American Airlines is at it again, offering a bonus when you purchase their miles. This deal offers a bonus of up to 30% and is valid until July 31st.
Whilst not as generous as the deal they ran in April, the fall in the value of the $ since then means that you price you pay is roughly the same.
The offers looks like this:
Buy 16,000 – 20,000 miles – get a 2,000 mile bonus
Buy 21,000 – 30,000 miles – get a 4,000 mile bonus
Buy 31,000 – 40,000 miles – get a 7,000 mile bonus
Buy 41,000 – 54,000 miles – get a 10,000 mile bonus
Buy 55,000+ miles – get a 16,500 mile bonus
The best value comes when you buy exactly 55,000 miles to receive 16,500 for free. That is the ONLY way to get a ‘30% bonus’. You would be getting 71,500 miles for $1,661 including fees and taxes, or 1.35p each.
It 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.
American Airlines ‘sweet spots’
I wrote the following in earlier posts on buying American Airlines miles, but it is worth repeating.
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 (60 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 return for First or 120,000 return for Business.
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.