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Ideas on How to Spend our Windfall of AA Miles

Earlier this year, I wrote this post about accumulating AA miles: It’s Raining AA Miles! Should You Scoop Them Up? My husband and I signed up for a few of these cards, and now it’s time to get more serious about spending our miles.

Are These AA Offers Still Available?

Over the past few months, the sign-up bonuses on AA cards have gone up and down. Right now, they are up!

The great thing about earning AA miles through credit card bonuses is that AA partners with two banks, Citibank and Barclaycard. More banks = more credit card options for earning miles!

The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is not in our affiliate network, but you can apply on the bank’s website here. The sign-up bonus is currently 60,000 AA miles after just one purchase and paying the card’s annual fee of $95. In the past, this bonus has been 40,000 miles and 50,000 miles, so I expect the bonus will continue to fluctuate.

If you and your spouse/partner each signed up for this card and purchased something you would already be buying anyway, you would get a combined 120,000 AA miles for $190 in annual fees. That’s a spectacular deal!

Citibank offers the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, which also currently has a 60,000-mile bonus. This card is in our affiliate network and pays us commission if you apply through our site. In order to get the bonus on this card, you must spend $3000 in the first three months. However, the annual fee is waived the first year.

If you have a business, like a blog or selling LuLaRoe, you may also qualify for the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard. It has the same requirements as the non-business version above and also offers 60,000 bonus AA miles. To qualify for the bonus, you must not have opened or closed these cards in the past 24 months.

If you and your spouse/partner each apply for the Citibank card and one of you also has a small business, that’s potentially another 180,000 AA miles!

My Windfall

As you can see from the cards above, if two adults in a family signed up for both the Citi card and the Barclaycard and one has a business, it’s possible to obtain 300,000 AA miles. Whoa.

My husband and I each applied for and got approved for the Citi AA cards when the bonus was 60k. We also got the Barclaycard Aviator cards, but the bonus was 50k at the time. I also recently got approved for the CitBusiness AA card, which will give me another 60k AA miles after I complete the minimum spending.

So, in total, we will soon have over 280,000 AA miles. Woohoo! To be honest, we’re still undecided on how we will spend the miles. But, we have a lot of great ideas!

Paris over Spring Break

Some of you may have read my recent post about considering a family trip to either Paris or New Zealand. We have enough miles to pay for five round-trip tickets to Paris over the Spring Break time period, when MileSAAver Off Peak award seats cost 22,500 miles each way.

Taxes and fees on each award ticket are ~$85, or over $400 for my entire family. And that really is a steal of a deal for getting five people to Europe!

Photo by Pedro Gandra on Unsplash

However, we frequently see sales to Europe in the $400 range, and WOW air will soon be flying out of DFW. So, is this really a good use of our miles?

New Zealand over Spring Break or Summer

Visiting New Zealand has been my husband’s dream for a few years now. Based on the comments you wrote on my blog post, many readers are rooting for us to go to New Zealand, too!

Award tickets cost 80,000 miles round-trip plus ~$71 in taxes. We would have enough for three award tickets, and we would need to purchase two in cash for hopefully less than $2000 total.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

My hesitation with spending our miles to get to New Zealand is that most award seats are available from Los Angeles, so we would also need to spend miles or cash on round-trip tickets from DFW to LAX. Also, Fiji Airways often has sales to New Zealand for ~$800 – $1000 round-trip (less for kids), so we would not be getting a great payout per mile on award tickets.

Caribbean or Mexico Over Spring Break

We could fly to the Caribbean or Mexico for 30,000 miles round-trip. We will have almost enough miles for two trips for our entire family of five!

Flights from DFW to the Caribbean are surprisingly expensive with cash. I’ve priced flights to Barbados, Grand Cayman and Aruba, and they are routinely $700-$1200 a person. Yikes!

We love the Caribbean. We’ve spent time in the Virgin Islands and St. Maarten on several cruises, but I would love to rent a condo on a “new-to-us” island in the Caribbean. The clear blue water, the white sand…..ahhhhh.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

Maui and The Big Island, Hawaii

Yeah, I know we already have a trip to Kauai and Oahu coming up in a couple of months. But we could easily spend these miles on a third trip to Hawaii and see Maui and The Big Island. Award tickets are 20,000 – 22,500 each way.

Molokini Crater near Maui. Photo by Farid Askerov on Unsplash

It’s Hawaii. What’s not to love? And cash tickets from DFW are usually $900+.

Domestic Tickets

We still need tickets to our secret destination where we are renting a vacation home for a month next summer, and I always need tickets to see my family in Denver. Domestic tickets cost 25,000 miles round-trip.

However, this option does not thrill me. Also, we can usually find really cheap fares on Frontier, Spirit or Southwest for our domestic tickets.

Readers, are you collecting AA miles through these credit card sign-up bonuses? What are your plans for your miles?

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Author: Nancy

Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.

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18 thoughts on “Ideas on How to Spend our Windfall of AA Miles

  1. This is what I would do: Use AA miles to Europe. Get some Alaska cards and use Alaska back from Europe plus add a free one way to Hawaii. Even if you can’t get DFW-OGG, just get to any island and use United Excursionist perk to book intra-island roundtrips to get a free one way to someplace like Canada or Mexico or Carribean. Gives you one full trip plus 2 halves of 2 other trips. Plus even if you can only get 4 seats on the flights you can use Alaska companion certificate to buy the 5th seat to Hawaii. From DFW, I’d use avios or Southwest to get from Carribean/Mexico for second half of the trip.

    • Love that your spring break falls over MileSAAver Off Peak! Ours is later, so we just miss it!

      Seriously contemplating putting something together like Sarah mentioned above!

      • @Madison I love having an early Spring Break. I hope our school district continues to schedule it a little earlier than the majority of schools.

    • @Sarah We haven’t had Alaska cards yet, and they are on my list. Unfortunately, we can’t accumulate United or Southwest miles right now because we’re over 5/24. 🙁 But otherwise that looks like a great plan!

  2. I’m all for Paris during Spring Break especially for MileSAAver off-peak award seats. I’m glad you wrote this article, because I looked for a possible summer trip next year, and I just booked 4 roundtrip MileSAAver awards to Orlando. So glad I snatched them because the dates are no longer available. I’m doing my happy dance!!!

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  5. I’m working on organizing a trip from NZ to US on American miles – it’s hard work! If you can make it work – go for it! I think your inner voice is asking for NZ. But if you can’t make it work, go for plan B. They all sound like great vacations and I doubt you’ll be left with regrets one way or another!

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