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American Airlines launches new way for some flyers to earn double miles for a year -- at a cost

Jan. 22, 2021
4 min read
American Airlines launches new way for some flyers to earn double miles for a year -- at a cost
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Want to earn double American AAdvantage miles for the next year? That'll be $59.99, please. Oh, and I'm going to need to see your emailed invitation.

In a new era of frequent flyer innovation, some targeted members of American's AAdvantage program have received an invitation to earn double redeemable miles for a year on their domestic American Airlines travels for a $59.99 fee. (Update: We have now heard from TPG readers who received this offer at a $79.99 price-point, so your offer and related math on if it is worth it may vary.) This new offer is being dubbed AAdvantage Tailwind.

The Tailwind offer that TPG's Benji Stawski received is only valid on American Airlines-operated flights. The doubling of miles is applicable on the base miles earned, not on any elite or other bonuses. Note that these bonus miles also won't get you to that next elite status tier any faster -- though these credit cards can.

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Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines

Assuming you've received an emailed invitation (or see the promotion when logged into your AAdvantage account), is it a good deal to spend $60 to earn double base redeemable miles for a year?

The answer will largely lie with how much you plan to spend and fly with American on domestic flights in the next year...which is admittedly hard to guess for many of us at this point.

On top of that, you'll need to think through a little math to determine if this offer is for you.

The number of American Airlines miles awarded for flights is five miles per dollar spent on the base fare. There are elite bonuses and such that can ramp that amount up, but since the terms for this offer indicate the doubling excludes elite bonuses, we'll stick with five miles per dollar.

Excluding elite bonuses, if you spent $300 on an American Airlines ticket, you'd normally earn about 1,500 redeemable AAdvantage miles worth around $21 by TPG valuations after you complete your trip.

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Related: These are the best American Airlines credit cards

Your own personal valuation of American miles may come in higher or lower than TPG's, so prepare to adjust your math accordingly. If a $300 flight would typically return around $21 in redeemable American miles, you'd earn around $42 in redeemable American miles with the Tailwind offer.

Continuing with that relatively simple math, if you took three flights that each cost you around $300 in 12 months on American Airlines, you'd normally earn about $63 in redeemable miles (4,500 in total).

However, if you spent $59.99 to purchase the Tailwind accelerator, you'd earn a second set of 4,500 bonus redeemable miles and would just about break-even at those rates, with those 4,500 miles being worth around $63, assuming your own valuation is also 1.4 cents per mile.

Those who think they will spend and fly above that $900 - $1,000 threshold in domestic base fares on American Airlines in the next year are the ones most likely to come out ahead by spending the $59.99 for this interesting promotion.

If you are targeted for the offer and decide to go for it, here are some of our favorite ways to use AAdvantage miles so you can start brainstorming what you're going to do with all those bonus miles.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
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  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees