Ways to buy and use American Airlines AAdvantage miles for a trip to Paris from Sydney?

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I want to go to Paris to Sydney return business class. Depart early July 2015 return late July.

American Airlines has a purchase plus bonus miles plus 10% discount.

I can purchase 90,000 miles and get 30,000 bonus, enough to get there with BA which is available for 120,000 miles.

Do you know what the approx taxes & fees would be for this? Or how I would find out?

Alternatively I could look at a combination of Etihad one direction and BA the other direction needing 135,000 miles. Any idea if I can make two AA purchases, one for 75,000 with 30,000 bonus and another for 25,000 with 7,000 bonus?

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Great Response

I think you can purchase 75K + 30K, then 25K + 7K should work. As the total purchase should be still within the 100k maximum.

But I agree USDM is probably a better option in this instance, as it gives you more flexibility, unless you really want to fly Etihad, which would cost you more miles anyway.

USDM would allow you to fly with CX, MH or JL, with just one stop in Asia (or QF to theseir respective hub city). You can also fly QR with one stop in Doha. It doesn’t matter which Australian port that you found the award availability, you can simply find a connecting QF flight with no extra cost. Most of these airlines all have arguably better business products than BA. AA’s routing rule won’t allow you to do any of these in one award.

But, that is assuming you have an existing USDM account.

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Great Response

As for the number of AA miles you can purchase. The maximum is 100k per account per year (purchased, not bonus) so you’re idea of buying 75k and then another 27k wouldn’t work 🙁

Each AAdvantage member is limited to purchasing or receiving in a calendar year, a combined total of no more than one hundred thousand (100,000) AAdvantage miles. Miles purchased through the Buy Miles program or received as a gift through the Gift Miles program count against this total.

But what you could do is buy the max 100k in AA, then top up some other way, say buing SPG points and then transferring them across to AA… Would work out slightly more expensive but would allow you to get the 135k points you want.

Another option to get around the 100k limit is since you would need to book LHR-AUH and AUH-AU as separate award redemptions is open another account in a family members name and buy the miles for one segment in their account but redeem it for you…

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Good Response

Hi Joy,

I hope you’ve been able to sort out your travel plans.  I thought you might benefit from a couple of pointers regarding American Airlines awards bookings.

First of all, once you have a AAdvantage frequent flyer account, you can log on to their website and search for award availability with a few airlines (American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Finnair, Iberia,  US Airways, Air Berlin, Alaskan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Royal Jordanian). Once you’ve selected award flights, you can continue through to the ‘payment’ page and you’ll see how much the taxes and charges are.  I did this a few times at the start of my AA experience to get an idea of the different taxes that various airlines charge (and there is HUGE variance between them, due to fuel surcharges).

Secondly, the American Airlines site allows you to HOLD any award reservation for 5 full days without paying a cent.  I’ve found this REALLY useful in the past when you come across award availability on a route that you want, but need to discuss it first with someone else.  In those cases, I put in all my details, and on the final page where payment is offered, you’ll see an option to HOLD the reservation.  Importantly also, you don’t need any points in your account to hold an award.  As such, you can be in a position where you have 0 points, find an award flight that tickles your fancy, place it on HOLD, then immediately go and purchase the miles you need (if there is a good deal on).  I’ve managed to do this twice in the past year with great success.  Of course, the 100k miles per year purchase limit still applies, so family members might be able to help you out 😉

Keep that in mind when looking around AA, and best of luck!


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ThankYou, thank you, thank you all, the site & participants are fantastic.

I am learning so much. Lots of reading, joining, discovering. 

Wish I had invested time in gaining knowledge sooner, but hooked now.



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Also worth considering is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

We purchased points a few months ago @ 35% bonus and booked a one-way business class on CX (SYD-HKG-CDG).

Based on Onemileatatime analysis, there will be a points offer soon.


The booking process was really easy and the operator very polite and nice.

Total taxes came to USD132 for the one-way.



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Only the French could come up with a ‘solidarity tax’!

You have lot of comprehensive answers to choose from but I would reiterate that BA is the one to avoid, as both US and AA pass on its fuel surcharge. Best option as mentioned above would be CX, often has good availability as cannot be booked online by AA customers, use Qantas search engine to confirm availability, then ring up AA to book. AA have this week changed their fee policy and do not charge a phone booking fee if you cannot book online.

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Thanks for your reply.

current deal is for purchase by 9 Feb so not enough time to try use Starwood.

I am a member of AA. Current deal allows purchase of 100,000 + bonus – discount. 

