Thursday, 3 July 2014


AA seems to be my favourite subject these days. It's not totally surprising, my plan for some time in 2015 is to do Dubai and the Maldives. Etihad flies these routes from Dublin, and you can use AA miles to book Etihad flights.

The major fly in the ointment of course is that there aren't many easy ways of accruing AA miles. You can take out the AAdvantage card from MBNA, which gives you 1.5AA miles per pound spent, and that's about it.

But funnily enough, an SPG transfer bonus announced for the month of July, makes an otherwise unfavourable American Express Membership Rewards route into AA miles somewhat more favourable.

But I need to backtrack a bit. Most of you will be aware that one of the best ways of gathering up reward points to use for travel, is via an American Express (Amex) card. These cards generate membership rewards points, which can be converted into a number of travel reward programmes.

Unfortunately, AA miles is not one of the Amex MR travel reward partners. However, you can transfer into Starwoods (SPG) points, and Starwood DOES allow you to transfer to an AA account.

The transfer ratio from MR->SPG is 2-1. Therefore you need 2 MR points to get 1 SPG point. The transfer ratio from SPG->AA is 1-1. There is an ongoing SPG transfer bonus into airmiles; if you transfer 20K SPG points to an airline partner, they will put in an extra 5K miles.

So the normal formula is 40K MR points -> 20K SPG points -> 25K AA miles. That's not a great transfer ratio, but if there is a need for the AA miles, it does allow you to get them indirectly from MR points.

American Airlines is running a promotion for the month of July. They will uplift any miles transferred from SPG by an extra 20%. So the above now turns into 40K MR->20K SPG->25K AA miles + 5K AA miles = 30K AA miles.  This means you are getting 30K AA miles for every 40K of MR you transfer.

For me, that makes it a bit more worthwhile. I have a decent balance of MR points, and I don't have any other way of generating AA miles, so I'll certainly be taking advantage of it.

NOTE. You need to make sure that you convert round 20K amounts of SPG miles into AA. you only get 5K bonus for every round 20K you transfer.

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