American Airlines – AAdvantage; Hi All, I wanted some feedback/advice from anyone who has experience with buying miles and redeeming through AAdvantage – on face value

7 replies

MikeM

qantas

Member since 18 Oct 2012

Total posts 66

American Airlines – AAdvantage;

Hi All,

I wanted some feedback/advice from anyone who has experience with buying miles and redeeming through AAdvantage – on face value it seems to be a fantastic way to get a low cost QF/BA/CX flight in J or F to and/or from Europe. With the current promotion they are running and including taxes and charges you could pick up a J seat one way for circa $2.0K AUD. F would b around $2.5K AUD.

Are there hidden catches? Does the availability on the web site actually mirror correctly what’s available when you call to redeem? Are the Taxes and Charges similarly to what QFF charges??

Any feed back / experiences would be appreciated.

Cheers

PLATY

Member since 19 Jan 2012

Total posts 138

Michael, perhaps hold fire for a couple of months. There have been previous promotions offering better value than this (buy 60,000 pts with 50% bonus). Also, since you can only purchase 60,000 pts per year (plus bonus) it might make sense to wait until you can get a good deal for the full 60,000 pts purchases and get the full 30,000 bonus pts - the current promo has a sweet spot at 50,000 pts and is ony 30%, which is a little underdone.

Obviously this limits your opportunity - since a first class one way to Europe is 80,000 pts you'll only make it one way in first on your annual point buy limit. You could get around this by buying points on other airlines for the return leg (Avianca, United, etc) or transferring points from other sources to AA (like Hilton Honors, SPG, etc., although redeeming for hotels may get you more bang for buck for your hotel points).

Note that AA has some attractive redemption opportunities onto to multi-sector routes combining OneWorld carriers, which offer good theoretical value.

In the meantime, you can logon to the AA site and experiment with more simple  "dummy" bookings to see the availability and surcharges. You can find intyernational flights on QF using AA points with much lower surcharges than if booked through QF. You can also use AA points for other OneWorld carriers and some partner airlines - not all inventory is available online on aa.com (so look for reward seats on the airline of choice and then ring AA to attempt the redemption).

Generic advice would be to:

1) Have some specific travel goals in mind

2) Tailor your points strategy accordingly

3) Reads lots on the numerous web sites (google flyertalk, loyalty, etc)

4) Aim to buy/earn the points and turnover quickly

Note that the various schemes are subject to devaluations - United went through a major one a few days ago which virtually doubles the points needed for a first class partner airline redemption. AA may merge with US Airways which could result in unpredictable changes to AAdvantage.

So there's lots of research required to optimise your strategy!

But yeah, in principle AAdvantage offers interesting opportunities for long distance premium rewards and multi-sector business class awards in Australia/NZ. Some of us bought Alaska Airlines on a recent points buy promotion, which also offers lots of interesting options (although none directly from Australia to Europe).

Go find the many frequent flyer "how to" websites accepting many have a US focus (if you haven't already)  - these will show you how it's done and alert when deals are on offer!

 

MikeM

qantas

Member since 18 Oct 2012

Total posts 66

Thanks PLATY for your great response. I was lucky enough to buy and redeem a great value trip through Alaskan also. While the dollar stays strong this is a very good option for international travel.

I am tempted to hold back until the 60 + 30K  promotion comes along as you have suggested... historically i think this happens in the early part of the new year.

In theory I believe its poosible to buy points in a second profile and then transfer them accross to avoid the annual purchasing limit of 60K.

The fact that AA don't hit you as hard as qantas with the surcharges is also great.

 

russell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 04 Nov 2011

Total posts 196

Just bear in mind that there are charges involved for transferring points so it may not represent good value.

MikeM

qantas

Member since 18 Oct 2012

Total posts 66

ok... charges to transfer?? Any idea how much?

russell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 04 Nov 2011

Total posts 196

I think its $20US per 1000 miles. Sometimes they have promotions though.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

Hi michael ,

Are there hidden catches?

Depends what you mean by catches. The process is straightforward enough but you do run the risk of poor availability of redemption inventory, especially when redeeming with QF. QF and BA both release inventory 350 to 360 days before, while AA makes inventory available 331 days before. So a QFF and BA EC member has a better chance of snaring a P/Z or U inventory. Availability for QF is particularly challenging since QF limits U and P inventory and keeps revenue inventory open for QFF points upgrades at the 11th hour. U and Z inventory on BA is a lot easier to come by since its revenue management policy is less tight. The flip side is that redeeming AA miles for BA flights exposes you to hefty fuel surcharge fees, which you don't pay when redeeming on AA operated flights.

Does the availability on the web site actually mirror correctly what’s available when you call to redeem?

As indicated above, subject to release timeframes, if GDS is showing availability then you're able to redeem using AA miles i.e. You're not segregated when redeeming from your AA account.

Are the Taxes and Charges similar to what QFF charges?

When redeeming QF flights with AA miles, you pay considerably less taxes. The taxes you pay is so much lower you wonder why QF is fleecing it's QFF.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

Also, if you're not an Aadvantage Executive Platinum member, there are hefty admin fees associated with redemption bookings made on the phone. I believe fees are waived if you make bookings online. However with online redemption bookings you pay for taxes in USD and therefore take on the forex risk. The Fiji call centre staff who facilitates the redemption booking on the phone would charge fees in AUD.

I have had some trouble in the past redeeming QF flights via the AA website, where the booking does not get ticketed and eventually drops out from the QF system. In that instance I manage to get the Fiji call centre staff to reinstate the booking and waive any fee. But I've had to press them for it and you run the risk that while waiting for your booking to be ticketed the inventory is no longer available. This is particularly devastating with the limited U and P inventory. So you might consider this another catch.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on American Airlines – AAdvantage; Hi All, I wanted some feedback/advice from anyone who has experience with buying miles and redeeming through AAdvantage – on face value

Attach Files