American AAdvantage members can now redeem miles or a combination of miles and cash for car and hotel awards. Only members with a minimum of 1,000 miles and a U.S. mailing address can book these awards. As an introductory offer, AAdvantage Platinum members will receive a 20 percent discount and Gold members a 10 percent discount on these new awards (no set end date).
Continental OnePass, Delta SkyMiles and United Mileage Plus also offer hotel and car rental awards for miles redemption but American AAdvantage offers a better value on these awards. For example, we searched for a one-night stay at the Wyndham Garden Hotel Newark Airport on Jan. 15, 2010 and found a wide range of mileage prices. Delta SkyMiles had the highest price at 14,678 miles. Continental OnePass and United Mileage Plus both required 10,000 miles, but American AAdvantage was only asking 5,800 miles. Even at higher end hotels, American AAdvantage was a better deal. A one-night stay at the InterContinental New York Times Square was 33,950 miles with Continental, 38,370 with United Mileage Plus, 61,382 with Delta but only 24,000 miles with American AAdvantage. Room rates at the hotel start at $299 per night, so your American AAdvantage miles would be worth just over a penny per mile in this situation, which isn’t a great value, but is a vast improvement over Delta’s asking price of 61,382 miles. You can also combine miles with cash and essentially get a discounted room in exchange for miles. For example, you could combine 15,000 miles plus $109.76 for a stay at the InterContinental New York Times Square.
Car rental awards are also cheaper with American AAdvantage. A one-day weekend car rental of a compact car at JFK was 10,000 miles per day with United and Continental, 10,114 miles with Delta but only 3,200 miles with American.
To read more visit http://www.aa.com/carandhotelawards
Bottom line: American AAdvantage has favorable rates on hotel and car rental awards compared to the other airlines. For members with orphan miles, 3,200 miles for a car rental is a great way to spend some unused miles.
The terms and conditions state that hotel and car awards are nonrefundable and your miles won’t be reinstated or your cash refunded if you need to cancel, so make sure your plans are solid before redeeming. Changes to your car or hotel reservation (when allowed) may incur a $30 change fee. Car and hotel awards will not earn miles, even if you paid with a combination of miles and cash. Continental OnePass only offers car and hotel awards to Continental Airlines Chase credit or debit cardmembers, but American AAdvantage does not have a similar restriction.