4 Ways to Use Your American Airlines Increased Sign-up Bonus Offer
Citi is out with bigger mileage bonuses on their co-branded American Airlines AAdvantage cards, offering up to 70,000 miles as a signup bonus.
The personal card, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard will net you 60,000 AA miles after spending $3,000 in 3 months. And the Citibusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard gets you 70,000 miles after spending $4,000 in 3 months. These card offers can be found on our Top Credit Cards page.
It’s easy to get lost in the terms and conditions, perks and benefits and rules for applying. But here’s the bottom line: Some serious travel is in sight with just one bonus from one of these cards. Here are a few quick examples.
Cheaper Domestic Trips
American Airlines offers AAdvantage Platinum Select cardholders a novel way to reduce the cost of domestic round trips from the normal 25,000 miles to 15,750 miles. With the 63,000 miles you’ll get from this card, that’s four round-trip flights.
They’re called Reduced Mileage Awards, starting with 7,500 off a round trip ticket on flights of 500 miles or more (shorter hops also get a good discount). Factor in the 10% instant rebate you get on mileage redemptions by holding the AAdvantage Platinum Select card, and the savings are even greater.
AA puts out a list of which airports qualify for these discounted flights every month. The good news is that as long as either your origin or destination airport is listed, you should qualify for the discount. It requires some extra legwork to book these tickets, as you can’t simply book them online. But given the savings here, it’s worth the extra effort.
You’ll first need to find a saver-level award for the seat on AA.com, as these are the only tickets that qualify for the additional savings. Once you’ve found the award space, call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 and feed them the flight information. You’ll also need to provide the corresponding Reduced Mileage award code from the AA site.
Trust us, it sounds more complicated than it truly is. And seeing as you can save 30% of your miles and squeeze four trips out of one bonus, it’s worth it.
Head to Europe
A single sign-up bonus can get you to Europe and back. If you time it right, you can book a round-trip flight to Europe for just 45,000 miles. No matter when you’re traveling, a round trip in economy on American or Oneworld partners like British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair will run you 60,000 AA Miles.
AA’s award chart carves out even better deals on flights to Europe during off-peak travel seasons: Just 45,000 miles. Off-peak travel is defined as Nov. 1-Dec. 14 and Jan. 10-March 14.
If you want to fly in style, you can book into business class for 57,500 miles one way. Off-peak discounts don’t extend to business or first class tickets. However, that’s still substantially cheaper than what many airlines charge for a seat in business class across the Atlantic ocean.
Just beware that award space on American Airlines flights can be tough to come by. You’ll want to start searching far ahead to lock in a good saver-level price and make that big bonus go farther. Luckily, a handful of oneworld partner airlines are much easier to book.
Fly In Your Own Apartment
It might be the ultimate first-world problem that it’s difficult to measure leg room flying first class on an Etihad A380. Do you measure your seat? Or the separate bed? Etihad calls it the Apartment, and it lives up to the hype. With just one bonus from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card, this posh flight is in your grasp.
You get your own private, high-walled suite and space to stretch out, all to yourself. A cozy bar on board just sweetens the deal. Oh, and you can take a shower at 38,000 feet, too.
Etihad isn’t a oneworld airline but partners directly with American, meaning you can book these flights with your AA miles. The best way to enjoy this for cheap is flying between London-Heathrow (LHR) and Abu Dhabi (AUH), Etihad’s hub in the UAE. It will run you 62,500 AA miles for the seven-hour flight, as will a flight between AUH and Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG). With the 60,000 mile bonus and the extra miles you’ll get from the $3,000 minimum spend, you can book this and still have miles to spare.
Flights to and from the U.S. are substantially more expensive, at 115,000 miles. However, if you’re making your way around Europe or across the globe, you could hardly do better than a flight in an Etihad Apartment.
QSuite on the Cheap
A flight in one of the world’s best business class cabins is within reach with a single credit card bonus. Qatar Airways flies its newest planes equipped with world-leading QSuites to Doha (DOH) from New York-JFK, Washington-Dulles (IAD) and Chicago-O’Hare (ORD). These flights cost 70,000 AA miles one way, which means you may be just a few thousand miles shy after your bonus.
Smart spending or an existing AA balance could put you over the top. Otherwise, it could make sense to buy the rest of the miles to make this flight a reality.
On the other hand, the 70,000-mile welcome bonus on the business card will get you enough miles right off the bat. Despite the “business” name, almost anyone can apply for one of these cards.
Part of a sound points and miles strategy is capitalizing on these enhanced mileage offers. At Thrifty Traveler, we collect these points for a reason: to see more of the world, and see it in style.
This latest promotion from Citi unlocks some value that you otherwise may not be able to afford. It’s worth considering putting these cards in your wallet for that reason alone. These card offers can be found on our Top Credit Cards page.