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Answers (16)

Will this work with AAdvantage/Avios?

Will this work with AAdvantage/Avios?

  1. Patrick Spence


    I am new to the nuances of “gaming the system” to save money on flights, but I may have found something that could work. I am trying to go from Washington, DC (any airport, preferably not BWI) to Granada (GRX) on June 16, in a few months. Prices are so absurd that I was thinking of taking an Amtrak train to Newark, flying Norwegian to Barcelona, then Vueling to Granada, all booked through Obviously, I’d rather not do that. The only airlines that fly to Granada with decent mileage plans are OneWorld (Iberia and British), so I thought I’d look for a card through one of them with an amazing sign up bonus.

    I found two options that might work. First is the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. It looks like it can give me 50,000 miles if I sign up for it and spend $2000 within the first few months. My thought was that I could sigh up for it, spend those $2000 on flights home from Spain, as well as a bunch of hotels and so on within the first week, then, after meeting the requirement, spend all those miles on tickets to Spain. On American’s site, those are well over the required number of miles to buy this ticket. However, it is only listing flights from DCA-CLT/PHL/JFK/ORD-MAD-GRX. I would like to book British Airways’ flight from IAD-LHR, LCY-GRX and avoid a third leg to an already long trip. Is this possible to book with AAdvantage? Also, is it possible to get the card, meet the sign-up bonus, and buy the tickets in the rather short timeframe I have?

    My other solution was to get the British Airways Visa Signature Card, which requires a sign up bonus of $3000 for 50,000 avios. I would rather spend $1000 less on the AAdvantage card, but I’d go for British if it could get me the shorter flight via London. However, this would also need to allow me to fulfill all the requirements in a short timeframe. Is this possible? Is there anything I’m missing?

  2. rickyw

    Hi Patrick – the short time frame might be worrisome, but if you are sure you can meet the spending requirements, then you should be okay.

    As for the routings – everything is dependent on availability. Unfortunately, American doesn’t have any sort of policy where a seat for sale equals a seat you can book with miles (at the cheap, saver level). Award availability tends to be better on British Airways operated flights (that you can book with AAdvantage miles), but it’s not perfect.

    The issue with using Avios is they charge you per segment, so you’d end up spending more miles even though you’d eliminate a connection. Does that make sense?

  3. MidSouthSkier

    And don’t forget that flights on BA metal will incur fuel surcharges.

  4. David W

    The thing is, BA’s LCY-GRX doesnt operate daily so it’ll be tough to work with. Currently there’s no space on a IAD-LHR flight that’ll get you to London with enough time but within AA’s award constraints that will let you connect to the LCY flight.

    You can get the card and the bonus miles – there is still enough time to do so and be able to ticket an award. The trouble is finding award space that works.

    Lastly – it’s not “gaming the system” – rules are followed, we just take advantage of credit card signup bonuses and other promotions to redeem for flights that are within the program’s rules.

  5. Patrick Spence

    Thanks. I understand the surcharges and routings, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay to do a one stop premium economy routing which gets me to Spain a day earlier. What concerns me is that I either won’t get the card immediately or I won’t get the Avios immediately, and I don’t have a lot of time.

  6. Patrick Spence

    Also, the IAD-LHR/LCY-GRX on June 16th/17th does, in fact, opeeate, and premium economy is only costing about 20,000 Avios.

  7. David W

    I was checking via AA and they cant book Premium Economy awards but it’s great that you found it via Avios.

    I’d apply for the card and maybe request that it be expedited to you so that you can start the spend sooner. Just be aware that the seats might not be available by the time you have the Avios and there’s really no way to guarantee availability.

  8. Patrick Spence

    Based off your experience, what is the likelyhood of getting approved in two weeks, and of award tickets being available?

  9. David W

    The BA card is not subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, meaning you should be approved for the card, assuming you have a great financial standing.

    BA is generally good at releasing award seats. Taking into the fact that you’re looking to book Premium Economy and that not many oneworld programs let you book PE, I’d like to think that the space will remain available. However, there is really no way to guarantee for sure. Worse case is you’d have to add another connection in the US.

  10. Patrick Spence

    Thank you all for your advice. I have just one last question: is it possible for the cardholder and the passenger to be two different people?

  11. David W

    Yes – BA allows you to use your avois to book travel for others.

  12. Patrick Spence

    Thanks! I think I’ll go the BA route.

  13. Patrick Spence

    I just called, and found out I cannot get the Avios before the end of May. I assume it would be very risky to wait that long before booking tickets. I really want to leave June 16, after 9:00pm (DCA) or 10:00pm (IAD), and not spend $3000. Does anyone have suggestions?

  14. David W

    AA is selling miles at a discount but you cant redeem for premium economy…

    Alaska was selling miles with a bonus and you can redeem for Premium Economy on BA, but that promo is over. There might be another one soon.

    DO you have any credit card points that can be transferred?

  15. Patrick Spence

    Not really. I used most of my United miles on a recent flight. However, it looks like I could buy enough American Miles to fly to MAD via LHR for $675, then book a connecting flight to Granada from Madrid, or London, ditching the connection via Madrid.

  16. rickyw

    Patrick, if you’re still shopping around there is a pretty crazy sale on flights to London out of Washington right now in Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy. It’s a non-stop out of Dulles.


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