To celebrate its 20th birthday, the American AAdvantage program challenged its members to turn 20 partner transactions into 20,000 bonus miles.
With a little research (ok, a lot of research), we have pieced together a way to get your 20 partners – and 20,000 bonus miles — without breaking the bank. When AAdvantage first announced its 20,000 for 20 different partners promotion, the response was lukewarm at best. Following closely on the heels of Northwest’s 10K partner promo, the AAdvantage promotion appeared to suffer by comparison, requiring that members use four times as many partners for only twice the miles – and each partner can only be counted once. Twenty different partners is a big stumbling block, and you could certainly be forgiven if you were one of those who initially passed on this promo. By Anne Leonard But when 20,000 miles are at stake, a more thorough investigation is called for. As the largest, and probably the most diverse, program in existence, AAdvantage has no shortage of partners. Certainly, if you already use AAdvantage as one of your primary programs, this promotion will be no problem. But, even if AAdvantage is not your primary program, we found that you can rack up about 10 partners with relative ease — change rent a car companies a couple of times, stay in a few different hotels, etc. It’s the next 10 that require a little more creativity. But it can certainly be done. And we found that it can be done relatively cheaply as well.
Before we show you how we did it, let us share some general tips and guidelines that we learned while navigating this multi-faceted promotion.
Forget the Double Dip, How About the Triple Dip?
As far as we can tell the Hilton Fast Track to Gold is still in full swing, as is the HHonors Double Double promotion. Once you sign up for Hilton Fast Track to Gold, the timer is set for you to stay at four HHonors properties within 90 days at Double Dip rates. To sign up, call the service center and request code EWRDC. After your first Double Dip stay between June 1 and Aug. 31, every subsequent stay will garner double miles. Furthermore, if you pay with an American Express card, you will earn double points as well. Stay at four different hotels and, not only will you receive the 50,000 bonus HHonors points for the Fast Track promotion, but these will count as separate partners for the 20K promotion. You could even earn a quadruple dip if you are an HHonors member, book a Hampton stays online and win its sweepstakes. But for now back to the 20 partners.
Make This Promotion More Lucrative
We’ve tried to compile the 20 most fortuitous ways to earn the 20,000 bonus miles. But just because we didn’t spend a lot doesn’t mean we didn’t try to maximize our points and miles earnings. Completing some of your partner transactions with an American Express card will help boost your HHonors points total as double points can only be earned when paying with an American Express card. Being an AOL subscriber will give you a better choice when you want to clock up the partners when shopping via AOL. For example, get a quote for a vehicle and earn miles for the effort.
Our Road to 20,000
Now, let’s get down to specifics. When we set out to get our 20 partners, we wanted to do it as cheaply and with as little hassle as possible. Of course, you’re individual circumstances will probably lead you down a slightly different path, but the following list of partner transactions came the closest to fulfilling our criteria.
1. Sign up for a trial subscription to Time magazine. You will earn 250 miles for your efforts and the trial lasts for three months. If you have not cancelled your subscription once the three months is up, you will automatically be charged for an annual subscription. Real Simple magazine is another option, although you probably wouldn’t be interested in this promotion if you were interested in pursuing a real simple lifestyle. Don’t dilly dally on this one. Web pages, especially those on the AOL AAdvantage awards site, tend to disappear quickly. In this case, the “Act Now” button is no euphemism.
2. Sign up for AOL quick check out. As well as earning 500 bonus miles that will count as a credit, this service also comes in handy when you begin to shop via AOL AAdvantage.
3. Switch your Dining for Miles preference to AAdvantage by calling (800) 818-2040. The same restaurants participate, so there is no need to get a new directory.
4. Assuming you collect miles with MCI WorldCom, and not with AT&T or Sprint, switch your miles-earning preference to AAdvantage. It is possible to do this online via Account Manager at www.mci.com/ cgibin/WebObjects/oam.woa/9/wa/logon.
5. Collect five Kelloggs certificates. Make sure the certificates are on the box before you purchase them. Participating brands include Nutri-Grain bars, Nutri-Grain Twists, Nutri-Grain Squares, Pastry Swirls, Eggo Waffles, Miniwheats, Low-Fat Granola, Cracklin Oat Bran, Complete Oat Bran, Complete Wheat Bran, Muselix, All Bran and Just Right. This is a pretty good deal, especially if you are a thrifty shopper.
You can also get a head start with this partner by having someone email you a 100-mile certificate. Link: http://126.96.36.199/promotions/advantage/html/sendafriend.html It is not possible to mix and match certificates, so make sure you have four of the same to add to your online token.
If you see pink ribbons gracing Kellogg’s Special K or SmartStart cereals, you could be in for a bonus 500 miles if you donate a minimum of $10 to the Komen Race for the Cure.
