Methods to earn in American Airlines AAdvantage program from Australia

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Over the past 1.5 years I’ve had significant exposure to and use of AAdvantage frequent flyer program.  Upon a comparison to the QFF program, AAdvantage awards require significantly less points for international fares on Qantas metal.  In addition, applicable taxes when redeeming through AAdvantage are substantially less then on QFF, and that’s when flying on Qantas metal.

By way of example, I recently flew Qantas first class from Dublin – Sydney (via London) for 80,000 AA miles plus AU$87.90 taxes and charges.  The exact same award seat on the Qantas site (at the time I booked it) required 192,000 QFF miles plus approx AU$630.

I picked up the 80,000 AA miles through a heavily discounted points purchase and was able to redeem immediately, which worked out extremely well for me on that occasion.  I’ve also since amassed some AA miles through crediting AA when flying AA’s partners.

With a view to increasing my AAdvantage mileage balance, I’m wondering if anyone among us is aware of tricks, means, ways to earn in the AAdvantage program from Australia other than through flying.

The only method I’m aware of is by getting miles into Starwood and then transferring 1:1 to AAdvantage.  From Australia, it’s possible to transfer from AU American Express Rewards to Starwood at 1:0.5.  The David Jones AMEX cards provide a neat way of getting AA miles through the Starwood program.

Are there any others?  I’d be grateful for any input or tips.

Thanks,

Jack

  • Is the DJ Amex card points the same as normal AA points or are they different?
  • Hi Matthew, can you explain your question a bit more? The rewards you earn from DJ Amex will be either Amex Rewards points or Qantas Rewards points. I'm confused by your reference to 'AA'. Do you mean 'AA' as in AU American Express? AA is also commonly used to refer to American Airlines and their program called AAdvantage.
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A good way of getting more AA miles is varying your hotel booking methods. Use Rocketmiles at least once which often has a 3000-5000 first bonus.Long term I find it overpriced.

Pointshound has a promo for 100 free AA miles at present just for signing up – no purchase neccessary https://www.pointshound.com/aadvantage

AA shopping portal has Accor, Crowne Plaza, and Choice (quality inn etc) at 3 miles a dollar. Book when there is a 500 or 1000 mile bonus for spending on the portal. In my experience all IHG brands earn miles, even if the link only specifies Crowne Plaza.

If flying in Europe pick BA or Iberia, whose cheapest economy fares earn 100% and 80% respectively on AA. If flying to Dublin regularly, SYD-SIN-LHR-DUB on BA would be a tidy earner at nearly 22,000 miles return even in discount economy.

 

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You’ve got most of them covered.

DJ Amex and other Amex cards will transfer SPG -> AA

Diners will also transfer to SPG… (don’t write off the diners card, it’s accepted in a few places, ie post office, supermarkets etc..)

Hotel stays you will find rocket miles and pointshound (My pointshound ref link: https://pointshound.com/kousal ) give some great AA miles…

Car rentals (check the aa website for special deals)

http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/earnMiles/travel/rentalCars/main.jsp

Also don’t forget USDM is merging with AA at a 1:1 ratio this year so if you can earn more USDM than AA on something then take it…

Also AA eshopping portal can offer some ok deals sometimes…

And last some people have managed to get a US CC that will earn AA miles directly, but not for the feint hearted… need a US SSN etc…

 

  • Cheers F, I'm all over the USDM program and merger. Looking forward to that points transfer happening later this year. I think it's time for me to look at AMEX Rewards offers and cards. I'd much rather be earning and transferring to AA through SPG than earning with QFF. Cheers for the info!
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Amex is certainly the most economical route.

If you require a non-amex route (albeit at a high cost) consider the Diners club + world mastercard combo that’s available from diners australia:

http://www.dinersclub.com.au/personal_overview.htm

Comes with a hefty annual fee of $389 and the diners club card is next to useless.

However it’s the only non-amex in Australia that is able to transfer (both natively) to AA, and via SPG.

  • Thanks John, that's very interesting. The $389 annual fee is quite high. However, the idea of earning 3 Diners Club points per dollar spend, which would equate to 1.5 SPG points per $1, is really good. My preference would be to transfer first into SPG to take advantage of their bonus 25% when you transfer 20,000 SPG to AA, giving you a total of 25,000 AA miles. By my reckoning, AU$13,333 would get you 40,000 diners points = 20,000 SPG = 25,000 AA miles. The issue of course is acceptance of the Diners card. I'll keep an eye out. It may be possible to manufacture spend by purchasing large items on the Diners Card. Food for thought! Many thanks!
  • Got to disagree with John that Diners is useless - its accepted at a surprising large number of retailers (all the supermarkets, David Jones, Myer etc), if anything accpetance of the card is less in restaurants which is ironic given its name. The Diners + world MC combo really starts racking up points when you use your Diners club on "dine out Wednesday" when you earn (from memory) 2 extra points per dollar for any purchases at cafes and restaurants on the Wednesday, so your earning 5 points per dollar - I use mine at places like Chrysler Cafe (minimum purchase $10). Also you can pay your tax using the MC - so you're earning 1.25 points per dollar - much better than the 0.5 per dollar from AMEX! Also if you are acrruing QF miles using your Everyday Rewards card - dont forget to top up at Woolies on your Opal card and use your Diners to pay and earn points on both. You can also register your Diners Club with Paypal - use the Discover option - same goes for other US based online purchases that take Disover. Definitely recommend the Diners Club option.
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Jack – your note on the David Jones Amex route is very appropriate, a great secret that this earns at 2 MR : 1 SPG and offers 4 MR points at DJ’s, 3 at Supers/Fuel, 1 elsewhere.

Other than hotel stays and accruing your Qantas flights to AAdvantage, there’s not many other options.

A small other earner for me – Europcar car rentals. They earn 50 AAdvantage miles per day, which on a longer term rental can add up to a larger earn than you would get from other programs.

  • Thanks Keith. For hotel stays, do you use Rocektmiles or some such program, or book directly through AAdvantage site (when not using StayAngel of course!).
  • I usually book direct. I should probably use Rocketmiles, Kaligo or the like but usually end up trying to use points or benefits that only come with a direct booking.

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