Elites can now use $400 American Airlines Vacations credit

Jul 2, 2020

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Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year

Earlier this year, we reported that American Airlines would give all elite members up to a $400 credit to use toward an American Airlines Vacations package, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gold members will receive $300, Platinum and Platinum Pro will receive $350 and Executive Platinum will receive $400. This credit could shave a nice portion off of the cost of your next trip.

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American Airlines Vacations offers packages that include flights and hotel (and rental cars from Budget or Avis, if you wish) bundled together, often at a discount compared to booking each separately. Like other online travel agencies, you generally won’t earn points or elite credits for the hotel part of the booking.

Additionally, you’ll also earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles — worth $14 based on TPG valuations — when booking any American Airlines Vacations package.

The airline was the last of the big 3 U.S. airlines to extend elite status, granting another year of status to all its current elites, through Jan. 31, 2022. Additionally, it extended perks and made it easier to earn lifetime status.

Related: How to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles

We’ve previously covered many of the updates, but today we’re going to dive a bit more into the American Airlines Vacations credit. Here’s what you need to know.

To receive the offer, you must call American Airlines Vacations at 800-321-2121 — you can’t book online — to purchase a vacation package for travel by Dec. 20, 2021. Multiple hotel stays are valid for the promotion as long as the total nights booked is greater than the minimum stay requirements. Keep in mind that the credit will be based on your elite status as of June 30, 2020, so, for example, if you’re an American Airlines Platinum Pro member on June 30, you’ll get a $350 credit.

This promotion is valid for new Vacations bookings only, and the package must include round-trip airfare and hotel and meet a minimum spend requirement of $2,500.

You can occasionally get excellent business-class deals using the AA Vacation portal. For instance, I was able to find a deal for two from New York-JFK to Milan (MXP) for mid-February 2021 dates. The hotel isn’t the greatest, but I want to focus on the flight.

The cost of two tickets is $4,236, or $2,118 per person. While that’s a great deal in and of itself, if you add on the elite credit, the price drops as low as $1,918 per person if you’re an Executive Platinum. Even if you’re an AAdvantage Gold member, the cost is still less than $2,000 per person. Considering cash tickets for the same flight are almost $2,600 per person, saving a few hundred dollars by using the credit is the way to go.

Finally, American frequently runs AA Vacations promotions — like this $250 off sale for Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. But unfortunately, this promotion can’t be combined with other offers.

Related: How spending on your American Airlines credit card can help you earn Million Miler status

Featured photo courtesy of Per Breiehagen/Getty Images.

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