My cousin called me yesterday afternoon to ask a question about her American Airlines miles expiring. She has a stash of miles expiring in a few months and didn’t even know that miles expire. I gave her a short answer because I was heading home from the mall to get ready for dinner. But it got me thinking, that maybe I hadn’t given her the best advice or even all the options, so I did some research and here’s what I’d tell her now.
Yup, your miles will expire if you don’t have activity in your account every 18 months. If you have no plans to fly to keep your account active, there are plenty of options. My cousin could:
Apply for a Citi AAdvantage or Barclays Aviator Credit Card.
Make a hotel reservation or car rental with an AAdvantage hotel or car rental partner. As long as her American Airlines frequent flyer number is linked to the reservation, she’ll get activity in her account and keep her miles alive.
Link a credit card to the American Airlines dining program. She can link American Airlines and then get miles when she eats at select restaurants.
Shop online using the AAdvantage shopping portal.
Buy or gift miles, redeem for a magazine subscription, or donate miles to any of American Airline’s partner charities.
Since my travel has started ramping up in 2017, I decided it was time to sit down and look at my strategy for earning airline elite status in the coming year. Which means…spreadsheet time!
A portion of my elite status planning spreadsheet
Where I am Today
I currently have Alaska Airlines MVP Gold, United Airlines Gold, and Virgin America Silver elite statuses. I’ve already credited a couple of trips to my Alaska Airlines account (two on American Airlines and one on Delta). Most of my confirmed flights later this year are on American Airlines or other OneWorld carriers. Continue reading →
I’m a bit late on this, but I wanted to let you know that we started a round-the-world trip earlier this week and will be sharing some updates along the way.
After spending the weekend with some friends in Austin, we took off for Madrid in business class on an American 787-9 – booked with Citi Thank You Points and upgraded with AA System Wide Upgrades. (Four other friends were on our same flight, but we left them behind in Premium Economy…and then they left us behind at the Madrid airport!)
AA business class on the 787 Dreamliner. Image from aa.com
Good morning and buenos dias amigos! This weekend, I will be heading to South America for a week. First stop is Bogota, Colombia, then down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then onto Iguazu Falls (on the border of Argentina and Brazil). Here is how we planned the trip (Great Circle Mapper):
SFO-DFW-BOG in economy on American Airlines using 20,000 AA miles + $26.20 taxes/fees
BOG-EZE-IGR in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas using 25,000 KLM miles
IGR-EZE in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas for $140.70
EZE-MIA in business + MIA-ORD-SFO in first on American Airlines for 57,500 AA miles + $93.46 taxes/fees
If you or someone you know has a Mexican passport or resident card, they might be leaving money on the table when they purchase airline tickets to/from/through Mexico.
When you purchase a plane ticket to Mexico, the fare has a tourism tax built in – similar to US customs and immigration fees. This fee goes toward the cost of immigration processing and the arrival / departure card required for foreign visitors. The fee is 390 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $20 USD.
Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax – exchange rate as of December 18, 2016.