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).
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.
How to earn American Airlines miles from UK credit cards (January 2021)
American Airlines no longer has its own UK credit card.
There are, however, still ways of earning American Airlines miles from UK credit cards.
The best route is via Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty points convert to American Airlines miles at the rate of 3:1. You receive an additional 5,000 miles bonus if you convert 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at once.
The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is via the official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. It comes with 20,000 points for signing up and 2 points for every £1 you spend.
At 2 Bonvoy points per £1, you are earning (at 3:1) 0.66 American Airlines miles per £1 spent on the card. This will increase to 0.83 AA miles per £1 if you convert Bonvoy points in chunks of 60,000 points.
You can apply here.