Hello from England

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by ukaahopeful, Nov 11, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ukaahopeful

    ukaahopeful Active Member

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    Hello!

    It's tricky amassing miles when you are based in the UK!

    I have some property in Central America so far the past few years have been travelling there and developed a preference for American Airlines. I spend as much as I can on the UK AA MBNA credit card to earn as many miles as possible and have always found the availability and cost of booking award travel on AA is massively better than using Virgin or BA miles (taxes pay a large part in this, but I still don't quite understand how this works!).

    I am half way to my million miles but, since you now actually have to fly the miles rather than accrue them in other ways (which is pretty fair, I guess), I can't see me ever getting to million miler status!

    After a trip earlier this year to Central America at Easter - with another planned for next week, I realised for the first time that I had the opportunity to get to AA Gold - so booked my forthcoming trip with a rather convoluted itinerary in order to just squeak up to the miles needed for gold.

    Now (thanks to MilePoint) I see that I am going to get double miles for this trip which will take me beyond the Gold qualification, so it got me thinking...

    What would I need to do to get the extra miles needed to achieve Platinum status at the lowest cost and ideally in the shortest time (and knowing that I am UK based) before the end of the year?

    Any ideas?

    In the spirit of the 787 Dreamliner bag offered by Konfucious, if anyone can successfully suggest a way to do this for, say, around UK£500 or less - I would be happy to offer a couple of weeks accommodation in the rainforest (flights not included) - should this be of interest.
     
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  2. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Welcome to MilePoint!!! I recall it takes 25K qualifying AAdvantage miles to go from AA gold to platinum. So is it correct that your objective to do this for £500 or less?
     
  3. ukaahopeful

    ukaahopeful Active Member

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    Well, yes if that is do-able. Is it an unreasonable target? I was thinking that with the double miles offer it might be worth trying! To be honest, I don't really know what the real benefits are (I have looked at them but haven't really quantified their value) but as I know for certain that I already have a couple of trips 99% planned from UK to USA West coast next year I thought it may be worth a shot.

    As I understand it, my 2013 flights will then get twice the qualifying miles - meaning that I may retain Plat for the following year..?
     
  4. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    As understand the OP hopes to go from AA Gold to AA Plat for the additional 500 GPB.

    Only way I can think of possibly accomplishing this would be to sign up for the Plat challenge incorporating his next week trip.
    Note I think it costs $240 sign up for the plat challenge and you can only commence on the 1st or the 15th of the month its going to be tough for 500 GBP.
     
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  5. ukaahopeful

    ukaahopeful Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies. My first flight is on 19th so starting on 15th is a possibility. I'm not really sure what's involved or how to go about this though - do you have to register online or by phone?

    Also, will I still get the double miles from the current offer while doing the challenge? Obviously this would make a big difference to the speed of getting miles. At the moment (with getting the double miles) I would achieve gold halfway through my itinerary next week. Do I become gold during a flight for the purposes of increasing my mileage earning capacity - and are there any other immediate benefits?
     
  6. JAbrams72
    Original Member

    JAbrams72 Gold Member

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    This year's double miles offer is Elite-Qualifying miles, so would help you towards becoming Platinum, however, the 100% bonus miles that you get as a platinum member (compared to 25% as gold) are not elite-qualifying, so won't help you towards requalification
     
  7. ukaahopeful

    ukaahopeful Active Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. I just spoke with the AAdvantage desk and (sort of) clarified a few things, so sharing here...
    • the current double mile offer applies only to flights on actual AA aircraft (annoying, as it does seem hard to find anything much coming back to UK that's not a BA codeshare). So instead of earning 35,828 miles it will only be 30,372 (assuming I have calculated correctly).
    • apparently neither Platinum nor Gold bonus miles are elite qualifying
    I currently need 15,935 for Gold or 40,935 for Platinum. So, after this trip, no problem with Gold. But Platinum...

    I could take a Platinum challenge, as newbluesea suggests. I spoke to AA about the challenge and, as I understand it, the double miles don't apply and I would have to fly 20,000 miles in the next three months. My itinerary over the next week or so (LHR-LAX-DFW-MIA-PTY-MIA-LAX-LHR) at single mileage (and assuming the BA codeshare will give normal miles, which it may not?) will amount to 17,914 miles. So just 2,086 miles needed to complete the challenge. I am definitely going to be flying LHR-SFO next Feb before the 3 months is over, so this looks like the way to go. I also have a day or so in MIA this trip, so could maybe take an extra flight and get to Plat before my 2013 trip. Any suggestions on a route from MIA to cheaply get these relatively few extra miles?

    If I don't do the challenge I would keep my double-miles from the current offer but, after my trip I would need to fly another 10,563 miles to get to Platinum.

    Does this make sense and are my calculations correct?
     
  8. ukaahopeful

    ukaahopeful Active Member

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    On the basis of my assumptions above - needing to add 2,086 miles to get Platinum on a challenge - I had a quick look wit the help of ita Matrix and AA's destinations map am holding a MIA-DTW-MIA which fits nicely with my schedule starting next week at a price of just over £250. The mileage is shown as 1,146 each way.

