I'm planning a trip for September 2013 and have never attempted to use miles for an international award redemption. I've been reading up on the interwebs, but still not sure the best way to approach using my stock of AA miles (~450k). I have some miles/points in other programs that I could potentially transfer and bundle with another alliance if that would open up better redemption opportunities (Delta: 60k, USAir: 50k, Starwood: 250k, Chase UR: 200k, Amex MR: 275k). But since this is the AA forum let's focus there. Dates are flexible, but looking at about a total of 10 days for the trip in September 2013. LAX is my home airport. Will probably be in Rome, Florence and/or Amalfi. Fine departing out of different airports in Italy if that's better. I'd like to fly good premium class products (it's my 10th anniversary). I'd like to minimize fuel surcharges if possible. I'd like to minimize the number of connections if possible. I've searched AA but feel like I come up with minimal options (and lots of BA fuel surcharges, although their premium product seems better than AA's, so I need to weigh the cost benefit there.) Any suggestions on how to approach this? Are certain US departure cities better than others?