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TPG reader Sherry tweeted me to ask about using AAdvantage miles:
@thepointsguy – “I have about 100,000 American Airlines miles expiring next year and I’d like to book a trip to Jamaica for my family. When I call AA to book, they are very unhelpful. What should I do?”
Sherry, this is a great example of why you should become an expert AA.com user. American Airlines has very few partners that fly to Jamaica unless you want to route through South America, so all of that award availability should be visible on AA.com. If you plan it correctly, you can also get great use out of those 100,000 miles. Here are the mileage requirements for one-way award travel to Jamaica:
- MileSAAver Off Peak — 12,500 miles
- MileSAAver — 17,500 miles
- AAnytime Level 1 — 27,500 miles
- AAnytime Level 2 — 37,500 miles
More importantly, you should know that it’s incredibly easy to keep your miles active. You can extend the date of expiration with any qualifying transaction like a single dining transaction or a purchase through the AAdvantage E-Shopping portal. That activity will reset the 18-month expiration clock, so if you aren’t quite ready to redeem your miles, you don’t need to hurry.
Of course, American would prefer that you continue flying to keep your miles from expiring, but you can also keep them active by earning miles through a co-branded American Airlines credit card. If you already have one, you can simply use it to make a purchase, and your expiration date will reset when the miles post to your account.
If you don’t already have an American Airlines card, the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is offering a sign-up bonus of 75,000 miles after you spend $7,500 in the first 3 months. The card carries a $450 annual fee, but depending on how large your family is, you could end up with enough miles to fly first-class to Jamaica, or enough miles to get you and your family anywhere in the world in economy. Just be flexible with your dates and you should be able to book online without even having to call.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||16.24%-23.24% Variable||Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95||0%||Excellent Credit|