Question from New Guy Regarding AA Mile Accumulations Strategies

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by TexasFlyer, Jul 12, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Hey everyone - I am new here and glad I found this site.

    I welcome all advice and tips and any other thoughts on how best to achieve my goal and other tips or tricks you think I'm not utilizing as well as I could.

    My goal:
    I want to take my family (wife and two kids) to Europe on FF miles. The AA chart I’ve looked at makes a RT appear to be 160K off-peak for us, so that is my target number. AA looks like one of the best deals out there as far as FF programs go.

    My immediate goal is to accumulate miles without additional hard inquiries.

    My background:
    I am experienced in related fields (coins, CC arbitrage, CC non-travel awards, amazon payments, bank and CC sign-up bonuses, etc...) but am new to the travel game. I have a good credit score (740s) but I have a ton of hard inquiries (21 Experian) that I want to expire before applying for more credit.

    What I've done so far:
    Joined AAdvantage. Joined BankDirect FF checking. Joined numerous hotel reward programs that allow mile accumulation and maximized point accumulation via topguest.

    Again, I am aware of the excellent Citi AA deals, but am specifically looking for opportunities to maximize miles without hard pulls. I will apply for that card after some of the hard inquiries disappear from my wife and my credit reports.

    Please also let me know if you think this belongs on another subforum. THANK YOU for any thoughts!

    TexasFlyer
     
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  2. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    First off, welcome to MP and I hope that you stick around and learn to enjoy the site and contribute a bit! :)

    As for your question....

    Interestingly AA recently published a "Participation Guide" that outlines all the different ways you can earn miles without flying. Here is a LINK to the PDF. You might want to take a look at that to see if there's anything you can take AAdvantage of.

    Some other thoughts:
    • You can earn AA miles by purchasing through the AA Shopping portal for some everyday items (music, flowers, etc)
    • You can always purchase miles from AA directly, they often have "sales" where you get a bonus amount of miles when you purchase over a certain amount. You can typically earn miles cheaper by actually flying, but if you aren't on a plane often, these can be a decent deal.
    • It might seem odd but..... actually buying tickets and flying on AA is another quick way to accumulate miles. Have you considered looking at some inexpensive mile runs on occasions?
    This is just a basic start and there are a lot of other options our AA forum will certainly give you.

    On a side note, please be aware that you're not guaranteed to get 4 tickets at the lowest price on the same flight with AA. While planning for the trip, you should keep this in consideration and have a back up plan in case you need to split up on different flights. The time of year you are planning on going also will effect availability.

    Good luck, and again, welcome!
     
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  3. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Great input, David. There is an awful lot to take in and it is hard to know where to start, so your pointers are appreciated. I am a pretty infrequent flyer, but do have two flights with AA in the coming months. I plan to do a bit more research on the "mile run" possibilities.

    Thanks again!
     
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  4. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Anytime, that's what MP is here for.

    Not to overwhelm you with even more info, but what kinds of flights are they? If they're longer international flights it would be possible to pay a small fee to do a "challenge" and going forward any flights in the next year or two (depending on status) would earn bonus miles. Just a thought!
     
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  5. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Citi checking account has a good deal now, iirc.
     
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  6. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Thanks, John. I have looked into the Citi checking account, and even received a pretty generous targeted offer from them, but was scared off by posts that I had read from others that Citi had sent a 1099 for rewards that way overvalued the rewards and created additional tax liability for the recipient.
     
  7. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    David, the upcoming AA flights I have are domestic (AUS- LGA and HFD to AUS)
     
  8. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Not nearly enough for a challenge in that case, just bank the miles and look for other avenues. ;)
     
  9. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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  10. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Thanks very much miles and smiles! You have added to my growing miles account!
     
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  11. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I opened a Citi account this year and never received a 1099 -- or at least haven't as of yet. The sign-up bonus for 20k miles expired at the end of June I think, but you can always try and see if you get lucky.

    I talked to them recently and they actually offered me an additional 20k miles if I put $20k in the account within the next 90 days as well.
     
  12. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Thanks, Viguera.

    As I understand it, 1099s are sent out the calendar year following the earning year, similar to W2s. At least, when I receive my 1099s from various interest-earning accounts they always arrive in January following the earning year.

    The mailed offer I received from Citi was for 30,000 Thank You Points, which initially looked great to me. I thought I could use them to buy AA giftcards or points or something similar. The thread I referred to with posters discussing 1099s for citi was over at flyertalk. I'm new here and not sure of the etiquette regarding posting links to other sites, so I won't do that. The reports of 1099s were inconsistent, but frequent enough to scare me off. I hope that you don't receive one!

    Thanks for your response.
     
  13. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Reportedly, (and I can not independently confirm the truth of the statement) Citi has treated thank you points and rewards as taxable when generated by a banking account (checking, savings, MMA) but NOT when generated from a CC.
     
  14. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I thought there was a rather steep devaluation when you convert Thank You points to AA miles, but I could be mistaken. My philosophy has always been to get miles when possible, especially if you have a carrier/alliance in mind, rather than getting rewards from another network that you later have to convert.

    Although there are exceptions, such as the recent US Airways promos offering bonuses when transferring, but that's another topic altogether.

    I believe slowtownmama (or someone with some sort of variation of that name) had a similar topic a couple of months ago, looking for AA earning opportunities. You might want to look around and see if you get any other ideas that you might have missed.

    Also, don't forget BankDirect.
     
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  15. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Thank Viguera. That devaluation comment makes sense. I will check out the slowtownmama post, too!
     
  16. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    TexasFlyer...you sound pretty knowledgeable for a self described new guy. May I ask where you learned all the tricks you mentioned in your original post? Might be other places for us to check out?

    As to award availability, you might struggle to find four on a single AA flight. You probably won't, however, struggle as much on a BA flight. I've seen up to 7 first class award seats offered on a single JFK-lhr flight on BA. You can use your AA miles on BA. They do hit you with some fuel surcharges for awards which AA doesn't...though if you're flying in back, they aren't as bad.
     
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  17. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Thanks so much NYBanker. With regards to the difficulty in finding four seats on a single flights, that is just the kind of information I didn't know before and am looking for. I've never used rewards to fly, so it is all new to me. We can still pull it off - we might have to take two flights (one parent one kid) - but just knowing in advance will help us plan.

    I also realized we'll be limited to peak flying times because the kids will be in school any other time! So, maybe closer to 240K than 160K.

    And thanks for the compliment. I guess I learned all the other earning tricks at the "usual suspects" - Fatwallet, Slickdeals, and numerous similar sites. I've been a pretty regular and heavy reader of those sites for a number of years. The CC arbitrage was pretty profitable initially, but now interest rates are so low and credit has been tightened up so much my income from it is a pretty pitiful trickle. Feel free to message if you think I could help with anything or answer a specific question. I'm not an information hoarder and will gladly help.
     
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  18. Million Mile Secrets

    Million Mile Secrets Silver Member

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    Welcome to MilePoint!

    I started off the same way as you - with the CC arbitrage non-travel sign-up bonuses etc., but soon realised that the jackpot was with the travel related bonuses!

    I just got 1% (with fees) cash advance checks from Chase in the mail which I would have arbitraged a few years ago, but I tore up those checks since it would now increase my utilisation ratio, and I'd rather sign-up for a new credit card!

    Oh, how the times change!
     
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  19. penumpang
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    penumpang Gold Member

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    Opinionplace.com is a survey site that gives AA miles. I've done it for years and slowly added probably several thousands miles to my AA account.
     
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  20. IkeEsq

    IkeEsq Gold Member

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    It is a lot harder to quickly accumulate a lot of miles without the credit cards. A single hard pull can net you 150K from the pair of Citi AA cards, same for your wife. Those four cards would get all of you there on its own.

    Next best thing is the Fidelity deal. 50K AA points for depositing 100K in a new brokerage account. It gets more complicated if you already have an account, but can be done if you have not received miles from them in the past, which I am guessing you have not. Tack on BankDirect, and you can get yourself a lot closer in 6 months or so depending on how much cash you have lying about.
     
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  21. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Million Mile Secrets: Thanks for the response. Yes, it is certainly debatable whether the CC arbitrage game is still worth playing. Perhaps I am just hanging on to the good times of the past hoping they will return and unwilling to admit that they are really gone. By the way, I recently found your blog and have read every post on it. Great work!

    Penumpang: I was totally unaware of opinionplace.com, but they are going to get some survey responses from me now. Thanks so much for the tip!

    IkeEsq: Thanks for the pointers. I will likely apply for the Citi AA cards later on down the road. Hopefully the deal will still exist or will have a similarly lucrative replacement when I do. Even with a good credit score I started getting rejections for too many inquiries, so I think I must be disciplined and stop applying for a while.

    I've signed up for the the Bank Direct account recently, but am still considering Fidelity.

    Thanks to you all for the welcoming and helpful comments.
     
  22. worldtraveller2
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    worldtraveller2 Silver Member

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  23. TexasFlyer

    TexasFlyer Active Member

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    Worldtraveller2: I did hear about it! Awesome opportunity. I even signed my wife up for an AAdvantage account, but for some reason, 'the appraiser" wouldn't give her points. Perhaps her account was still too new or not registered yet with the appraiser's databse. I will try again in a few days.
     
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  24. worldtraveller2
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    worldtraveller2 Silver Member

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    my hubby didn't get any points either! He tried on firefox and internet explorer. We unsubscribed everyone before trying. and we all have the same email account, so I think it is just random
     
  25. stan
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    stan Silver Member

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    tried the same way got "0"
     

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