American Airlines has introduced new car and hotel awards. This isn’t how I prefer to use my miles (read: premium cabin international airline awards) but it’s still an interesting development for a few reasons.
First, more options with your miles are always better.
Second, though you could always book car and hotel via the AA Vacations site you could only pay for the car/hotel portion with miles and not the air. This offering separates out these different components.
Third and most importantly, the miles value for these offerings seems to be better through American than through similar competitor programs, and they’re offering better redemption values for elite members (and better redemption values for higher-level elites than for lower-level ones).
Delta has had a similar offering and considering how difficult it can be to use Skymiles for high value airline awards it wasn’t crazy to redeem miles for other travel through these types of offers. But Delta pretty clear devalued their hotel and car awards six months back or so.
In the end you’ll only get about a penny a point in value at most as a general member, Executive Platinums will do about 17% better. Not how I’ll redeem my awards but I love choice and options and certainly folks with smaller mileage balances will have a real change to be angaged and turn their miles into something useful. And once they do so they’ll value the programs more, hopefully see the value in those programs, and begin to earn larger mileage balances which can yield the really great stuff.