6. Sign up for Alaska Mileage Plan online and earn 500 miles. Convert these miles to AAdvantage miles via Points.com. You will only get 59 AAdvantage miles due to the ridiculous conversion rate, but, more importantly, you will also get one partner credit. This option, however, is not worth it unless you are already a member of Points.com, since it costs $14.95 to join the program. The fact that you have to pay for the privilege of getting the lousiest conversion rate in the industry just stinks.
7. Join BMG Music Direct. Members get one CD for the cost of shipping and handling. Then, after you buy one CD at the regular price, you get 10 more for just the cost of shipping and handling. There is also a fee of $2.77 for the enrollment package.
8. Does a 10oz. Jar of Lemonaise Light from Hickory Farms whet your appetite? At a cost of $4.95, this is one of the least expensive partner transactions you’ll come across. You will also qualify for the double miles from AOL AAdvantage if you buy before Aug. 15. If Lemonaise Light doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there are other options, such as an 11oz jar of Fran’s Caramel Syrup for $7.45.
9. Donate to National Parks. A minimum of $10 will qualify as a partner credit. There are also other charities to choose from in the AAdvantage Fund Raising program.
10. ClickRewards. There are several ways to earn ClickMiles. For example, you could send in an EyeSpy to us and, if we select yours, we will award you ClickMiles. Your submission could even be a creative way to earn another partner in the 20K promotion. The odds are tough though, because we only pick one winner per month. But, even if your submission doesn’t get selected, there are several other ways for you to earn ClickMiles. Check out www.clickrewards. com. A minimum of 250 ClickMiles can be converted into 250 AAdvantage miles.
11. Stay at the Hilton. Before doing so, make sure you switch your earning preference to AAdvantage and, if you do so online, you will get 1,000 bonus points for updating your preference. Link: www. hiltonhhonors.com/profile/. You will earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles for this stay if you do so before Aug 31. Pay with an American Express card to earn double points. This will count as the first stay toward Hilton Fast Track to Gold and 5,000 bonus points will be awarded for this stay.
12. Stay at Hampton Inn. Make sure you book online for a chance to win 1,000,000 HHonors points. You will earn another 1,000 AAdvantage miles for this stay if you do so before Aug 31. Pay with an American Express card to earn double points. This will count as the second stay toward Hilton Fast Track to Gold and 10,000 bonus points will be awarded for this stay.
13. Stay at Hampton Inn & Suites. Again, make your reservations online. You will earn another 1,000 AAddvantage miles for this stay, as long as it is before Aug. 31. Double points if you pay with an American Express card. This will count as the third stay toward Hilton Fast Track to Gold and 15,000 bonus points will be awarded for this stay.
14. Stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. You will earn another 1,000 AAdvantage miles and double points if you pay using an American Express card. This will count as the fourth stay toward Hilton Fast Track to Gold and 20,000 bonus points will be awarded for this stay. You should have at the very least, 50,000 bonus points at this stage.
15. Buy a gift certificate at Eddie Bauer via AOL AAdvantage. There is no shipping and handling fee.
16. Make a purchae from OfficeMax via AOL AAdvantage. OfficeMax has some great buys, like a pack of envelopes for $1.07. Unfortunately shipping, handling and tax will total $5.36.
17. Next time you rent a car with any of the following: Alamo, Avis, Budget Rent A Car, Dollar Rent A Car, Hertz, National Car Rental and Thrifty Car Rental, make sure you collect AAdvantage miles. Flyers may need to manually change their preference to AAdvantage. Check the car rental receipt upon turning the car back in to see if your AAdvantage miles were properly credited.
18. Marriott Rewards, Priority Club Worldwide and Starwood Preferred Guest all allow you the option to convert your hotel points into AAdvantage miles, which means with just three phone calls you can have three more partner transactions. Call (800) 442-3354 to convert Marriott points, 10,000 is the lowest increment for 2,000 miles. Call (888) 625-4988 to convert Starpoints, 2,000 is the lowest increment for 2,000 miles. Call (800) 272-9273 to convert Priority Club points, 10,000 points is the lowest increment for 2,500 miles.
19. With a connecting flight in Europe, try to earn AAdvantage miles on a partner Aer Lingus, Sabena, Swissair, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia or Turkish Airlines.
20. Take a flight on American Airlines – it’s the least we can do. And, while you’re at it, why not call the AAdvantage service center and ask to sign up for promotion code komen to get another 1,000 bonus miles.
You will need to follow up on all your partners to make sure they are all credited. Eight weeks after the promotion ends on Sept. 30, your 20,000 bonus miles will be credited. If you decide to double up with the Hilton Fast Track to Gold the 50,000 HHonors bonus points will be credited incrementally with each stay. Good luck.