American Airlines’ Intriguing “AAdvantage Tailwind” Promotion

Filed Under: American

We’re seeing airlines incentivize travel in different ways. American Airlines has just launched a targeted promotion, which members are being emailed directly about. It remains to be seen how many people will be targeted for this, but let’s go over the details.

What is the AAdvantage Tailwind promo?

With the AAdvantage Tailwind promotion, American is offering double miles for a year on domestic flights in exchange for a fee:

  • Registration is required by February 12, 2021; check your email or the promotions section of your AAdvantage account to see if you’re eligible
  • The standard subscription fee seems to be $59.99, though it’s possible that others may be offered a different cost
  • You then earn double AAdvantage redeemable miles for an entire year, starting from the purchase date

Crunching the numbers on this promotion

How does the math work out on the AAdvantage Tailwind promotion? First a couple of basics:

  • I value AAdvantage miles at 1.5 cents each
  • You ordinarily earn 5x AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on airfare

To crunch the numbers:

  • In order to break even and get your $60 fee back, you’d need to earn at least 4,000 bonus miles, based on my valuation
  • Since you’d be earning 5x bonus miles per dollar spent, you’d need to spend a total of over $800 on domestic airfare (not factoring in taxes and fees) to come out ahead

If you fly American Airlines with any frequency and are targeted for this promotion, then I’d say it’s well worth it. However, it would appear that American is being pretty deliberate with the targeting here, and the people being targeted are primarily those who haven’t historically flown a lot, and/or don’t have a lot of travel planned.

Hopefully this is rolled out on a more widespread basis. After all, American is charging people here for the privilege of earning miles, which is a win-win, since it’s cash in American’s “pocket,” and also encourages people to be loyal to American.

During times like these you’d think an airline like American would be offering more “free” promotions that incentivize booking flights, but I guess this is better than nothing, if it’s targeted widely enough.

This promo could be worth it if you plan on spending $800 on airfare

Bottom line

The AAdvantage Tailwind promotion is a new targeted promotion from American Airlines. Eligible members can pay a fixed amount (typically $59.99) in order to earn double redeemable miles on domestic flights for an entire year. Based on my valuation of miles, this is worth it if you plan on spending at least $800 on domestic travel in the next year.

Were you targeted for the AAdvantage Tailwind promo, and if so, do you plan on taking advantage of it?

Comments
  1. My fee is $85.99 ($79.99 promotion + $6 taxes). I hadn’t been traveling at all in 2020 up until Q4 when I had a few trips on AA. The sign up deadline is February 12th, so I will wait until then to decide if this promo will work for me. Not much 2021 travel on the books right now.

  2. EP, not targeted. Perhaps, because I have qualified for double miles through Feb 28 promo after completing 4 flights in First by Jan 11?
    Lucky, why do you say that flights have to be domestic?

  3. EXP not targeted. But I definitely don’t value AA miles at 1.5c right now given no international flights and fares are so cheap. I parked $3M in Bask Bank as am I’m waiting for dealflow and can’t imagine I’ll need to earn miles any other way for a while. Given current interest rates, even if the AA miles are 1c, I’m still doing better with Bask Bank.

  4. @ Alex

    Because it says in the email.

    Look at what it says underneath the screenshot Ben posted.

    Actually it says “domestic” twice!

  5. I received the offer I have no status $75.24 after tax for a year. I’ve already spent $480 and pending a few hundred more this year. I believe I’ll spend $1200-$2000 with American over the next year.
    I’d rather upgrade my wyndham rewards card with the $75 annual fee because I’m going to make diamond status this year. Just waiting for the miles from their 10X promotion to hit my account before making the switch.

  6. @dean, thinking the same. With less travel this year I’m having a hard time using AMEX credits. Would be an easy credit and earn some miles in the meantime.

  7. How does one get notified if targeted? Only by email? Or is there a link in AA.com where one can check? Maybe I missed it, but where does it say not good for previouly booked flights?

  8. I may have read it wrong but i interpreted it to mean those trips purchased after Feb 12. Not sure what the definition of “eligible “ is. Doesn’t matter because I was not targeted.

  9. can I argue with your calculation? Here’s your math
    Price of Membership $60
    “I value AAdvantage miles at 1.5 cents each”
    “Based on my valuation of miles, this is worth it if you plan on spending at least $800 on domestic travel in the next year (At 5 points per dollar spending).

    So first of all you forgot to calculate the tax on the $60 (besides the U.S. federal excise tax which IS included)
    Second, you only earn points on the base fare, so spending $800 would still not reach 40k points.

    But my main concern with this calculation is that even when you “value a point 1.5, would you purchase it at that amount as well? Because at the breakeven level you have basically transferred solid cash to points that may have the same value.

    To clarify: Points have 2 values;
    1.The minimum redemption value, which you value and aim for at 1.5.
    2. The price you are willing to pay for a point which should always be less than the targeted redemption value, because why would you spend 1.5c per mile to cash them out at the same rate?

    So yes, if there is a new card bonus you can use your valuation to calculate the SUB bonus, but taking cash out of pocket should have a different valuation.

  10. My other half and I were targeted at $69.99, we are general members. Per chat with AA, previously booked flights will earn double miles during the subscription year. We have three trips in first booked for 2021.

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