    What do you think?! I don't want to mess it up by adding things up incorrectly.
     
  9. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Why bother with DTW which I requires a change of planes in both dirrections (and increases the chances of something going amiss) ?
    Not sure exactly when you are planning this but MIA/ORD/MIA are both direct flights, gives 2396 miles and seem to be running between $230 and $300 ( unless you are flying just around Thanksgiving )
     
  10. ukaahopeful

    ukaahopeful Active Member

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    Hmm... I have checked MIA-ORD-MIA and this does come up at £6 cheaper DTW (for the timings that I would need to use). But it also looks to me that the DTW trip is non-stop, or am I missing something? Flight numbers are 2064 on 27 Nov and 873 on 28 Nov.

    Then I have two questions remaining.
    First, do my numbers add up? If so, using a challenge it looks like I can get to Platinum for well under my target of £500, but I don't want to lose out because I have not understood everything. Will AA confirm the mileages for me in advance of booking a challenge?

    Second, between ORD and DTW, which would be the nicer airport to wander around in between midnight and 5am - or maybe a late night trip into the city is possible (I do this in New York)!
     
  11. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I assumed you wanted to complete the R/T in one day which will not be the case selecting the MIA/ORD

    Basically doing MIA/ORD you do this easily on either day but the fare is running around $414.00.

    As far airports the AA terminal at DTW is small and a dump (as is the city itself) ..not even sure they would let you overnight there. There is a train running from ORD ( better airport) into the city and Chicago is a much nicer city I am sure you could find a lot to do there overnight.

    I am not sure AA will confirm your planned mile beforehand but your calculation regarding the previous trip is correct you will be fine. You can always check the milage of that trip even if you dio it segment by segement or insert the whole trip in the ITA matrix.
     
  12. ukaahopeful

    ukaahopeful Active Member

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    My overnight is a hotel substitute (sad, isn't it) and avoids missing a business day which I need in Miami. Thanks for the tip about the better airport. I had a couple of goes at booking to ORD on AA and, although it was around £300 on one attempt, I tried again and have just put the trip on hold at £207.
    A call to AA tonight to sign up and double check my mileage and I think I may have done it!

    Thanks so much for all the help.
     
  13. ukaahopeful

    ukaahopeful Active Member

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    An update on my successfully getting to Platinum status on a challenge over the past couple of weeks.

    My trip was LHR-LAX-DFW(overnight)-MIA-PTY, then PTY-MIA, then MIA-ORD (overnight purely to top up to the miles I was going to need), then MIA-LAX-LHR.

    I had the Platinum status confirmed in an email today but it looks like it kicked in on the way back from LAX as I have a bunch of extra miles credited for that trip. It also looks like I got the double miles credited as well, even though these didn't count towards the challenge.

    All in all a very successful trip for me with the bonus of Platinum. Having said that, I still need to work out what the real advantages are for this new-found status! I bought an Admiral's Club monthly pass for $99 which seemed remarkably good value for the number of times I would be using it. I managed a couple of showers, a load of internet access and some free beer and 'snacks' (is it just me, or is the offering much less impressive than, say in BA lounges. I don't think you pay for anything in the latter, whereas unless I wanted to order from the menu, I was snacking on biscuits and the odd serving of cubed cheese).

    Having said that I was disappointed to find that the Admiral's Club has disappeared from PTY - it was there earlier this year, but it's been re-branded for use by a whole bunch of airlines - just not AA. This did lead me to discover a new Food Court in the airport where I had a very enjoyable fish taco meal. It's all modern of course and could be anywhere - the old functional cafeteria, that was fun and made you feel like you were still in Panama, is now all gone.

    Reporting back on my overnight airport stays...

    DFW was pretty dead but plenty of places to sit and get online. More power outlets than I have ever seen - even specially installed in between seats in public areas! Nothing was open from when I arrived (near midnight) to when I left (0540).

    ORD - I was there at similar hours and elected to stay air-side rather than taking a trip downtown. This was partly due to the fact that I had come from 27 degrees in MIA without realising it was minus 2 in Chicago! The airport astounded me by having some concessions open right through the night. OK, so it was McDonald's, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, but a coffee and a bite of breakfast was most welcome. I was impressed with this airport - the info on the screens made it out to be a wonderful place with green roofed-buildings and various innovations - how clever to think of emptying your water bottle before security then filling up again on the other side. I had a 2 day car rental in Miami and picked the car up when I arrived from PTY. I then parked really conveniently on airport (max $17 for 24 hours), and left my hold bag in the boot. That way I travelled to ORD and back with just carry-on, saved whatever the left luggage would be for a large suitcase - and had the car immediately on arrival the next morning. Worked out really well!

    The ridiculous MIA-LAX-LHR trip had the gate staff asking "why?", but somehow the extended journey seemed to have the effect of negating any jetlag whatsoever!

    ...Thanks milepoint.
     
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  14. malikguy

    malikguy Silver Member

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    Absolutely, awesomely, insane!! You have gained hero status in my books. ;)
     

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