American Airlines AAdvantage program is now offering a promotion if you want to buy miles, specifically up to 50% bonus miles for free, depending on how many miles you do want to buy.
I know it might sound a little bit off topic for the Sandpit to be talking about AAdvantage miles, however, there is a (actually 2) very good reasons behind it. First of all, American Airlines is part of the OneWorld alliance, meaning that their miles can be used to redeem flights with Qatar Airways. Secondly, they are also a partner with Etihad Guest, meaning that you can use AAdvantage for flights with Etihad.
And not only that, AAdvantage requires a lot less miles to redeem flights than what you do with Qatar Airways Privilege club miles and Etihad Guest Miles, so this actually looks like a very good deal to me.
First, let’s take a look at the promotion itself.
American’s newest promotion is valid for miles purchases through January 30, 2017. They quite regularly offer this kind of promotions, and from now on I will for sure keep my eyes open for them.
As usual, the bonus miles you will receive are tiered, and the maximum value you can get is 50% extra miles, provided you buy exactly 70.000 or 100.000 miles. The tiers are as follows:
- Buy 5,000-14,000 miles, get 1,000 bonus miles
- Buy 15,000-24,000 miles, get 5,000 bonus miles
- Buy 25,000-49,000 miles, get 10,000 bonus miles
- Buy 50,000-69,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles
- Buy 70,000-99,000 miles, get 35,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000-150,000 miles, get 50,000 bonus miles
As you see, the total price for 150.000 miles will be 3201.25 US dollar, or about 11.750 dirhams. This mean a cost pr mile of about 8 fils, or about 12 miles pr. AED. As I look at those numbers it does make some sense to buy this miles, as I currently value Qatar Airways miles at around 14 fils pr mile, and Etihad Guest miles at 8 fils pr mile. But, and it is a big but, you are getting AAdvantage miles, which I value a lot higher, especially for travelling between the UAE and the Far East – I would put a value at around 25 fils pr mile for those flights, so if you have a flight in mind in the near future I would absolutely buy those miles for that.
You can redeem a one-way ticket between the UAE and anywhere in the Far East for 40.000 AAdvantage miles in business class, and you can even include a stop-over up to 24 hours – for example fly with Etihad to Hong Kong and then connect with Cathay Pacific on to your final destination. This is a brilliant value for the miles, and I will probably buy some myself before the promotion ends.
One example is Abu Dhabi to Tokyo, both Qatar Airways and Etihad sell those tickets for just around 10.000 dirhams return in business class, but if you buy the miles with AAdvantage you can buy 160.000 miles (110.000 plus 50.000 bonus) for about 12.500 dirhams, and thereby save 7.500 dirhams on the trip for 2 people. In addition to doing the stop-over possibility it is quite a great deal.
However, this is also one of the more expensive campaigns from AAdvantage, so unless you are planning a trip anytime soon, I would wait and see what the next promotion will be. At the end of last year they were selling miles for about 6.5 fils pr mile, which is really good value, and I would not hesitate to buy at that price if a similar promotion comes back.
Please do note that it is not possible to book awards with Qatar Airways and Etihad on the AAdvantage website, instead you have to call their callcenter and make the booking there, which should be quite straight-foreward. They are reported to be quite good, and in particular the callcenter in Australia has really good reviews, so try to give them a ring if you want to make a booking.
Also note that Aadvantage lets you put a ticket on hold for 5 days before they process it, so you can call them to check availability and reserve the ticket where you want to go, then log on and buy the miles, and then call back and get the ticket issued, so no need to keep the miles in your account unless you are sure you are going to spend them.