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12 months interest-free credit on British Airways flights !

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I have run a few posts recently about the 35,000 mile sign-up bonus on the American Airlines credit cards, issued by MBNA.

This is great deal – as long as you can make the £5,000 spending target within six months.  This is an example of where 35,000 AA miles can take you.

When I wrote my original post, I mentioned that MBNA offers 12 months interest free credit on American Airlines flights booked via aa.com and charged to the card. 

American Airlines

Reader Neil dropped me a line to say that, looking at his initial American Airlines credit card statement, 0% interest free credit applies to ANY flights booked via the aa.com website.  As all British Airways flights are bookable via aa.com, this effectively means that you can get 12 months free credit on BA bookings.

There are three things remember if you want to try this:

First, you would get double Avios points if you pay with a British Airways Premium Plus Amex for your BA flights.  You might find the double Avios more valuable than 18 months interest free credit.

Secondly, if you have an American Express Platinum charge card, remember that you need to pay for your flights with an Amex-issued Amex card to be covered under some parts of their travel insurance.  As the AA cards are issued by MBNA, you would not be covered.

Thirdly, if you decide to use your AA card for interest-free BA spending, you should stop using it for general spending.  This is because – rather sneakily – MBNA charges interest on all new purchase whether or not you settle your bill at the end of the month if you carry forward a balance.  For example, if you carry over £1,000 of aa.com spending and spend another £200 during the next month, you will be charged interest on that £200 even if you clear the bill at the month end.

That said, if you can work around the points above, this is another good reason to get the AA card before the 35,000 mile bonus is withdrawn at the end of May.

Comments (33)

  • Neil says:

    It was me that mentioned this to Raffles and I should point out that I didn’t make my booking through aa.com but on the normal BA website. The amount still came up with the 0% rate and with the same promotional code as flights booked with AA – JKDMVNFGG.

    • Rob says:

      Ah, OK! Didn’t know that. Ironically, though, someone else I know told me that he had also done a BA booking on the AA site and got it at 0%!

  • Ben E says:

    Just applied and want to check: I don’t already have an AA acct – assume they’ll create one for me?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, they will. However, you may end up calling MBNA and mucking about for ages trying to find the number! If I were you, I would open one now at aa.com – at least then you know the number and password.

  • Manvivant says:

    I have read previously about buying refundable flights using the interest free credit to meet the spending thresholds. Bar making sure you don’t set a direct debit to pay off the amount automatically, are there any other things to watch out for when doing this? I seem to recall people mentioning a negative points balance arising but I’m not 100% clear on what that means. If anyone is able to explain the negative points balance point that would be great!

    • Rob says:

      When you refund the flight, the base points for the flight will be taken away from your card account balance.

      Take the AA card. If you refund a £5,000 flight on the Visa, your MBNA account will show you have ‘- 3,750 miles’ to transfer across. However, MBNA will NOT take these miles out of your AA account. Your MBNA account will simply run a negative milage balance until you have spent enough to wipe out the 3,750 mile deficit.

      The other obvious point is to be 120% sure that you are booking a refundable flight. Check every bit of the terms and conditions before buying. With BA, it is easy as the original booking screen has a ‘refundable fares’ drop down box.

      • Alan says:

        Hmm – are you 100% sure about this, Raffles? Reason I ask is with my United card (also from MBNA) they did just that!

        I had a Shell transaction of just over £50 – received the miles. However the 4sq credit was slow to appear and ended up on the next statement. I had no other transactions that month and then noticed my United statement showed the following:

        03/27/2013 MBNA CC Purchase 51
        04/23/2013 MBNA CC Purchase (15)

        (with my balance going down by 15 points in-keeping with this)

        I’m happy enough in that I only paid 36 in the end so it’s appropriately I only receive that number of points but thought it might be an interesting datapoint…

      • Manvivant says:

        Many thanks, Raffles.

        Just so I’m clear. If you refund the flight prior to redeeming the 35,000 miles (based on your figures above) you would be left with 31,250. If you were to cancel after you had redeemed the 35,000 then you would be left with 3,750 miles to gain before you reached zero (and could then start earning and spending again). Quite new to the world of points/miles etc. but thought this looked like a good way to build up some points! Your blog is a fantastic resource that’s for sure.

        • Rob says:

          No, not in the sense you use the word ‘redeem’.

          Your 35k will already have gone to AA, assuming you do not do the refund until the next statement period. MBNA probably cannot touch those. The refund does not impact them.

          MBNA simply creates a negative miles balance internally and will not any more to AA until you have earned more than 3,750.

          (However, see Alan’s experience with the United card, where miles WERE deducted. With the BMI card, though, MBNA never did remove miles when your monthly total was negative. So the AA card could go either way!)

  • jason says:

    Anyone got their 35K signing up bonus yet?