American Airlines is again offering a bonus of up to 30% when you buy miles. The deal is valid until 15th November.
It is worth saying up front that this deal is nowhere near as good as the 50% bonus offer that we saw earlier in the year.
The best value comes when you buy 50,000 miles to receive 15,000 for free. That is 65,000 miles for $1,410 including the fee, or 1.34p each.
It probably isn’t worth buying all the miles you need for a redemption at this price – although some of the Etihad deals are tempting. It is an OK price if you need to top-off an account, though – possibly to top-off the 35,000 AA miles you received from the AA credit card deal earlier in the year.
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 or 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 (70 minutes) and you get a free transfer included in your Business or First Class ticket. You will also get a free chauffeur to Heathrow.
Australia is also an amazing bargain. You need 300,000 Avios to fly First Class to Australia via British Airways Executive Club. Using American Airlines miles, you only need 160,000!
There are also great deals to Hawaii. AA treats this as part of America (which of course it is!) and so London to Hawaii in Business Class is only 100,000 AA miles.
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.
How to earn American Airlines miles from UK credit cards (October 2022)
American Airlines no longer has its own UK credit card.
There is, however, still a way to earn American Airlines miles from a UK credit card.
The 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.
EDIT: Until 8th November 2022, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 points!
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.