you don’t want to overlook this valuable program.


The information regarding the American Express® / Business Extra® Corporate Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

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