US Airways and American new ‘buy miles ‘ deals (and AA redemption ‘sweet spots’)

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Both US Airways and American Airlines are running ‘buy miles’ promotions at the moment.  I am mentioning both in one post because AA and US have now merged and the two frequent flyer programmes will be combined during Spring 2015.

You can access both of the ‘buy miles’ deals through the portal site – click here and scroll down to the American or US logos and click through.

AA buy miles

The American and US deal are identically priced and offer a staggered bonus based on how many miles you buy:

  • 3,000 bonus when you buy 10,000 – 19,000
  • 6,000 bonus when you buy 20,000 – 29,000
  • 10,000 bonus when you buy 30,000 – 39,000
  • 15,000 bonus when you buy 40,000 – 49,000
  • 20,000 bonus when you buy 50,000 – 59,000
  • 30,000 bonus when you buy 60,000 – 69,000
  • 35,000 bonus when you buy 70,000 – 79,000
  • 45,000 bonus when you buy 80,000

The latter is the best deal albeit at a scary $2,572.  That would work out at almost exactly 2c per mile.

You cannot open a new account to take advantage of this deal as AA accounts must be 14 days old and US accounts must be 12 days before you can buy.  Both deals end on November 30th.

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 just £200 in taxes for Heathrow to Abu Dhabi in Business or First (about £325 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.)

As a priced example, 60,000 AA miles would cost you $1,462 under this promotion.  Add on £200 of tax and you get an Etihad business class return to Abu Dhabi for £1,130.

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 or US Airways 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.

It is worth noting that, once the AA and US frequent flyers schemes are merged, there may be some ‘adjustment’ of these prices.  Only buy miles if you feel that you can use them in the short term.

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  1. The lack of stopovers can be annoying, but creative routings are possible. I booked MAD-LHR / overnight in London / LHR-HND / 0720-2030 in Tokyo / NRT-SYD / 0710-1845 in Sydney / SYD-CHC in J for 60k miles + £250.

    Coming back is CHC-SYD-MEL-LHR in J/F for 80k + just £17!

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