Updated on April 4, 2014
Updated on April 4, 2014
With the United devaluation right around the corner, Drew and I are soon to be American Airlines folk. Or at least… more so than we were. Though…my last customer service experience with them was less than ideal when I found out I had to fly to Ft. Lauderdale and back on New Years Eve to make Exec Platinum Status because of a mess of misinformations…but hey. Par for the course. And I love an adventure.
I know I know. FWP.
Off Peak Prices
One of the things to love about American Airlines are their great off-peak prices. If you’ve been wondering when those airline prices are going to drop, American Airlines has taken the guess-work out of it. Basically American Airlines has specified off-peak dates for various regions during which time you can get economy tickets for great deals in miles.
A few things to note. These off-peaks apply to flights starting in North America, are for economy only, and (below) show prices in one-ways.
Let’s start by looking at those off-peak dates.
NA to Hawaii: 17,500 miles one way (vs. 22,500 ordinarily)
NA to Caribbean/Mexico: 12,500 miles one way (vs. 17,500)
NA to Europe: 20,000 miles one way (vs. 30,000)
NA to Japan: 25,000 miles one way (vs. 32,500)
NA to Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela: 15,000 miles one way (vs. 17,500)
NA to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uraguay: 20,000 miles one way (vs. 30,000)
What are the best deals?
The best deals here are North America to Europe and North America to South America (region 2) as these off-peak prices will save you 20,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket.
How does this compete with other programs?
In both the option of NA to Europe and NA to Southern South America we can see that this off-peak AA option is 20,000 miles cheaper than United’s option of 30,000 each way (according to the new award chart).
This also beats Air Canada’s prices. You’ll save 20,000 miles for “Europe 1” countries and 35,000 miles for “Europe 2” countries.
The downside here is that off-peak obviously means that you’re hitting these spots during their least desirable seasons.
Still I have to say it was amazing seeing the snow fall in the Alps. I can see how a person with just two weeks of vacation time might want to save it for more ideal conditions, but there is something neat about visiting a place when the tourist levels are lower. A different side of its character comes out I think. Maybe it’s in my head but in any case, Austria is beautiful in the winter and I would not hesitate visiting in the dead of winter.
So now let’s talk about earning these AA miles.
The top 2 ways we earn AA miles:
1.) Aadvantage World MasterCard
Note: (this card is also obtainable as a Visa)
Earning is basically 1 mile per dollar except on eligible AA purchases, in which case you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar.
A few other things about this card though. For one, it gives you priority boarding and your first checked bag is free.
Also, you get 10% of your redeemed miles back each year.
All in all, not a bad card but the bonus is fairly low right now. 30,000 (after spending $1K in 3 months) as opposed to the 50,000 we’ve seen before BUT thanks to Flyertalk there is still a 50,000 bonus link floating around out there so if you want to apply for the MasterCard or Business version of this card, check out this link. I think the Visa link is not live?
Last thing to mention is the $95 annual fee (waived the first year.)
2.) SPG card
Earning is basically 1 point per dollar on ordinary spends and up to 5 points per dollar on eligible SPG-related spends.
Earn 10,000 points after your first purchase and another 15,000 after spending $5K in 6 months.
SPG points transfer to AA at a 1:1 ratio, which is why this card is listed as an option for collecting AA miles. 🙂 It’s probably the main way we use our SPG points.
$65 annual fee is waived the first year.
If you want to apply for this card, we would love you forever if you use our affiliate links by clicking on the “credit cards” tab on Drew’s site!! (!!!!! exclamation marks to emphasize gratitude!!!!!!)