Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Million Mile Secrets reader, Randy, commented:
I started with a Citi AAdvantage Platinum card and have a little over 90,000 American Airlines miles. I’m working on my Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus which will give me 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
My immediate travel plan is to travel to Europe with my wife in early fall in Business Class. How would you proceed from here?
I need to book the tickets by the March 22, 2016, when American Airlines changes their award chart. Would I be able to receive the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card without actually owning a business?
You can quickly earn the additional miles and points you need for you and your wife to fly Business Class to Europe.
I’ll give you a strategy!
Randy has 90,000 American Airlines miles and 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And he wants to take his wife to Europe in Business Class.
Here’s how he and his wife can cover the cost of their flights with miles and points!
Book 1-Way Flights With Your American Airlines Miles
A 1-way Business Class award flight to Europe currently costs 50,000 American Airlines miles.
He’s considering singing-up for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card. But he’ll need to have a small business or plans to start one.
While Randy doesn’t think he owns a business, he just might! That’s because many for profit activities like selling goods online, freelancing, and coaching can be considered small businesses.
But do NOT lie on your application! This is considered fraud and folks have been prosecuted.
And even if he doesn’t qualify for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card, he may be able to earn the sign-up bonus on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card again!
Or he could open a CitiGold checking account by March 31, 2016, to earn 50,000 American Airlines miles. Just be sure to use promotional code “WD3QFS2Y4C”.
And there are lots of other ways to earn American Airlines miles:
|Credit Card or Bank Offer||Sign-On Bonus||Minimum Spending Required||Annual Fee or Cost
|Total||260,000+ American Airlines miles|
|Citi AAdvantage Platinum (personal)||50,000 American Airlines miles||$3,000 within 3 months||$95 waived for 1st year
|CitiBusiness AAdvantage||50,000 American Airlines miles||$3,000 within 3 months||$95 waived for 1st year
|Citi AAdvantage Executive card||50,000 American Airlines miles||$5,000 within 3 months||$450|
|Starwood Preferred Guest card (personal)||25,000 Starwood points = 25,000 American Airlines miles + 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer in 20,000 point increments||$3,000 within 3 months||$95 waived for 1st year
|Starwood Preferred Guest card (business)||25,000 Starwood points = 25,000 American Airlines miles + 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer in 20,000 point increments||$5,000 within 3 months||$95 waived for 1st year
|Fidelity||15,000, 25,000, or 50,000 American Airlines miles||$25,000, $50,000, or $100,000 deposit||varies
Changes Coming to the American Airlines Award Chart
Starting March 22, 2016, the cost of many American Airlines award flights will change. And 1-way Business Class award flights to Europe will go up from 50,000 American Airlines miles to 57,500 American Airlines miles.
So as Randy points out, he’ll want to make sure he books their trip before this price increase goes into effect.
Unfortunately, American Airlines is NOT a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. But there’s still a great way for Randy to use those points!
Earn More Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for the Other Half of Your Trip
Randy can use his Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book the 2nd leg of his trip on United Airlines. Or their partners such as Lufthansa and LOT Polish Airlines.
You could also transfer to other Chase Ultimate Rewards partners like British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic. These airlines have high fuel surcharges. But in some cases it may make sense. For example, you can get cheap award flights and avoid the hefty fees from the East Coast to Europe using British Airways Avios points to fly on partners like Air Berlin.
When you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold (no longer available), you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. The miles typically post to your account instantly.
A 1-way Business Class award flight from Europe to the US costs 57,500 United Airlines miles. So Randy will need to earn another 65,000 United Airlines miles to book his and his wife’s return flight.
A 1-way Business Class award flight on a United Airlines Star Alliance Partners like Lufthansa or LOT Polish Airlines will cost more at 70,000 United Airlines miles.
Remember, in addition to the 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points Randy earns by unlocking the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus, he’ll earn at least 4,000 additional points. Because the minimum spending requirement is $4,000 and you earn at least 1 point per $1 spent.
Randy can add another 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to transfer to United Airlines by adding an authorized user who makes a purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening his account.
And there are plenty of other easy ways to earn the extra miles:
- Chase Freedom – 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150) when you spend $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. And $25 (2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) for adding your 1st authorized user who makes a purchase within this same 3-month period.
- Chase Ink Plus – 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
- Chase Ink Cash – 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($200 in cash back) when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
- United MileagePlus Explorer (personal) – 30,000 United Airlines miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. Plus, 5,000 additional United Airlines miles by adding an authorized user and make a purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. And a $50 statement credit after your 1st purchase
- United MileagePlus Explorer (business) – 50,000 United Airlines miles when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
Of course Randy could also fly 1-way in Business Class and return in coach, if he’s short on points. And flying coach on partner airlines like TAP Portugal costs the same number of miles as flying United Airlines in coach so that opens up more routing options.
You can even split up your trip by booking the outbound flight on American Airlines and the return trip on United Airlines or vice versa.
Thanks for your question, Randy! I hope that helps!
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 20,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!