Monday, April 10, 2006

Earn a minimum of 20,000 miles flying between San Francisco and Sidney

If you're planning on a trip from the US exploring Australia, now is your chance for an amazing bonus miles deal from Quantas airlines. Quantas the Australian airline is a partner with American Airlines.

The basic deal is that if you book a flight in the "S" fare class as well as an Aussie Airpass they will give you 12,583 bonus miles on top of the 7,417 miles you already will be getting from the return flight.

Now one thing to be aware is that "S" fare gives you 50% of the actual miles flown. The rules say that the ticket must be booked in "S" class. I guess that means if you fly with a more expensive fare class you wont get the bonus, which to me is odd. You might want to call Quantas to ask about it.

Another thing to think about is that Quantas currently has a $999 deal for an Aussie Airpass which includes a flight from LAX or SFO . Is this eligible for the bonus miles? I don't know as it doesn't mention the fare class.

For any of you looking to try these out please call Quantas and post what you find out in the comments.

Read the full details here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Earn up to 15,000 bonus miles for travel on our new nonstop between Chicago and Shanghai, China

As a service to my readers I'm posting the latest bonus milage offers here. Subscribe!

Special offer between Chicago and Shanghai
Travel between April 2, 2006 through June 30, 2006

American Airlines is proud to announce new daily nonstop service between Chicago O'Hare and Shanghai, China, beginning April 2, 2006. To celebrate our new destination, AAdvantage members can earn bonus miles each time they fly round-trip between Chicago and Shanghai from April 2, 2006 through June 30, 2006 as follows:
  • 15,000 bonus miles for round-trip travel in First or Business Class
  • 7,500 bonus miles for round-trip travel in selected Economy Class fares (fares booked in Y, B, H, and K)
Bonus may be earned an unlimited number of times. Register prior to travel by clicking the red register button below.
Terms and Conditions:

AAdvantage bonus mile offer is valid on American Airlines marketed and operated nonstop flights between ORD and PVG, April 2, 2006 through June 30, 2006. Offer applies only to AAdvantage members who purchase and fly on eligible published fare tickets. Bonus miles will be awarded based on the booking class purchased and do not count toward elite status qualification. For the purpose of this bonus, a round trip is defined as travel in the same purchased booking class for both the departure and the return transpacific flight segments. Registration prior to travel is required.

Earning extra bonus points

The AAdvantage program gives you lots of opportunities to earn extra bonus points through special offers announced on their Airlines Offers page.

These are normally created to promote a new or quiet route. I don't recommend travelling just to get these bonus points, but if you're going to say Shanghai why not go for the bonus as well?

The important thing to remember for these bonuses is that you have to register for them. If you are already logged in to all you have to do is click the register button. By registering you do NOT obligate yourself in anyway. But if you don't do it and take the flight you wont get the bonus.

Some bonus are based on class of service. The current Shangai bonus for example gives you 15,000 miles in business or first class and 7,500 on coach.

Some have also been acumulative. I once earnt a ridiculous amount of points on a promotion where they would increase the bonus for each time I crossed the atlantic.

Rather than checking all the time. I will try to do so for you and post the relevant offers here so all you have to do is subscribe with your blog feed reader.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

American offers 25th anniversary offer to AAdvantage Elite members

Just received this in my inbox:

This year, we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the AAdvantage Travel Rewards Program, a milestone we are very proud of. As part of the celebration, we have developed a special reward opportunity exclusively for our AAdvantage elite status members, like you.

For AAdvantage Platinum® members who earn 75,000 elite qualifying miles or points by December 31, 2006, we are offering the opportunity to select a special reward. If you meet this goal at year-end you can choose one of the following with our compliments:

  • Four 500-mile upgrades
  • Two Admirals Club® One-Day Passes
  • 10,000 AAdvantage Bonus Miles
  • Gift of Gold Status for a Friend

This special reward does not require any mileage redemption or any additional fees. It's our way of saying thank you for making American Airlines® your airline of choice

Thats a pretty good deal. I was wondering if they were going to do anything special for their anniversary.

Read more on the AA web site.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Earning and using AAdvantage miles in Europe

Through the one world alliance Aadvantage members can both earn and use miles on other airlines. For example I live in Europe and can use the following airlines with pretty much the same benefits as if I was flying on American:
This means that I can earn and use miles on these airlines. I just have to remember to give them my AAdvantage number when I buy or check in.

I do have to say of these Iberia is the worst for earning miles as they only give 30% of the miles flown for economy class flights. Their service is notoriously offensive as well. That said they are as good as anyone else for using miles, so it would not be a bad idea to use them for a trip to the Canaries which costs only 20,000 miles from a European location.

If you are Platinum you have all the benefits of priority check in and lounge access with the above airlines. The only problem is the lack of any real upgrade scheme. However I have heard of people being able to sweet talk their way to one.

To use the miles go to this relatively new award chart on the AA web site.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Platinum challenge success

They finally posted the miles from my return flights and I have become platinum. Complete with 100% bonus for my last flight and all.

I am very happy that this became a successfull double challenge as I received a few extra miles in the way of the 25% Gold bonus for the flights I made between reaching gold and platinum, which works out to 2195 miles extra. I was also able to use some of the gold member benefits such as electronic upgrades.

What this does mean is that it may be possible for you to first sign up for the gold challenge, then wait a couple of days to do the platinum challenge. Write here if you manage to do so.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Made it to Gold now waiting for Platinum

I'm now back from a little vacation and have flown at least 11000 base miles. They are taking a while to show up at the moment, but will report back when I have the full miles of the trip.

