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Yesterday, I wrote about the amazing Citi AAdvantage 75,000 bonus mile offer. And if you follow my advice in the original post, you may get the bonus for both cards – even though the bonus is supposed to be only for first time cardholders.
That’s 150,000 Citi AAdvantage bonus miles if you get approved for both cards!
That’s worth at least $1,500 if you value AAdvantage miles conservatively at 1 cent per mile. Your cost for these miles would be zero since the first year fee was waived on these credit cards!
American Airline miles are very useful since they can be used for one-way travel and because you can fly on some fantastic airlines such as British Airways, Jet Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas through American Airline’s membership in the One World Alliance.
However, you do have to pay fuel surcharges on British Airways award tickets (~$300 each way) and American Airlines does charge close-in ticketing fees of $50 if booked 7 to 20 days prior to departure and $100 if booked within 7 days of departure.
You can book flights which are wholly on American Airlines through the AA website, but awards with partners have to be booked through a phone representative for an additional $20.
So where can you go with 150,000 Citi AAdvantage Miles?
I’ve placed a link to “Airline Award Charts” in the ‘Mile and Point Resources” section to make it easy for you to look up different airlines’ award charts easily and figure out where your miles will take you. Just bookmark Millionmilesecrets.com instead of the different airline award charts in your browser!
American Airlines offers 3 types of award charts:
- American Airlines (AA) AAdvantage Award Chart (AA Metal Only)
- American Airlines (AA) (One World Partner Award Chart)
- One World Airlines Distance Based Award Chart – This is great for trips where you will have many stopovers – since you can have up to 16 segments and 1 free stopover per segment
I’ll review the differences between these 3 award charts in a later post.
6 Ways To Use 150,000 American Airline Miles
1) Domestic US Economy
Use 150,000 miles for 6 domestic round-trips at the MileSaver (25,000 miles) within the US (excludes Hawaii) or to Canada. You’ll only pay $5 per ticket in taxes and American Airlines has great award availability! You can check AA availability here.
Sure, you’re not maximizing the value of AA miles here, but since the cost of these miles was zero, any redemption value will benefit you. You’re playing the mile and point game to benefit yourself, so do whatever makes sense for you!
If you use the miles for 6 tickets which would have otherwise cost you $300 each, you are gaining $1,770 (6 X $300 -$5 in taxes).
And you can get even better value if you use them for tickets during Holidays (you’ll need to book way in advance for these), last minute travel (funerals, job interviews, surprise visit to the kids in college etc.), travel to remote airports (Traverse City, Michigan & Toledo, Ohio) where tickets can be north of $450, or travel to Canada or Alaska where tickets are $500+.
2) Domestic US First Class
Use them for 3 domestic (within the US) First Class round-trips at the MileSaver (50,000 miles) level. You’ll only pay $5 per ticket in taxes and American Airlines has even better award availability for MileSaver First Class seats!
The value per mile is also usually higher compared to redeeming for Economy tickets, but then domestic First Class is not priced at market levels since most seats are upgrades by Elites.
Now, domestic First Class on US airlines is nothing great and I’d rather be in Singapore Airlines Economy Cabin than in American Airline’s domestic product, but it might be useful if you want to treat your parents or a special someone who has no intention of ever traveling outside the US! Or if you want to feel important! 🙂
3) First Class on Cathay Pacific to Asia
Fly round-trip on Cathay Pacific First Class from the US to Bali or Thailand or anywhere else in Southeast Asia for only 135,000 miles. This is how I’d use my miles!
If you’re wondering what Cathay Pacific First Class looks like, check out these fantastic trip reports from Gary from View From The Wing blog and Lucky from One Mile At A Time Blog. Gary and Lucky are 2 travelers who know how to spend their miles in style!
4) Fly To Europe or South America
It costs only 40,000, 60,000, 100,000, or 125,000 miles for a roundtrip using economy off-peak, regular economy, business class, or first class awards to Europe or South America.
I’ve flown British Airways First Class and it was wonderful! I had to pay about $600 per person round-trip in fuel charges, but the new British Airways First Class cabin and the Concorde lounge in London made it an experience that I won’t forget in a hurry. If you fly on American Airlines, you won’t pay the fuel surcharges.
We flew to Brazil during Carnival using our United Miles, but I was also checking AA availability and was able to find seats on AA. AA has TERRIFIC availability to South America! How about a trip to Buenos Aires in Argentina, or Santiago, Chile?
5) Fly To India
You can redeem 135,000 miles to fly business class to India on American Airlines and Jet Airlines. I’ve flown on Jet Airlines before and it has a great business class product – including true flat beds, pajamas, and great service.
6) Use Them For OneWorld Airlines Distance Awards
These are little know awards which are distanced based. You can get 1 First Class award for up to 14,000 miles of travel or 1 Busines Class award for up to 25,000 miles of travel.
These are most useful when you are visiting multiple destination in 1 trip since you can have upto 16 segments and 1 stopover per segment. These are great for visiting many countries in Europe or Asia. You do have to travel on 2 OneWorld Airlines besides American Airlines to be eligible for this award.
Bottom Line: You get a lot of options to have Big Travel with Small Money with 150,000 AAdvantage miles.
Over the next month, I’ll cover the details of how to book some of these awards.
How do you want to use your AAdvantage miles?