I vowed then never to fly American again. Quite frankly, I can see no reason why I should change my mind at this point. No wonder some rate it as the second-worst airline in the country! What a shame the name "American" is attached to such a third-rate, third-world operation.
UPDATE: This site has "tips" on how to redeem miles. Some airlines let you redeem miles for merchandise, but it is rarely a good deal. Other sites have less helpful advice, but illustrate how fees (and fuel surcharges!) can make a "free" flight cost $50 to $100 or more.
Trying to "win" at their game by learning all the rules and "playing" is just a waste of your time. It is like trying to "win" by learning all the esoteric rules of cruise ships. You are the fool to play their game, period.
AIRLINE MILES SUCK! But then again, so does flying. My next trip to Europe will be by ship!