Sunday, 15 December 2013


How to get 60,000 AAdvantage miles for £150
And why you should seriously look into it !

Stop Press
You need to act quick on this, the sign up bonus is due to end on the 31st of January. Note in the step by step below, you can refer your partner as soon as you get your card, you don't have to wait for your signup bonus to post.

UK airline reward collectors quite naturally fixate on British Airways, its the home airline and thus has the most flight destinations originating from the UK, and also has the best opportunities for accruing reward points, be it with Tesco, American Express Membership Rewards or whatever.

However, sometimes you need to look out there and see if there are other opportunities with other airlines that you should be taking advantage of.

It has recently struck me that American Airlines provides some great routes out of the UK, and some unique access to routes out of the USA that can not be accessed via British Airways. Although both BA and AA are part of the OneWorld alliance, AA also has its own agreements with airlines, with which you can use AA rewards (but not Avios).

A couple of those airlines that spring to mind are Eithad, and Hawaiian. Want to fly to the UAE ?? BA charges 80K Avios and about £400 for a business return to Dubai. But book on AA and it'll cost 60K AA awards and about £200 to fly to Abu Dhabi on Eithad.  Out of Dublin (important to me as I'm in Ireland), its 60K AA award miles plus just £100 or so. What about flying on awards from San Diego to Honolulu direct ? You'll not do it using Avios. But 75K AA miles plus £3 will get you two one-way business class flights.

The downside of course is that here in the UK, there are few opportunities to collect sufficient AA miles for a couple of award flights.

Enter the American Express Starwood (SPG) card !
21K sign-up bonus

The signup bonus for this card is 21,000 SPG points (or only 20,000 if you don't go via my referral link). The bonus is awarded when you spend £2000 in the first 3 months. The card fee is £75 a year.  But hold on I hear you say, what has hotel points got to do with American Airlines points ??  Starwood is one of the few hotel groups that let you transfer their points to a whole host of airline partners, one of which is American Airlines. Even better, for every 20K points you transfer, they'll transfer an additional 5K points.

The following is a step-by-step guide to getting over 60K AA miles, for an outlay of £150.
  1. If you don't already have one, open up a Starwood SPG membership. Its free, and it will be where your earned Starwood points will land. You can find the home page here.
  2. Go via my referral link and sign up for the American Express SPG card. The sign-up form will request your Starwood account number. For some reason, the area to input your number isn't long enough (it's an on-going issue), but don't worry about that. Once you receive your Starwood card, phone up the customer service number on the back and tell them your Starwood number.
  3. Spend £2000 within the first 3 months. Your £2000 spend will generate you 2000 SPG points, plus you'll get the 21,000 sign-up bonus. So you'll end up with 23K points. It you do the required spend within 2-3 weeks, the bonus will post promptly - you don't have to wait the 3 months for the bonus to appear.
  4. Refer your partner, or another family member for the card. Remember to open up a separate SPG account for them. You will receive 5000 points for referring them (giving you 28K SPG points in total) and they will end up with 23K points once they spend £2000 (another £75 card fee will apply).
  5. Now it's time to gather the two groups of points into one account. If both you and your partner live at the same address, then you can do this immediately. Otherwise, go into your partner's SPG account, and change their registered address to match yours, and then wait 30 days. SPG only allow transfer of SPG points between accounts that have the same address for at least 30 days.
  6. Use the online facility to request a transfer of your partner's SPG points to your SPG account. You'll find that form HERE.
  7. Once this is done, you will end up with one SPG account with 51K points in it.
  8. Open up an American Airlines frequent flyer account, called Aadvantage.
  9. Instruct Starwood to transfer your 51K SPG points to you AA account. Remember that every 20K you transfer, SPG will transfer another 5K, this will result in getting 61K AA miles.

And there you have it, you now have enough AAdvantage points to book a return business class flight  from London to Abu Dhabi, or indeed 2 one-way flights.

Note that currently, the 21K referral bonus is being advertised to expire at the end of January. I would suggest you apply promptly. Also, ensure you refer your partner before the end of January, so as they also get the full sign-up bonus.

If anyone has any questions, leave them in the comments section below, and I'll respond promptly.

My next post will cover some of the ways you can push money through credit cards to hit the spend requirements to activated the bonus points.

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