American AAdvantage has launched a promotion through end of year with the opportunity to earn 50,000 AAdvantage miles. And frankly it’s complicated. Registration required.
There are four levels of earning, each with separate requirements.
- Earn 2000 bonus miles when you earn 10,000 miles through transactions with participating partners, and you download American’s mobile app. If you’d downloaded the app in the past that’s good enough.
- Earn 5000 bonus miles when you earn 25,000 miles through transactions with participating partners — that’s an incremental 15,000 miles earned over the previous bonus level — and you make a donation to earn at least 250 miles to a participating charity.
- Earn 10,000 bonus miles when you earn 50,000 miles through transactions with participating partners and you book and fly an American Airlines marketed and operated flight by end of year (tickets booked in B, which is basic economy, aren’t eligible).
- Earn 33,000 bonus miles when you earn a total of 100,000 miles through transactions with participating partners and you book and fly an American Airlines marketed and operated premium cabin (premium economy, domestic first, business or first class) flight.
Here are the eligible partners and tips for using each:
- AAdvantage eShopping: in addition to regular miles earned for purchases there’s currently an offer of up to 4000 bonus miles (which requires spending $1200 with participating retailers).
- AAdvantage dining: on top of normal mileage-earning for qualifying restaurant spend if you’re new to the program you earn 1000 bonus miles with first dine of $25 or more
- Hyatt: Mileage transfers from Hyatt don’t generally make sense. Currently Hyatt House and Hyatt Place stays earn 1000 AAdvantage miles each (registration required).
- Sprint: offers 25,000 miles to new customers and up to 5000 miles a year to existing customers but you can’t qualify with discounted plans (such as a percentage off via your employer), only the miles earned during the promotion period count — so the activation 20,000 miles count but not the full amount, and Sprint no longer awards these miles on free plans.
- Vinesse: $42 buys 6 wines and earns 5000 miles. Then you want to cancel rather than receiving more wines. In my past experience the swill that I was sent were among the worst wines I’ve ever tasted, but the deal was worth it for the miles.
- Bankdirect: I’ve been a Bankdirect checking customer since 2003. There’s no avoiding the $12 a month account fee any longer, and you cannot earn more than 5000 miles per month (which requires a $50,000 balance since you earn 100 miles for every $1000 average balance but earning is capped) however the initial bonus of up to 21,000 miles remain strong but 20,000 of those miles won’t post during the promotion period.
I have to assume that miles from your average balance in November (which will only be a partial month for new accounts) and December (which will post in early January) count.
- Car rentals and hotels: if you book hotels through their mileage-earning portal you won’t accrue elite status credits or receive elite recognition.
- LifeLock, Teleflora, and Simplisafe LifeLock partners with many programs and may offer bigger bonuses elsewhere and isn’t something I’d subscribe to. Always compare flowers offers, you’ll usually get better deals on actual flowers through local florists but online florist services can offer enough miles to make the flowers themselves more or less free. As for SimpliSafe I wouldn’t choose a home security system on the basis of miles earned.
LifeLock is the company whose CEO published his social security number to demonstrate the power of his system and dared hackers to steal his identity. Which they promptly did. Thirteen times.
- Purchase miles only the first 50,000 miles purchased count, you can’t buy 100,000 miles and complete the partner-earning portion of this offer. And it’s only the actual miles purchased, not bonus miles earned through the current partner miles promotion, that count.
Through November 26 American has a promotion selling miles as low as 1.92 cents apiece. To get that price you need to buy 150,000 miles (and receive 250,000). Buying 50,000 miles generates 72,500 miles at a cost of ~ 2.2 cents per mile.
Unfortunately the best, easiest ways to earn substantial amounts of partner miles aren’t eligible — for instance you won’t get credit for spending on an AAdvantage credit card or from transferring in miles from Marriott.
I’m a Bankdirect customer anyway (though it’s questionable whether it’s still worthwhile in a world of rising interest rates), I can earn some miles through their shopping portal, and perhaps I’ll have a Hyatt Place stay or two. I probably won’t hit 25,000 partner miles during the promotion period because the things I’d have to do to get there aren’t worthwhile to me.
However for anyone that’s going to travel on American and purchase miles anyway under the current offer then this bonus promotion is a nice kicker.