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Our inbox seems to be overwhelmed with “promotions” from various companies so it’s hard to know whether or not they’re worth pursuing. But today we are seeing a decent package deal from American Airlines Vacations that might be right for some readers.
Now through October 24, AAVacations is running a promotion of up to $130 off already discounted packages when you book a 2019 getaway to Hawaii or internationally. Or, you can save $75 off shorter domestic and Canadian vacation packages.
First, let’s review the terms of the promotion:
- Save $75 off domestic US and Canada packages using code AAVPREVIEW
- Save $130 off Hawaiian and international packages using code AAVEBB
- Book before October 24, 2018
- Travel January 1 through August 31, 2019
- Minimum stay: 3 nights for domestic and Canada ($75 promotion) and 5 nights for Hawaii and international ($130 promotion)
- Blackout dates include January 21, February 18, March 5, March 17, April 21, May 27 and July 4, 2019
- 1,000 bonus booking miles will be awarded to the first traveler’s AAdvantage account for each booking six to eight weeks after travel is complete
Is It a Good Deal?
In my testing, the flight prices aren’t elevated when you book through AAVacations and the hotel options seem to be comparative to other online travel agencies. When you combine the two, you’ll get a package discount depending on the hotel option.
For example, I priced out a getaway from San Jose, CA, to Hawaii for a family of four (two adults and two kids). After finding a cheap flight option via Google Flights, I searched the same dates on AAVacations. I chose the cheapest option for the sake of the example and found an option for a five-night stay at a Kona resort for a family of four for just $528 per person.
That wouldn’t be a bad deal for a flight alone — but this includes both the flights and hotel. And, this isn’t in basic economy either, so your family will all be able to select seats together at no additional cost.
That’s the cheapest option though. For $20 more per person, you can upgrade to the Sheraton Kona Resort Spa at Keauhou Bay:
Some notes from my search:
- Lihue (LIH) doesn’t have many hotel options on AAVacations, so I’d avoid that destination when trying to price out a deal for yourself.
- Even if you click through the promotion homepage, you’re going to have to enter the promo code on the final checkout page to get the additional savings.
- AAVacations discloses any resort fees, but doesn’t include this in the price it displays.
Overall, the AAVacations packages seem to be competitive with other providers. In addition to the standard package savings, now you can save $130 off the package price. Still, I’d recommend checking other air+hotel package providers such as Orbitz or Expedia to make sure you’re getting the best-possible price.
The other advantage of booking a cheap flight through AAVacations is the ability to book Special Fares. These flight options let you score more award miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) than you would by buying a flight alone. Here’s how to calculate when you should book Special Fares instead of standard fares.
Unfortunately, not all flights booked through AAVacations qualify as Special Fares anymore. Instead, you’re going to have to look for a small asterisk on the flight option to see whether it does (has an asterisk) or doesn’t (no asterisk) qualify. For example, this is an option that would code as a Special Fare:
And, for this particular flight example, here’s why you want to watch out for this difference:
- Standard Fare: 1,640 award miles; 6,963 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) and 328 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD)
- Special Fare: 3,482 award miles; 6,963 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) and 696 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD)
Maximize your purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on travel agency purchases, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Premier, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Unfortunately, we don’t have any data points on how AAVacations purchases will code using the The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines) or the American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare booked directly with the airline). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
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