Advice for US to Philippines?


Level 2 Member
I'm a little unclear on the best way to use AA miles to get to from STL to the Philippines. Can anybody give me a few quick pointers?

I know that I can't do it directly thru the AA website. I did create a Japan Air login, and can see that they have availability from Chicago to Toyko -- and I know that they also fly into Manilia. But I'm also seeing several hundred dollars in fees. I also heard that I should look at Cathay Pacific as well.

Any pointers would be much appreciated!


Staff member
If you haven't memorized the alliance route map, I recommend using a OTA as the first step. I use Kayak (for no good reason) and it shows me routes that will get me where I want to go.

Once I have the routes, I will search out award space. For StarAlliance I like to use, just from habit. For Oneworld, I tend to use, but there are times when other sites are better, can be handy when looking for OW partners- however, sometimes everything just craps out...

The good news is, by searching Kayak first I know the routes (rather obvious but..) Cathay via HGK, JAL via NRT... so I can then start looking at single legs of the journey - sometimes that works better than asking for 3.

For example, Nov 1 shows no space on for STL-Manila, but I think that is more a case of the award booking engine struggling to put together 3 flights, over 2 days. If you instead look at them as separate legs (that you got from Kayak et al) you can find space, note the flight numbers and times, and call it in.

Ask them to waive the fees because you tried to book online but the website wasn't able to complete the transaction.

This is all from, but it says no availability if you search STL-MNL




This is very similar to what you need to do when booking multicity on find each leg, see the space, and book it by calling it in.

The Kayak step is key for me in being able to map out the various route options that I might have.


Level 2 Member
Cathay Pacific (CX) and Japan Airlines (JL) are your best bets with AA miles to the Phils. CX usually has lots of availability on the HKG-MNL route (and I think they fly to Cebu nowadays also). The hardest portion of your trip to get is the Trans-Pacific part (TPAC).

The British Airways (BA) site has a hard time, as Matt says, with 3 segments; or generally with adding a US domestic segment onto an international segment in my opinion. I fly out of BOI and SLC a lot, so I always have to do that connection first, and BA can never see it. So this is how I'd do it:

1. Search for CX or JL gateways to Manila (i.e. LAX-MNL). Find some available flights on dates that work for you. I'd try from LAX, from ORD, and from DFW. If you can't find anything from there, maybe post back here and someone can help you think of the less obvious connecting points and how to book it, like Japan Airlines flights out of San Diego. You might find flights offered completely on Cathay or Japan Airlines, or you might find it offers you an American Airlines flight across the ocean and connecting to CX/JL for the last leg. An example you might see on is LAX-NRT on AA and NRT-MNL on Japan Airlines.

2. Then search the domestic leg on (i.e. STL-LAX) and try to pair up the dates/layovers.

3. Repeat for return, doing the TPAC flight first, then looking for a connecting flight on

Of note, if you're looking for business or first class seats, Cathay has much more availability close to departure, if you're able to do that sort of thing. There is a long and good thread on FT (that other forum) about this.
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Level 2 Member
Thank you @Maverick17 . I'm going to have to brush up on my Acronyms! :) I think I do a decent job of acquiring miles - I'm just not that great at using them effectively (and creatively) like you guys are. This is a great help!


Level 2 Member
Hi @penncomm , I simplified it a bit just now, hope that helps. If you can't find what you want after awhile of searching, let us know and I'm sure someone can give you some more tips.