American Airlines is running another ‘buy miles’ promotion until the end of the month.
The maximum bonus is 50% albeit you need to buy 70,000 for that to kick in.
American is offering a staggered bonus based on how many miles you buy:
- 1,000 bonus when you buy 5,000 – 14,000
- 5,000 bonus when you buy 15,000 – 24,000
- 10,000 bonus when you buy 25,000 – 49,000
- 22,500 bonus when you buy 50,000 – 69,000
- 35,000 bonus when you buy 70,000 – 100,000
The latter is the best deal albeit at a scary $2,250 for 70,000 + 35,000. This includes the 7.4% tax and $30 ‘processing fee’ which is not actually shown in the prices they quote. That would work out at 2.1c per mile.
You cannot open a new account to take advantage of this deal as AA accounts must be 14 days old. The deal ends on January 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 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. You cannot use Etihad or Qatar, however, as American routing rules do not allow a transit in the Middle East when flying from Europe to Australia.
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.
Note that NO stopovers are allowed on American redemptions.
It is worth noting that there is a widespread belief that American will increase its reward prices when the merger with US Airways is fully complete. It is now a lot cheaper than its US competitors for partner awards,