So I had originally signed up for the Gold Challenge and then called a week or so later to change it to the platinum challenge.

Funny thing happened though. The made me gold through the challenge anyway. So they hadn't actually removed that anyway? My guess is that it got removed from the front end system, but that the low level process that triggers the challenge still was there.

We had 2 upgrades. One paid for by miles and the other by upgrade credits as we were now gold and could use them.

Now I have done the miles necessary for the plat challenge. I'm just waiting for the miles to post. I'll report back.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Official AA rules for the Platinum Challenge

The following are the rules related to my last post on Gold and Platinum challenges. On a little side note, I think AA should be commended on the friendly language in the email. It's great:

**** CALL 800-421-0600 OR SEND US EMAIL VIA AA.COM ****

Thanks for speaking with me about your AAdvantage account. We have put you on a Challenge for AAdvantage Platinum membership. Congratulations - and Good Luck!

Here are some helpful tips:

* Remember that Challenges are based on points, not miles, and your goal is 10,000 points in the three-month period we discussed. If you're not sure how you earn points, read on. (That's why you wanted this email, right?)
* Use American Airlines (of course!) and other elite-qualifying carriers to maximize your earnings. These elite carriers are Aer Lingus, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, Qantas and Alaska Airlines (and their eligible affiliates). When you earn miles on AA or on these carriers, you also earn points. Only points count toward your Challenge. (But remember that there are some fares on these carriers that are not eligible to earn miles or points. You can easily check out these rules on

# when you select 'Partners and Mileage Programs' and then navigate to the particular airline.)Select fares with high point values. If, for example, you use Deep Discount Fares, get ready to fly 20,000 miles because those fares earn points at half the rate of miles. But if you buy Discount Fares, the rate is one point per mile and you can meet your Challenge by flying 10,000 elite-qualifying miles. And if you select premium fares, you earn 1.5 points per mile and can meet the Challenge by flying just - OK, you do the math!
# Know the point values you'll earn for the booking codes you select. Yes it may look like alphabet soup, but there's a point to these codes. In fact, there's anywhere from .5 - 1.5 points!
# Earn 1.5 points per mile when the purchased fare on your American Airlines ticket begins with one of these booking codes: A F P D I J B Y
# Earn 1.0 point per mile for these AA booking codes: H K L M V W
# Earn .5 points per mile for these AA booking codes: G N O* Q** S (sorry, you knew there had to be an asterisk somewhere)
# Equivalent booking codes for the other elite-qualifying carriers are included on the various airline pages on
# How can you determine what booking code is used for the fare you're purchasing? Simply ask the booking agent, whether that's your travel agent, corporate travel planner or AA Reservations representative. Or, even better, when you book your flights on, the Flight Summary screen displays the booking code in the same column as the cabin booked
# Here's an easy way to keep track of your progress: Before you take your first flight in the Challenge period, look at your YTD Elite Qualifying Points. You can access this information when you login to with your AAdvantage number and password. (If I've just lost you, call us at 800-421-0600 and request the email on ' Login and Passwords.') Click on 'View My Miles' and your Mileage Summary (displayed on the left) includes your YTD Elite Qualifying Points. Add 10,000 to this number and that's what you're shooting for. At the end of your Challenge, if your YTD Elite Qualifying Points are 10,000 more than when you started, victory is yours and you'll see 'Status: Platinum' on your Home Page right below your name when you login to

A Challenge is intended for members who are in a hurry to get to the elite level they desire. Think of it as a shortcut to the status you would probably earn on your own during the normal 12-month qualification period.
If you meet your Challenge goal, then you will be expected to requalify the following year by meeting the normal criteria. We know you can do it.

Now here are those pesky but important footnotes:

*O -- only eligible domestic fares booked in O will count

**Q -- excludes American Airlines transatlantic fares booked in Q and equivalent booking codes on participant airlines

AAdvantage Customer Service

Becoming Gold or Platinum quick through the challenge

Did you know that American Airlines have two secret programs called Gold and Platinum Challenge? You won't find any information about this on their web site, but it is one of those great insider secrets shared around between frequent flier afficionados on their various web forums.

Basically the idea is that AA want to reward you if you think you are going to be flying alot in a short period. The really cool thing is that you can achieve elite status on something as short as a transatlantic flight.

The rules are basically the same, but the milage requirement differs. You have 3 months to achieve:
  • 5000 QPoints for Gold
  • 10000 QPoints for Platinum
QPoints is based on miles and the level of service you fly. On First, Business and Full fare you receive 1.5 points per mile flown. On most discount fares it's 1 to 1. Finally on what they call deep discount flights you get 0.5 points per mile. See the AAdvantage Qualification Requirements page for exact info.

So what is the best way to do this? First of all avoid fares that are deep discount. I very rarely get them when booking on Basically avoid fares where the code starts with G, Q, N or S.

If you are about to take a transatlantic flight, check the fare code and the miles. A typical transatlantic leg is about 3500-5500 miles depending on which coast you are flying to or from. So you are already nearly there for gold and with the return trip nearly there for platinum. What if you don't have the full 5000 or 10,000 miles? A little known trick is to change the routing of your flight. You can often get away with this for no or very little extra cost if you book it directly at

Lets say you want to go from London to Boston. This is only 3250. If you instead change the routing to go via Miami or Chicago you can get 5670 or 4803 miles respectfully instead. With a little creativity it is very easy. On the Chicago route add another stopover somewhere in and you should be fine.

In the above example if you think you are only going on one trip this year you might as well stick with the gold challenge, so you get some of the benefits for the return trip. Otherwise if possible go with the platinum challenge.