USDM allows purchase of max 50,000 + bonus – discount and requires membership for 9 days before purchase so not so good for current promotion although I would love the warm homecoming stopover.

Maybe I will look at going for Etihad on way over through AA, join USDM, and keep fingers crossed for another deal for the way home.

I am a newby and only travel overseas once or twice each year. Your site & now community section is fantastic and has encouraged me to look for deals. 



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    • 3 years ago

    You seem to have a reasonable grasp on it for a newbie :)

    You're right, USDM limit you to 50k+50k purchase so you'd need to get 20k from somewhere else (once again SPG could help with that)... ALso it's 12day membership from USDM, so if you don't have an account then ignore this...

    You could purchase your AA miles before Feb 9 and purchase SPG points straight away as well, and once they post, transfer to AA, once they transfer then you will have the balance you need...

    With USDM they only do return not one way, so wouldn't be a good idea to do AA there and USDM back...

    If you don't know anyone with an AA account already open that you can use, then seriously consider the SPG point purchase and transfer to top up your account that final amount...

    In the mean time, open a couple of extra AA accounts for family for next time ;)

  • Sorry, didn't read that you don't have an existing USDM account. But it wouldn't hurt to join now. Also don't be too bogged down with the current offer. If you look at the pattern in the last few months, USDM is still trying to find the "sweet spot" that they should sell their miles at. Obviously it's unlikely we will see the 100% bonus any more, but they have sales one after the other since Nov last year. So i am sure after current offer, there will be another one until it formally merges with AA.

    Have you ever considered Avianca Lifemiles (LM)? They are running a mile sharing bonus at the moment which practically allows you to buy their miles at 1.5 cents each (USD). Normally their bonus mile purchase would also applied to existing account only, but sharing miles is not restricted to it. The only catch is you need to have some miles to start "sharing". But it's not hard, all you need is purchase 1000 miles at the normal RRP at $33 USD, then transfer that 1000 miles back and forth 2 accounts, then you get 2000, 4000, 8000, 16000.....so on to a maximum of 75000 excluding bonus. Each time you transfer, it costs US$15/1000 miles transferred, but you get 100% bonus each time, so effectively buying miles at 1.5 cents each.

    Avianca is a Star Alliance partner and allows one way redemption. Even though their redemption rate to Europe is higher than AA's, given the mile cost is 25% cheaper than AA's, it works out to be cheaper. Best part is, they don' impose fuel surcharge.

    For star alliance availability between SYD-CDG, your choices are Thai, Asiana and Air China, and availability are generally very good.

    Also worth joining Alaska if you haven't already done so. Alaska allows one way redemption and you can redeem it on CX, although you will need 2 tickets for SYD-CDG. There is no sale currently, but knowing Alaska, they will have a sale in the next month or two.

    Worst comes worst, you can always use Miles plus Cash option on MH to get you back from CDG to SYD if you are still short on miles. All you need is 1000 miles to do it, which you can get when you sign up. The cash component will be about AUD$1700-1800. (~$1350USD, which is about 65000 AA miles at the current discount rate plus bonus) Their award availability is excellent.

    For award travel games, it is important to diversify (but not over diversify) the programs to give you more flexibility in case is one doesn't work out.

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SYD-CDG-SYD on BA Business class taxes would be around 1150AUD Per person, 800AUD of that is BA fuel surcharges which can’t be avoided… BA are one of the only carriers that AA/USDM pass on fuel surcharges for…

You can look this up yourself by using ITA – http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Put in your travel route/dates (dates not that important as taxes shouldn’t really change) and pick your route & carrier, in this case BA SYD-CDG-SYD and then click on the fare and it will show you the breakdown of taxes, just add them up (everything but the base fare).

Consider USDM as well, same number of miles and same price, same bonus on right now (they are about to merge) but USDM will let you be more flexible with your routing where as AA have some funny rules about AU-EU. Plus USDM will let you stop over on the way there or home if you wanted a few days somewhere warm in Asia 🙂 Downside is USDM won’t work on Etihad but AA will (as you point out)

Here are the taxes:

United Kingdom Passenger Service Charge (UB)
Carrier-imposed surcharge (YQ)
Singapore Passenger Service Charge (SG)
Singapore Passenger Security Service Charge (OO)
Australian Passenger Movement Charge (AU)
Australian Int’l Passenger Service Charge (WY)
Australian Int’l Passenger Service Charge (WY)
French Aviation Civile Tax (FR)
French International Passenger Service Charge (QX)
French Airport Tax (FR)
French Air Passenger Solidarity Tax (IZ)
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