50% bonus when you buy American Airlines miles (and AA redemption ‘sweet spots’)

It’s back again!

American Airlines is offering a 50% bonus when you buy miles. The deal is valid until 28th February.

I am not an expert on buying AA miles, but View from the Wing rates this as about as good a deal as you ever see for buying AAdvantage miles.

The link to buy is here (click on the AA logo on that page).

American Airlines

The best value comes when you buy 60,000 miles (the annual cap for buying AA miles) to receive 30,000 for free. That is 90,000 miles for $1,685 including the fee, or 1.19p each.

Even taking into account AA’s low taxes (business class London to New York is £177 of taxes compared to £520 with BA), it still isn’t worth buying all the miles you need for a redemption at this price. It is not a bad price if you need to top-off an account, though.

The ‘sweet spots’ for AA redemptions for a UK resident are the Middle East and India, where business class (flying on a BA plane) is 60,000 miles return vs 80,000 using Avios. First Class is 80,000 AA miles versus 120,000 Avios. You still pay the same taxes as BA would charge, though.

AA is also partners with Etihad which offers you an alternative route to the region via Abu Dhabi.  You will pay under £200 in taxes for Heathrow to Abu Dhabi in Business for First (about £250 less than BA) and the onboard product is meant to be excellent. It is only a short drive from Abu Dhabi airport to Dubai as well.

Other decent deals are UK-US if you fly on an American plane, as you won’t pay any fuel surcharges.  (Unlike using Avios, where booking onto transatlantic AA flights requires the same taxes as an identical BA flight.)

Cape Town is also interesting, since AA does not charge by segment, unlike BA.  Flying to Cape Town on BA using Avios usually means flying to Johannesburg and using more Avios for a Jo’burg – Cape Town connection (30,000 return in Club Europe).  Using AA miles, the Jo’burg – Cape Town connection is included for free.

With Malaysia Airlines joining oneworld last week, it will also be interesting to see what fuel surcharges AA decides to add to Malaysian flights out of the UK and Europe.  Initial feedback on Flyertalk (you cannot book Malaysia online with AA miles, so I am reliant of what other people have booked via the telephone) is that there is NO fuel surcharge.  This means that Malaysia Airlines reward flights from London to Kuala Lumpur should be about £250 cheaper using AA miles, and almost tax-free if you fly out of Amsterdam.

(PS.  Note the newly launched American Airlines livery in the picture above!)

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Comments

  1. I may have noticed an interesting loophole – do fliers with UK AAdvantage accounts pay less fees for miles purchases? For a US AAdvantage member the base price for 60k + 30k miles is $1,650 rising to $1,808.75 with taxes and fees. If the UK flier gets it all in for $1,685 it may be worth mahing a ‘short move’ across the pond :-)

  2. If you fly Etihad to AUH, there is a free shuttle bus to Dubai for Biz Class passengers, just show your boarding pass to use it see more here http://www.etihadairways.com/sites/Etihad/ke/en/experienceetihad/attheairport/Pages/Coaches.aspx

  3. Is there a Household account equivalent for AA?

    • Don’t think so. But they allow one way redemptions so you can buy miles in another name and then book for yourself, using your own miles to buy the other half of a ticket.

  4. onlysuites says:

    I have flown EY to AUH 7-8 times now and always get a complimentary drop off and pick up in a limousine for free. Even been dropped off 190 miles from LHR on the way back. This was on a AA award.

    BTW is there any way to get AA to bill us in GBP? I wanna avoid the 3% Gold amex charges.

    For a £1000 foreign spend on airlines will we get 3,000k miles back?

    • points.com only works in US$ as far as I know. It will go through your statement as points.com and not American Airlines, so you won’t get the travel bonus – just the foreign spend bonus.

  5. Just a datapoint: I set up a ‘dummy’ AA account at americanairlines.co.uk using a UK address and uk phone number and then attempted to buy the points…the price was the same as for a US account ($1,808). Not sure if the site is reading my IP address and therefore adding the taxes but it’s worth double checking when you’re buying the miles because the final cost isn’t that obvious on the screen.