Australian credit cards to earn American AAdvantage miles

14 replies

Dave261082

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Nov 2014

Total posts 5

Hello all ABT's

I'm considering switching credit cards in order to maximise points and increase chances in flying business / first. Given my limited research can anyone please advise as to whether and how I can access American AA mileage program within Australia.

Currently with Qantas and my comparisons with AA reflect major savings. I pull in approx. 250k points per year via QFF however

I believe Citi offers AA Millage rewards program.

Many Thanks

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,060

Hi Dave261082,

At present, there are no AU based credit card that offers the ability to earn Aadvantage Miles.

Although Dave, it would seem the objective of switching seems somewhat unclear.

From your post, these are the facts that I've gleamed:

  • You wish to increase your chances to fly Business/First (presumably through a free upgrade)
  • You are currently accruing frequent flyer points with Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF)
  • You wish to accrue Aadvantage (AA) miles as you believe it is more cost effective (reflect major savings)

Several things you may wish to know:

  1. First up, if you are accruing Aadvantage miles, you will not be able to use these miles to upgrade on Qantas.
  2. It has been discussed that flying First class on AA domestically in the US is a very cost effective way to earn status credits on QF to enable you to reach QFF Gold/Platinum status. This will certainly then increase your chances of upgrading on QF services.
  3. If however you are looking to be upgraded when flying AA, your QF points will not help (although your status might, but only on the off-chance)
  4. The sure way to upgrade on AA services is to be an Elite Aadvantage member. Your chances of being bumped up on an AA services is significantly higher if you're an Elite Advantage Member. Your Aadvantage miles can also be used to upgrade to Business/First. As an Aadvantage Executive Platinum, you will also receive 8 free one-way upgrades to be used on AA services. 
  5. In my opinion AA is a lot more transparent with upgrades, where information on upgrade availability is publicly available (for a fee from 3rd party providers). Transparency = Increased certainty. We all know certainty is GOLD.

Dave261082

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Nov 2014

Total posts 5

Many Thanks for the response TRB...

In summary i was reading that i could use AA Miles to book a Buisness Class Fare say to London Return via Oneworld and flying Qantas.

This discussion was sparked on the article that i read on the ABT titled

http://www.ausbt.com.au/low-cost-qantas-business-first-class-buying-us-frequent-flyer-miles

 

Basically where i could purchase miles via AA and use those miles in addition to my QFF points to book a Bus flight return.

 

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,060

Hi Dave261082,

You are absolutely able to use AA miles, that have been purchased to redeem on QF Business Class flights (if they're made available by Qantas). These flights must be "paid" for using AA miles and cash (for taxes) as per the AA Redemption Award schedule for its oneworld partners.

To redeem as an Aadvantage Redemption Award, you may only use AA miles. Your Qantas (QFF) points may not be used.

The simple rule of frequent flyer programmes is that the miles/points earned from one programme cannot be used in combination with those of another programme to make a redemption booking.

So, how do you get Aadvantage miles? Being Australian-based:

  1. Sign up for free to obtain an Aadvantage account
  2. When flying AA or its partners, you will accrue Aadvantage miles
  3. You can purchase additional Aadvantage miles through the AA website and particularly when AA does special offers for bonus miles (Note: There are some limitations to the amount of miles, which can be purchased over a 12 month period)

As indicated before, there are no Australia based credit cards, which allows you to accrue Aadvantage miles. Even if you have a million QFF points, those points are useless in helping you to book an Aadvantage Redemption Award.

Before you commit to purchasing Aadvantage miles, be aware that Qantas Business Class redemption availablity, particularly to North America and London is very limited.

Note too, you will earn zero Aadvantage miles/QFF points when making standard redemption bookings. So you've spent thousand of dollars buying miles to spend on a flight but get nothing to show for besides a booking; no miles, no points, no elite points/status credit. All that money spent, which doesn't contribute to your frequent flyer status - empty calories - wasted!

If I were you, I would not get too caught up in this hype of buying miles to redeem for cheap Business Class fares on Qantas, unless you are extremely flexible on the dates of travel and love the uncertainty and anticipation of looking for redemption availability. As they say; if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

gumshoe

Member since 04 Nov 2012

Total posts 61

Can also buy USDM miles or AS Miles too, no points back though.

I just used USDM OZ to Europe return in J for 2 pax on CX & QR all up was around $6K!.

Dave261082

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Nov 2014

Total posts 5

Once again MANY THANKS for the information TRB... based on your email what would be suggestion / solution given my initial email summation and the fact that i accumulate apporx 250k QFF points each year.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,060

Dave261082,

You're hitting a quarter of a million QFF points each year. I presume a healthy portion of that is through flights; as such I assume you are at least QFF Gold.

The best bang for your buck is to purchase upgradable QF Economy class tickets and use your points for upgrade on QF. Being upgraded is not a certainty, I grant you that but in the greater scheme of things, your chances of being upgraded are much higher than the average member. I would not faff around buying Aadvantage miles.

