Bits: cheapest ever American Airlines ‘buy miles’ deal, Melia sale – Manchester from £41

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News in brief:

American Airlines selling AA miles for possibly the cheapest price ever

American Airlines recently announced a major devaluation of its AAdvantage programme from March 2016.

What better time to launch the heaviest discounts on buying American Airlines miles that I can remember!

If you can get something booked before the devaluation kicks in on 22nd March then you could snag a good deal here.  AA has even raised the maximum amount of miles you can buy, pre bonus, to 150,000.

You could buy, from scratch, enough miles – 80,000 each – for two people to fly the amazing (review tomorrow) Etihad A380 First Class Apartment from London to Abu Dhabi for $3,200 including sales tax.  With tax, mainly APD and Heathrow charges, you’d be paying around £1,375 each return.

Note, though, that AA accounts need to be 30 days old before you can buy miles – you cannot open from scratch and jump in.

I ran through some of the ‘sweet spots’ for using AA miles in this article.  However, you need to read up on the forthcoming devaluation here and make sure you would be able to make your booking before this kicks in.

The link to buy AA miles is here.  The promotion ends on 4th January.

(EDIT:  I forgot the sales tax in the original version of this article.  I have now corrected it.)

American AA 350

Melia Hotels launches Winter sale

Melia Hotels has launched its Winter sale with discounts of up to 45%.  You need to book by 31st January for stays by 31st March.

The special sale website is here.

Melia is also selling points at a big discount at the moment if you need to top up your account.  Full details are in this article.

PS.  If you need to go to Manchester in January, Melia’s INNSIDE Manchester hotel which I reviewed here has some astonishing rates.  From Monday 25th January, for example, a 3-night stay averages at £41 per night!  A suite is only £76 per night.  I have stayed at this hotel and I can tell you that, given its high quality, this is a steal.  The hotel website is here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see  our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Bits: Aer Lingus COO makes interesting claims re Avios, new Vueling redemptions from Luton
Starwood throws its Spring promotion into the ring .... IHG still not panicking!

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  1. Tim Walters says:

    A few questions if I may.

    1) I don’t have an AA account, could I deposit into a family members to use for my travel?
    2) I have found reward on Etihad in First. I’m assuming the apartment is their standard First on the A380?
    3) How would I actually book these Etihad flights as they don’t show on the AA site?
    4) And finally, I’m assuming I just need to book before March rather than travel?

    Thank you so much! Tim

    • Yes for 1, 2 and 4. Call AA aadvantage for 3. Note though you need an account to buy the miles so your family member would need to buy them not you. Note also that thus far EY have been moving a380 around but will be less of a problem in future as tgey receive more.

    • If a reward shows as a STANDARD LEVEL award on the Etihad site then AA can book it by phone.

      Etihad premium level awards, the ones that need silly amounts of miles, cannot be booked by AA.

  2. Hi Rob

    Hope your well

    Don’t you have an additional £472.15 to add on, in charges per person when you actually come to exchange the miles for the actual ticket?

    I am looking at connecting here and heading to SYD using the same points. Coming up in J at 70,000 return + £79.00.

    AUH to AMM and then onto BKK all with RJ. Connecting on QF and onto SYD


    • That was supposed to be 90,000 and not 70,000 and £7970 not £79.00

    • Correct this is just the cost of miles, you have to pay all relevant tax and fees in addition whichever trip you make. Low tax and fees on AAdvantage are with EY, CX, AB and MH, less so on QR and high on BA and AY IIRC, don’t know about RJ or QF. JAL were high but I believe they have fallen in past year.

    • The Etihad number quoted, £1200, would include taxes (roughly) as these are fairly low using AA miles.

  3. It is too simplistic to say it is cheapest ever Rob. I t depends how many miles you need relative to the cut off points for increasing bonus levels which can vary in AA buy miles promotions. Also depends on exchange rates at time of bonus. Based on what I’ve seen over the years it is good if you can get 60k miles for a return J to ME or India for about £800. Also, nobody should rush to buy huge amounts of miles in one transaction, better to play around with bonus increments to figure out cheapest way of reaching your goal because sometimes two work better than one. Also, sometimes bonus miles do not post until later which may be a factor with impending devaluation.

    • Agreed, it is simplistic – but it is not the central thrust of the piece so keeping it simple was fine by me!

    • AA had a 100% bonus for miles 2 years ago. Unfortunately I hadn’t quite worked out AA’s benefits to Etihad at that time 🙁

    • And because the payment/charges are always in US$, the exchange rates plays a significant part with larger transactions.

  4. having looked at the terms and conditions, seems buy miles limits are calendar year based. can you claim this twice, before 31st dec and after Jan 1st?

  5. The AA miles can presumably be used for hotel stays. Is this true and is this better value than cash?

    • Yes, you can use them hotels or car hire. You only get about 0.5p per mile I think so no arbitrage here.

      • AA hotel redemptions levels vary considerably dependent on the AAdvantage status of the account holder. No uncommon for the miles required to drop 50% when an Executive Platinum/Platinum member logs into their account.

  6. Hi, the Melia sales website link doesn’t appear to work. Do you know if there is a discount code that can be used instead when booking? Many thanks.

  7. Does your account have to be 14 days old to purchase AA miles?

    • Dynamo, I think that’s Alaska

    • The AAdvantage terms and conditions mention:
      “AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old are not permitted to Buy or Gift Miles.”

      Looks like new members cannot participate in the offer.

      Also, you are required to pay ca. 8.5% in processing charges and excise taxes so the 160k miles required (as highlighted above) for two EY F tickets from London to Abu Dhabi would cost US$3,201.25 instead of US$2,950

      • Forgot that, sorry. I’ve been caught out on that before on HFP.

      • I first looked early this morning LHR- AUH in F with Etihad

        To purchase enough miles to cover the 80,000 needed for a return ticket,you’d have to buy 55,000 and qualify for 33,000 for free

        Cost $1,622.50
        Federal excise tax $121.69

        Processing charge $30.00
        Total charges $1,774.19 USD

        Got an exchange rate from the UK post office of £1 to $1.444= £1228 +2.99% credit card charge(amex)= £1265.400+£472.15 (additional booking charges)=£1737.15 for a return Ticket.


        • It isn’t £472 of tax (unless you called AA to get that number). Etihad adds a fuel surcharge which AA does not add IIRC.

          The spot rate is $1.48 to the $1 and most of us have a card which avoids the 3% surcharge so you are realstically looking at nearer £1,400.

          • Hi Rob

            Thats the amount of taxs/ fees that came up on

            I guess some might have a non fee paying card and plentydo not


          • I wish they would be clearer. First page where they list flight choices they mention “Taxes and carrier based fees”.When you on the final page to book the additional charges are described as “Baggage and Optional Charges”.

            Checked a mixture of months this evening. Could find no availability at all now.


    • 30 days it seems as per the other comment

  8. Do you the chauffeur service both sides of the flight if you only have a one way from AUH – LHR? Or just on the AUH side?


  9. How long after you buy the miles before they appear in the account?

  10. What options do we have flying to Australia?

    Is it just BA / Qantas redeeming AA points?

  11. Looking at heading towards MLE for next October and looking at AA miles as a possible one way redemption – Have i got it right –
    I book a one way in Business EY from DUB-DOH for 40,000 pp?
    What is the cancellation policy for AA redemptions?

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