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Flying International: Pay or use Frequent Flyer Miles
I am a new AA Gold Member. I fly between South America and US twice a year. is it better to….
1. Use my frequent flyer miles to purchase ticket to South America? This question begs do I get frequent flyer miles for the trip after using frequent flyer limes to book the trip? AA told me NO.
2. Pay for the trip to get my frequent flyer miles and get these miles added to my account to maintain my Status?
Welcome [USER=1333]@Joe R[/USER] –
Yes, that’s right – when you use miles to pay for a trip you do not earn miles on that same trip.
If maintaining the status is important to you then paying for the trip may make sense as you’ll earn bonus miles on each paid ticket. In late 2014 [URL=’http://thepointsguy.com/2014/12/what-is-american-airlines-aadvantage-elite-status-worth/’]TPG wrote a post[/URL] about AA status and whether or not it’s worth buying up to keep the status. He lists each benefit of status so it’s a nice place to see what Gold gets you and figure out how much you value that benefit.
In general we like to use miles to get outsized value for a trip. So if the dates you’d like to fly have especially expensive tickets then it may make more sense to use miles rather than cash.
But if you use miles to book flights you don’t attain membership levels for upgrades. How are you getting first class seats without membership upgrades?
Each person’s situation is different. Lucky buys a lot domestic flights and good-priced business class flights when he can find them, which contributes to status-earning. With status he can get bumped up to the next cabin on those paid flights. For those of us who don’t fly enough to earn status, we just use miles for flights we don’t want to pay cash for, whether that’s a domestic economy seat, international first class or something in between.