AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines. It has some relevance for Australian frequent flyers, thanks to Qantas and AA’s partnership through oneworld.
American also has a partnership with Etihad Airways, meaning you can earn and use your AA miles when flying with Etihad. Given Etihad’s market penetration in Australia for flights to the Middle East and Europe, this is also worth knowing about.
In short, American Airlines miles can be earned on most oneworld carriers like Qantas, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Fiji Airways as well as Etihad Airways and China Southern flights, and redeemed for flights on those same airlines too.
A great use of AA miles is for Business Class travel on Qatar Airways
AA seems to be targeting some members for elite status in their program, which is part of the oneworld alliance. I was successful in getting Platinum status and it was reflected in my account within 24 hours. Try the links in the following order from most beneficial to least:
- Platinum Pro (= oneworld Sapphire = Qantas Gold): HV18T
- Platinum (= oneworld Sapphire = Qantas Gold): HV18P
- Gold (for only three months) (= oneworld Ruby = Qantas Silver): HVL8G, HV18M or HV18G
If successful, you’ll get free status until 25 May 2018 and there are requalification requirements if you want to extend.
It would be wise to try to status match to another program before you are downgraded again. LATAM Pass seems to be a popular choice at the moment.
If you don’t already have an AAdvantage account, you can sign up for one for free and then try your luck.
Earning and redeeming AAdvantage miles on Qantas flights
American Airlines AAdvantage miles are generally earned at a lesser rate on Qantas domestic flights than Qantas Points, thanks to the Qantas 1,000-point minimum guarantee on Qantas flights for Qantas Frequent Flyer members.
This is offset by the generally much cheaper opportunities to redeem AAdvantage miles for medium and long-haul travel, especially in Business and First Class.
The AAdvantage award chart for Australian redemptions is a simple 10,000/20,000 miles for one-way in Economy/Business Class, for any route between any origin and destination in Australia that a oneworld airline operates—Qantas being the only option.
For short hops, this is poor value—but for longer routings, it’s good value in comparison to Qantas Frequent Flyer.
20,000 AA miles for a cross-country trek in Qantas’ A330 Business Class is a fantastic choice
You can also redeem a lower number of AAdvantage miles for travel in Business and First Class to Asia using AAdvantage too, e.g. 40,000 miles for a one-way Business Class flight to Singapore.
We also have a full guide to using AA miles to get to Europe.
Earning AAdvantage miles from credit cards
There’s no credit card in Australia that allows you to earn AAdvantage miles directly, but American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest, and those Starpoints can then be transferred to AAdvantage.
The transfer rate is 1:0.5 for Amex to Starpoints, and then 1 Starpoint to 1 AAdvantage mile—so 1 Membership Reward point can be converted to 0.5 AAdvantage miles through Starwood Preferred Guest. There is also a bonus for larger transfers of 20,000 or more Starpoints.
Another popular way to get your hands on AA miles is through buy miles promotions. Check the Offer history in the following guide to get the best deal.