Two to Travel (And Tango)

Travel Tips and Inspiration From Millennials, For Millennials

Tag: AAdvantage Platinum

Earning Miles Has Never Been Easier: Why We Love OneWorld

Elite status keeps flying enjoyable. In our first post on miles and flights on this blog, we tried to drive home what a difference elite status can make in your flying experience.  First class upgrades when available. Priority screening through airport security and the ability to be one of the first people to board the airplane. Double miles earned on every flight, which means award tickets to keep traveling! When I’m not in first class, I’m always in the emergency exit row. And when I call American Airlines, I never wait more than 30 seconds to talk to an agent. When I called Delta yesterday as a regular member and was on hold for 42 minutes, I realized how special that is. You want to get elite status, end of story. And here’s the good news: Not only has earning airline miles never been easier, it’s also never been easier to earn elite status on American Airlines thanks to the OneWorld Alliance they are part of!

And so I’m excited to say that in less than 5 months, I’ve re-qualified for Platinum with American Airlines. It usually takes me all year, as I get the final few miles needed in the last week of the calendar year.

But here’s the crazy thing: I’ve only flown 3,611 miles on American Airlines this year.

Despite only flying 3,611 miles on American Airlines, I have managed to re-qualify for Platinum, which requires 50,000 miles. How?

It takes 50,000 miles to re-qualify for platinum. But I’ve only flown 3,611 miles on American Airlines… The numbers don’t compute, right? That’s where the OneWorld Alliance comes in.

Turns out the first half of this year has been a busy year full of international travel for me. And so the other 46,389 miles flown have been on LAN Airlines and British Airways. When you fly these airlines, as well as a host of others that you can find here, you earn miles for American. Think about that for a moment. If you’re taking a trip to Europe this summer, or Asia or parts of South America, one trip alone, whether it is on American or not, can get you half way to low tier “gold” elite status. One trip gets you half way to priority security screening, extra miles, preferred seats, and more! Now for the crazy thing: Most people don’t even bother to understand how alliances work, and so those miles go unclaimed!

As great as airline alliances are, the benefits are slowly disappearing. United now requires that you not only fly 50,000 miles to reach their AAdvantage Platinum equivalent Gold Premier, but you have to spend $5,000 “premier qualifying dollars”. This is just a fancy way to say, you need to spend 5k with United, United Express, or Copa. Tricky, tricky! To reach Delta Gold, the same scheme is in place: 50,000 miles AND $5,000 on Delta flights.

So will American change? Sadly, someday, yes. But for now, the ease with which you can earn elite status is but one of the many reasons we find ourselves loyal to American Airlines and the OneWorld Alliance! And if you fly Delta or United, you may be surprised how easily you can still earn status, and if nothing else, you can still earn miles on Delta or United when flying their partner airlines which again adds up to more chances to redeem miles for free flights. As for me, American need not worry: The rest of the year is exclusively on American Airlines, hopefully with several upgrades to first class throughout!

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Frequent Flyer 101

In December of 2013, Laura and I traveled to New Zealand in style: our seat turned into a bed. This was a follow up to an epic OneWorld Explorer trip we did back in 2012, that took us from Los Angeles to Honolulu to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Bali to Bangkok (where we then took trains through Thailand, Malaysia, and ended in Singapore) before flying back to LAX. And all of it was done flying in business class, for less than $300…You still with me?dafc7afe3e4a11e38ab422000aa80430_8

So how do you do this? Two ways: be filthy rich, OR take a serious look at earning miles. There are a ton of ways to earn miles. There is the classic butt-in-seat miles approach (flying), credit card bonuses (jackpot), and even getting miles for doing nothing more than eating at your favorite pizza place (every mile counts). We’ll hit all of these in posts over the next few weeks.

But to get anywhere, you’ve got to have a frequent flyer account. Like. Right. Now. So this post is for the beginners of beginners. Not sure where to start? We’ll do our best to avoid the jargon and complexities and will cut right to the point.

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