I have American AAdvantage miles that I would like to use for a trip to Europe–flying to London or Edinburgh and out of Paris. Is there any way I can avoid going through London on British Airways and avoid BA’s high surcharges for award flights?
Thanks Jessica. You have reminded us all … those Avios surcharges are a reason to try booking other AAdvantage partners. Fortunately, AAdvantage is part of the oneworld Alliance, which means that you have other choices beyond British Airways. Other European airline partners including Iberia, Finnair and airberlin provide service to/from the U.S. to points that can route you through London if you are patient and have some imagination with scheduling. And yes, you’ll avoid some of the high surcharges. What’s positive about those options is that they aren’t often on the radar of most members when planning award redemption, but still provide very satisfactory service and the convenience of being in the mix of things. Take a look at these options that just may fill your needs.
P.S. Did you know that airberlin started as a U.S. airline with corporate offices in Oregon? Just some trivia so you can stump other travelers.
[How can I learn] how Randy and the Milepoint team managed to award 2,000 MileagePlus miles for Premium Membership enrollment?
Good question. Milepoint doesn’t function any differently than other businesses that understand that the use of frequent flyer miles can enhance the offer of a product and serve as a “hook” for attention when compared to other similar services. We go through a more direct channel of purchasing miles from an airline because we’re a generally known name and “we know people.” But the truth is we stand in line, grovel over a real contract and try negotiating as best we can for every tenth of a penny discount we can get from the purchase of our miles. We also take risks by guaranteeing a certain number of purchased miles. We market the Milepoint Premium Membership by wrapping it with partner offers to accentuate the value. Much like you, we approached United with our idea, spelled out the positives of what we were doing and tried our best to prepare for whatever answer we were given. Are miles expensive? It depends on if it makes sense to your proposition and if any margins of your consumer offer can stand the test of a sound business operation. Can airlines be selective in who they choose to sell miles to? Yes. While most assume that airlines want to sell as many miles as they can, I know of many rejected purchases, so that information would appear to be incorrect.
Bottom line: Milepoint purchases miles just like anyone else, and while we may negotiate a slight discount because of our efforts to provide charitable donations with some of the funds, we sign contracts and grovel, beg, and at times scratch our heads. Having said all that, we still find working with MileagePlus a most pleasant experience–except when it comes to reading through the many pages of the legal agreement! Sorry we can’t provide a magical solution, there may not be one other than patience and perseverance.