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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.
Both American Airlines and British Airways launched promotions today where flyers can earn up to 25,000 bonus miles per roundtrip transatlantic itinerary this fall and winter until January 31, 2014 with no cap on the total bonus you can earn.
Bonus American Miles
Register for American’s promo here and then when you fly the following fares, you’ll earn these bonus miles:
First or Business Class: 25,000 miles
Premium Economy: 15,000 miles
Economy (Full-Fare): 10,000 miles
You can earn these bonuses when you fly American, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair or OpenSkies in the following fare classes:
-British Airways operated flights, includes fares booked in First Class, Club World Business Class, World Traveller Plus Premium Economy or flexible/non-restricted World Traveller Economy Class: F, A, J, C, D, R, I, W, E, T, Y, B or H
-American Airlines operated flights, includes fares booked in First Class, Business Class or flexible/non-restricted Economy Class: F, A, J, R, D, I, Y, B or H
-Finnair operated flights, includes fares booked in Business Class or flexible/non-restricted Economy Class: J, C, D, I, Y, B, H, T, K, M, or P
-Iberia operated flights, includes fares booked in Business Class or flexible/non-restricted Economy Class: J, C, D, R, I or Y
-OpenSkies operated flights, includes fares booked in Biz Bed/Business, Prem Plus/Premium Economy and flexible/non-restricted Eco/Economy: J, C, D, R, I, W, E, T, Y, B or H.
Per the small print: “Offer applies only to AAdvantage members who are residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada or Mexico who purchase and fly on eligible published-fare tickets. Flights operated by other codeshare partners are not eligible for this promotion. Bonus miles do not count toward elite status qualification or Million Miler status.”
British Airways Happiness Fund
British Airways’ Happiness Fund promo is back. US and Canadian Executive Club members can register here, and then earn bonus Avios for roundtrip transatlantic flights on British Airways, Iberia, American, Finnair and Open Skies now through January 31, 2014 based on which class of ticket they book.
First or Business Class: 25,000 Avios
Premium Economy: 15,000 Avios
Economy (Full-Fare): 10,000 Avios
The last time around, you would also earn an additional 100,000 Avios for completing 5 qualifying roundtrips, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be a condition of the promo this time.
Now for the small print on the BA promo.
Existing bookings made prior to the promotional period do not qualify and this offer cannot be applied retroactively. There’s no limit to the number of bonus miles you can earn.
Travel must begin and end in the US or Canada on flights operated and marketed by British Airways, American Airlines, Finnair, Iberia or OpenSkies
The same booking classes are eligible as with the American promo.
This promotion does not apply to flights marketed or operated by franchises, including Comair, Iberia Express, and Sun-Air, or any other code share partners or oneworld Alliance Members.
Checking for Eligible Fare
Always double check that the fare class you purchase is one of the qualifying fares listed above because you don’t want to buy an expensive ticket only to find out you don’t qualify for the miles.. On britishairways.com, you can click the flight number during the booking or on check-out and it will confirm what fare class you are purchasing.
AA.com allows you to click the + button and see what class of service the fare displayed falls into – for instance, the business class fare below on AA’s new 777-300 falls into D class, which is eligible.
Business Class for the Price of Premium Economy?
One great strategy to rack up some bonus Avios without having to pay for those ultra-premium business and first fares is to purchase British Airways Premium Economy fares (which are often cheaper than the refundable economy fares) and then use Avios to upgrade to business class. To upgrade one class of service, including from Premium Economy to Business, you only need half the amount of Avios needed for an economy award on that route, and the eligible fare classes include the following on BA: J, C, D, R, I, W, E, T, Y, B, H.
You can use the Avios calculator to figure out the base Avios for an economy award. For example JFK-LHR is 20,000 Avios one-way in economy, so you’d only need 10,000 Avios to upgrade an eligible World Traveller Plus fare to Club World each way, or 20,000 roundtrip. You’d be earning 15,000 bonus Avios and the Avios you’d earn on your paid ticket, so you’re actually making up for the Avios you would use to upgrade as you fly.
If you’re a little short on the Avios you need to upgrade a booking you can instantly transfer American Express Membership Rewards points if you have one of their premium cards like the Premier Rewards Gold, Business Gold Rewards or Platinum cards; and the program is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards if you have the Ink Plus, Ink Bold or Sapphire Preferred; as well as Starwood Preferred Guest; and the British Airways Visa currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Avios when you spend $2,000 in 3 months, so you have plenty of options!
I wish this promotion included pre-booked flights since I have some coming up, but I’ll take what I can get.