American’s New Car and Hotel Awards

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I always save my miles for intl travel, but this can be a great deal if it works for u.
    I was able to get my desired hotel that was 185 incl tax booked direct for 1000 miles and 117.00 copay so thats .068 per mile.

  2. Dude. I know you’re busy and have more important things to do than write this blog. I don’t care about the obvious typos. But (at least) twice in this post you say the exact opposite of what I can only assume you mean (“…you could only pay for the car/hotel portion with miles and not the air”; “Now how I’ll redeem my awards”).

    It makes it very difficult to deal with a source of information when, at every statement, I have to weigh the probability that it means the opposite of what it says, and as soon as I start thinking like that, I start to doubt the author’s attention to detail.

  3. @Larry the first thing you complain about is actually correct… AA Vacations allowed you to pay only car/hotel with miles and not air portion. Which is one reason this new offering is different than what was offered in the past.

    But indeed I did make a typo, I wrote “now” and not “not.” Plugged in the wrong letter and I apologize! Corrected.

  4. Using DL miles for car rentals you can get 2 cpm. Even better, pay 100 miles and the rest with cc. They are getting prepaid rates on it, that might be very good on weekdays sometimes.

  5. I like this option…I just used it with Delta. I’m driving from Maryland to Arizona to move and I used my low balance delta miles to get 2 nights at 2 different hotels. About the only thing I could use my delta miles so I like seeing offeres like this. I don’t like how continental you have to have their card to do it and US doesn’t do it at all.

  6. This turned out to be surprisingly good deal for me.

    Had been through just about every discount code I could find for a rental in Orlando over New Year’s (bowl game). Best rate that I could get anywhere with discount codes was $531 and change for a SUV/mini-van (need something that size for wheelchair guest). Just booked on AA for $170 and 1000 miles. May still have to pay taxes, but for a nominal amount of miles (basically a little more than the 2.99 from for 950 miles BigFish), I’m saving somewhere between $250 and $360 in real money.

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