Earlier I wrote a post on American Airlines routing rules that did not deal with the Maximum Permitted Mileage (MPM) and instead dealt with the other aspects of their routing rules. But MPM limits are still an integral part of AA’s routing rules, and so I wanted to go over the basics.
How the MPM works
MPM, the Maximum Permitted Mileage, is exactly what it sounds like. Each route has a set number of miles it can fly. This (along with some region limits) is what prevents you from routing through Africa on the way to Panama. This is part of the rules.
Each route has a different limit.
For example, a flight from LA to Lima, Peru can be a total of 5,017 flown miles. Direct (LAX-LIM) the flight would be 4,167 flown miles. This means you have plenty of wiggle room to route through Dallas, or even Miami, in order to make the award work. But a route from LA to Sydney is allowed 8,994 miles.
Each route gets its own mileage limit. But the odd thing is that AA allows you to redeem flights that are 25% over that set limit, the MPM. Therefore we say, AA allows the MPM + 25%.
And so you’ll find that your flight from LA to Lima is not really an allowed 4,167 flown miles, but 4,167 plus another 25%. So you could actually fly 5,208 miles to get from LA to Lima.
How to find the MPM
The easiest way to find the MPM is to create a free trial on ExpertFlyer (only if it’s your first time though) and use ExpertFlyer to find the MPM for you.
1) Login to Expert Flyer
2) Click “Travel Information”
3) Click “Maximum Permitted Mileage”
4) Put in your travel info
As you can see I put the route in the first box, “LAX-LIM”, and in the second AA.
The first MPM number you’ll see is “5,017”, which is indeed the official MPM. But the one more relevant, is the one in the top right that says “6,271”, which is the extra 25% added in for you.
And for an award flight, that is your actual MPM, right there.
How to find legal flights
How to find flights is another story with a lot packed in.
1) How to find flight ideas. And like I always say, I like to get a basic idea using the OneWorld route map.
2) More importantly, what is legal? This has two parts. Before checking the MPM you need to check the regions which are combinable (which I talk about in this post).
But without a doubt, for the best looking chart for quickly figuring out what regions you can transit in, check out this post by OMAAT.
3) Then check the MPM. I’ve already talked about finding the mileage limit, but then put it to work by testing ideas with GCmap.com.
4) Find availability. Unfortunately AA doesn’t actually search all OneWorld flights, so you can try a number of other sources, like BA, Qantas, and ExpertFlyer.
See the Master Chart of Websites That Search Award Availability to see what sites search for OneWorld award space.
More Advanced Rules
Gary Leff has a complete grasp on the AA rules that include a few things that I have not. If you’re serious in learning AA rules also check out: The Ultimate Guide to Constructing an International Award Ticket Using American Miles (plus this update post).
At the end of the day, I’d never actually recommend paying for ExpertFlyer for simple things like looking up MPM or award search. But when the time comes to route a slightly more complicated ticket and you need to quickly verify that it’s legal before calling and all that… now you know how. It’s really not that complicated of a program and since they’ve taken away stopovers, they’ve sucked a lot of joy from the redeeming side. But still, they continue to give me tons of miles and continue to have the best award prices.
Long live the current AA award chart!