Destinations The Basics

A Fantastic Award – That Is Not Bookable

In trying to get the best possible value from my AA miles, here is what would make a fantastic award – except it is not bookable.

As I wrote yesterday, I am trying to burn some last minute AA miles before the devaluation. I had some ideas of what I wanted to obtain with them and they include a really great place to run/explore mixed with an excellent award redemption (great value, nice cabin, etc).

A Fantastic Award – That Is Not Bookable

Award Sweet Spots

One of the great regions for award travel under the current AA chart is the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent. It gives some great pricing on premium cabin awards to both Europe (30,000 for business, 40,000 for first) and the South Pacific (45,000 for business, 60,000 for first). That is made even better because some of the best carriers for top business/first products are the carriers that are based in the Middle East.

Destination: Easter Island

One spot that had always been on my list to visit is Easter Island. There have been some amazing sale fares over the years to there from the US but they were never at convenient times for me. So, it remains on my “someday” list.

Where Is It?

fantastic award

Easter Island is way out away from everything.

The interesting thing about Easter Island is where it is located on the map. It is actually a Chilean territory but American Airlines has seen fit to categorize it under South Pacific instead of South America region 2. It is kind of one of those little islands that is really in the middle of nowhere so that is understandable.

Using Miles

fantastic award

The amount of miles (hypothetically) for the Middle East to Easter Island in business class

The difference, however, is huge when it comes to using AA miles for travel to Easter Island. It is served (almost – not Tuesdays)daily by LAN from Santiago, Chile on what is a 2,300 mile flight (a 6 hour flight). This route costs a little over $300 for a one way to island. If you use British Airways Avios, it will cost you 12,500 Avios for a coach ticket there but 37,500 AA miles for that same ticket. That is because of the regional classification AA has given Easter Island.

On the other hand, by placing it in the South Pacific, it does give a fantastic opportunity to use AA miles to get there from the Middle East for only 45,000 miles one way in business! That means traveling from Dubai (on Qantas), Abu Dhabi (on Etihad) or Doha (on Qatar) to Australia/New Zealand and then hopping another flight to Pape’ete  for the once-a-week LAN flight on Tuesdays to Easter Island.

An Incredible Award Opportunity

fantastic award

Map generated by GCMap | Copyright © 1996-2016 Karl L. Swartz

That would be an incredible award redemption – around 14,000 miles through 3 cities (and countries) en route to this beautiful little island in the pacific – Easter Island. All that, in business, for only 45,000 miles one way.

Except, it cannot be booked. For one thing, award availability on the PPT-Easter Island route is non-existent (though I have heard it pops up on rare instances). Not only that, but according to AA’s award routing rules, you cannot transit a third region on an award. That means no flying to South America to catch the flight to Easter Island (which also does not show award availability) from the Middle East as you would need to transit two regions just to get to Easter Island – and that is not counting your originating or final region! For another thing, it has to be a published route – which does not exist.

So, it remains an award to just look at and imagine as an incredible redemption – but not one that can be booked. Have you ever booked it? I would be so glad to be told I am wrong and that it is bookable!

Have you found similar awards that line up with a chart but are not bookable?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Isn’t it super difficult if not impossible to book the Santiago to Easter Island leg via British Avios points? I’ve searched manyyyyyyyy dates and I never see availability! I swear it’s like they just blocked it from being bookable with BA points because in the past it was very doable and availability was pretty good.

    • Yes, I have been searching on that route as well and have not seen anything. You are right, it used to be good so I am not sure what happened. Course, that route is the definition of a exclusive route so I guess they really don’t have to open it up!

      • Ditto! Easter Island is on my “someday” list as well, might just have to suck it up and pay for a cash ticket in the end, but that goes against my travel-hacking ethics! lol

          • Will do Charlie! It might be a while before I head down to South America. Trying to book all these trips before the looming AA deval, I managed to get a seat on Cathay First for my Asia in November, so excited to try that out!

          • That is awesome! The last one I took was a few years ago so trying to incorporate one note before the deval. I have a Etihad and Qantas first booked on their A380s but would still like to land a CX First again. Enjoy!

    • definitely not easy. I kept a keen eye on it everyday when I was looking to go there a week before xmas 2 years ago. They did not have any economy from SCL>IPC so I had to book a RT business ticket. 100,000 AA, which hurt, but that was during the glory days of AA handing out 100K bonuses for the exec platinum.

  • I was on the Etihad A380 going to Abu Dhabi before the New Year’s (celebrated New Year’s in Dubai, I was in front of the hotel fire! It was bananas!!), it’s an amazing airline, I loved every minute of it, I just couldn’t sleep on the plane, I’ve always had trouble sleeping on planes, even if there’s a fully flat bed!

    WOW, you’re so lucky you nabbed a Qantas First seat!! I saw one available from DFW to SYD on Dec 5th and I kept staring at it for over a week wondering if I should book it, but I couldn’t take another vacay after getting back from a vacay, that seat has since been taken 🙁

      • We were sitting on the floor waiting for the fireworks to come from the Burj Khalifa, it was around 9PM. Then sometime around 9:30PM we noticed these bright orange flurries coming from the sides of the hotel, and then it got bigger and bigger, and that’s when we could see the fire, so everyone started taking their phones out and recording videos, taking selfies (seriously, I guess a hotel-fire-selfie was a thing for a hot second), eventually all of us sitting down were slowly getting up and moving out of the way so these firetrucks could come through. I’m not knocking the Abu Dhabi Fire department but the fire trucks got to the scene and they raised the guy up on one of those lift things from the fire truck and he was just standing there looking at the fire, not even attempting to put the fire out, for a good hour! The fire raged on even up until midnight, we were wondering if they were going to stop the fireworks display but I guess in Dubai the show must go on! And so it did, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1….HAPPY NEW YEARRR *fireworks everywhere*”, so we had a hotel burning madly on the left and a fireworks show on the right, it was hilariously frightening and sad at the same time, we didn’t know which one to focus on. That hotel got burnt to a crispppp. The next day we actually bumped into someone who lived in the Burj Khalifa (cha-ching! $$$) and he happened to be in the Address Hotel that caught on fire and he said there was no warning or anything – the sprinkler system didn’t go off, the fire alarm didn’t go off, he didn’t know the hotel was on fire until he stepped out onto the balcony and heard all the commotion and actually felt the heat from the flames, that’s when he had the “oh sh**..” moment and got the eff outta the building!

        • That is amazing! Unbelievable and certainly something you will remember for a long time. I can’t believe the alarms did not go off. That is just crazy!

    • Of course, you are right! And I knew that but something disconnected between my brain and the keyboard. 🙂 thanks for catching it!