American Airlines’ rethinking of elite status qualification is opening all kinds of opportunities. Instead of simply rewarding those who fly a lot, elite status is now available to those AAdvantage members who earn miles from a variety of partners.
Of course, it makes little sense to aim for Executive Platinum status when you fly infrequently on American Airlines or its Oneworld partners. So these changes might best be used to help Platinum or Platinum Pro members step up to Executive Platinum. Or they might be a way for an infrequent traveler (or somebody based overseas) to reach Platinum status, since that Oneworld Sapphire status provides lounge access for the member plus a guest (oustide of the US).
As a reminder, you have between January 1, 2022 and February 28, 2023 to earn:
- AAdvantage Gold status –> 30,000 Loyalty Points
- AAdvantage Platinum status –> 75,000 Loyalty Points
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro status –> 125,000 Loyalty Points
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum status –> 200,000 Loyalty Points
For anybody with a co-branded credit card, putting more spend through that card will be the simplest and easiest way to earn more Loyalty Points. That might not be the most cost-effective method, however, since you would be giving up the chance to earn higher value points or cashback from pushing that spend through a different card.
For some people, therefore, it might make sense to earn Loyalty Points by booking hotel stays…
Earning Loyalty Points by Booking a Hotel
BookAAHotels should look familar to anybody who has used Rocketmiles, PointsHound, etc. The hotel booking service is offered by Booking.com – a major Online Travel Agency – and a few hotels will offer you the chance to earn AA miles with your hotel reservation.
So far… relatively standard. However, on the next page you will be invited to buy additional AA miles for approximately 2 cents each.
The opportunity doesn’t stop there, because at the next stage in the process you can boost your miles purchase even further…
By the time you get to the final stage, you could be earning a large number of AA miles…
The important thing to note is that ALL 6,000 miles will post to your AAdvantage account as base miles, meaning that they are all Loyalty Points!
Is This a Good Deal?
Obviously we will want to compare against the hotel rate if booked directly. You would pay $127.97 after tax to book this hotel directly with the same cancellation conditions.
As a result, you would be paying an extra $62.72 to earn 6,000 AA miles / Loyalty Points. Assuming that you weren’t expecting much by way of elite benefits or points by booking directly, this can be a great way to book this particular hotel stay. You’d have paid little more than 1 cent per redeemable AA mile. And those 6,000 Loyalty Points would help you on your way to a higher level of elite status with AAdvantage.
How Many Loyalty Points / Miles Can I “Buy” per Stay?
There is a lot of trial and error involved when looking at AAHotels. But it appears that I can buy and boost an additional 4,000 miles per night at any hotel that qualifies for earning miles.
If you were to spend an entire week at the hotel example shown above, you could earn a whopping 36,000 miles / Loyalty Points.
Yes, you have substantially overpaid for your hotel stay… except you also have earned 36,000 miles to spend via American Airlines AAdvantage. And quite possibly paid a reasonable price for those 36,000 miles. (assuming that you actually needed to stay in a hotel and would otherwise have booked direct)
By strategically booking your hotel stays via BookAAHotels.com, you might be able to pick up AAdvantage elite status quickly and easily.
Of course, you would have to accept that you will NOT receive any hotel status benefits, credit, points, etc. – you would be booking your hotel stay via an Online Travel Agency. But for an independent hotel, that shouldn’t matter. It might even be a welcome change from cost-cutting chain hotels who aren’t delivering on promised elite benefits anyhow…