I must say, I'm quite puzzled by your desire to purchase miles to redeem on Qantas, when it would appear you are an illustrious member of the QFF programme.

I would however question your choice to stick with QFF. Depending on how you've accrued your 250k annual average, it might be worthwhile to consider another oneworld programme.

Dave261082

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Nov 2014

Total posts 5

TRB,

the points are actually collated via my credit card expenditure linked to my AMEX and Mastercard through CBA, not via flying.  I was a silver member but now a humble Bronze, due to status credits and falling 10 points short.

Do Your suggestions still remain as a result of my above comments?

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,060

OK. Now we're getting somewhere.

I see where you are coming from. I use to be a lowly Silver myself. The value proposition of QFF for me was on the wane and I found a solution with Aadvantage, which met my needs and in fact increased my spending with AA - so it's not just a one way street.

There is absolutely no reason why you should stop channelling your expenses to AMEX and accrue QFF points. But the key here is diversification.

The orthodox belief is that one should stick to one frequent flyer programme and dump all your resources into that programme. That is a fallasiy because the underlying assumption does not always hold true. The assumption in this case is that availability of redemption correspondingly increases with the total value of points accumalated. We all know there are no links between redemption availablity and value of point accrued (redemption availablity being rather a function of demand for revenue bookings). So in practice frequent flyer programme have allowed its member to rake up points/mile when availability of redemption seats is constant. End result: Lower chances of securing redemption bookings

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,060

Excuse the last post...my keyboard had a fit and poster prematurely.

OK. Now we're getting somewhere.

 I see where you are coming from. I use to be a lowly Silver myself. The value proposition of QFF for me was on the wane and I found a solution with Aadvantage, which met my needs and in fact increased my spending with AA - so it's not just a one way street.

There is absolutely no reason why you should stop channelling your expenses to AMEX and accrue QFF points. But the key here is diversification.

The orthodox belief is that one should stick to one frequent flyer programme and dump all your resources into that programme. That is a fallacy because the underlying assumption does not always hold true. The assumption in this case is that availability of redemption correspondingly increases with the total value of points accumulated. We all know there are no links between redemption availability and value of points accrued (redemption availability being rather a function of demand for revenue bookings). So in practice frequent flyer programmes have allowed its member to rake up points/mile when availability of redemption seats is constant. End result: Lower chances of securing redemption bookings and you have no other options as you’ve put all your eggs in one basket.

With diversification, you provide yourself with more options. By picking programmes with preferential redemption rates, you allow yourself to make each dollar spent and each mile flown worth more. Applying your credit card spend to another programme, one which you may not necessarily fly with allows you to be on somewhat balanced footing on both your primary and secondary frequent flyer accounts. This increases your overall ability to redeem and upgrade.

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 06 Nov 2014

Total posts 149

Theoretically, there is one way to earn AAdvantage using Australian CC. That is, Amex with membership reward, which can be transferred to SPG points and can then be converted to AAdvantage. The only problem is the transfer rate is very bad so you usually end up earning 0.5 AA points/$. Sometimes might be better to stick to QFF. 

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,060

Thanks Michael and 11sjw. I did look at the SPG option but it seems like too much hassle only to depreciate your miles by 50%!

My strategy with credit cards is to accrue to another airline, outside of oneworld to provide some flexibility and manage risk.

This only works for me however because I have sufficient traffic on oneworld to ensure critical mass to make my points/miles worthwhile.

Dave261082

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Nov 2014

Total posts 5

Thank You TRB, Michael & 11sjw,

Any rec's on credit cards and reward programs that stand out from the rest!

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 06 Nov 2014

Total posts 149

IMHO, the best credit card with the most diversified FFP in Australia is Westpac Black Altitude. It allows you to transfer to Krisflyer, Asia Miles, Enrich, Velocity and Air NZ, this gives you access to Oneworld, Star Alliance and Etihad partners + some Delta (skyteam). It is also great in that it has 2 cards linked to one account (MC and Amex) so it is widely accepted. Good earn rate at 1.5 FFP/$ (except Air NZ, which I won't bother) for Amex, and reasonable 0.625 on MC. The biggest problem with this card is the recent devaluation on ATO earn, which caused a big havoc in the Australian frequent flyer community. 

The other good one to consider is Citibank reward, which allow you to earn 1 FFP/$ on Visa for Krisflyer and Velocity +/- Asia Miles (depend on the type of card, but at a lower rate of 0.66pt./$). That is the best  earn rate on a visa/MC that I know of for KF. Problem with this card is absolutely zero earn on ATO. 

11sjw

Member since 11 Mar 2012

Total posts 159

Agreed with what Michael has posted.  My understanding was that SPG would also top you up with a bonus when transferring so your effective earn rate would be something like 0.565 AAMiles/$.  Has the bonus stopped?

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