Estimated read time: 5 minutes and 27 seconds
Good morning from the ANA lounge at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.
Today has been one of those “I got to the airport and found out I got the wrong kind of visa to the country I’m flying to, so I threw a last-minute hail mary and managed to get ahold of the right visa just minutes before the deadline to check in for my flight, so now I’m drinking beer after almost getting stranded in Japan” kind of days.
Needless to say, I’m both exhausted and relieved. But not too exhausted to share some wicked awesome stuff with you, so let’s jump in:
🌍 Daily Drop Travel Tournament: Day 2
✈️ How to gamify American Airlines’ loyalty program to the extreme
🌍 Daily Drop Travel Tournament: Day 2
Yesterday, y’all voted on your favorite airlines and bucket list destinations. And I gotta say; some of the results are shocking.
But you’ll have to wait a little while to see them 😉
But today is even more exciting than yesterday because we’re having the first round of voting for the final two categories; Points/Loyalty Programs and Travel Perks.
As a reminder, simply vote for your favorite option from each poll below. We’ll use the results to determine winners from pre-determined sets of head-to-head pairs.
Ready? Let’s go!!
If you're reading on the web, voting has closed for this round. But we'll be sharing the results in future Daily Drops!
Next time, we’ll tell you which contenders made it to the next round, and you’ll vote on who progresses even further. It’s going to be crazy.
✈️ Let’s talk about American Airlines
A reader reached out the other day asking if we could talk about American Airlines’ loyalty program.
And then I realized; we NEVER talk about AA… and that’s bad.
It’s bad because American Airlines has what may be the single most fun loyalty program in the U.S., and possibly the most rewarding.
If you don’t know about the new AA program (which recently underwent some changes), your mind is about to be blown.
Oh, and if you live abroad, you should read this…
So, let’s talk about American Airlines.
But here’s the kicker:
The best and easiest ways to earn Loyalty Points don’t require you to ever fly with American Airlines.
So that means anybody can earn tons of points, rewards, and elite status by sitting at home on your couch and playing the game in the right way.
Loyalty Points aren’t just a currency to get you elite status. Every Loyalty Point you earn is also an American Airlines mile, which you can redeem for free flights on AA and tons of great partner airlines like Qatar and Etihad.
Let me show you some easy ways to gamify this program, rack up thousands of dollars worth of miles, and earn elite status with one or two purchases…
I know this is a lot to take in, so let’s look at an example that illustrates how this all works in practice.
The best way to rack up Loyalty Points quickly is to use the AAdvantage travel and shopping portals. If you book a hotel, for example, you can earn tons of Loyalty Points on that stay.
That’s already a good deal on its own considering how expensive the big Japanese cities can be. But this hotel will also earn you 18,000 Loyalty Points.
Those miles are worth $281 on their own as AA miles, meaning right off the bat you’re getting a 38% return on your purchase.
I know, I know, your mind is blown.
But here’s where things get EXTRA saucy….
Those 18,733 loyalty points unlock the first milestone of this new program, which only requires 15,000 loyalty points.
Again, people, this is all just rewards for buying a 4-night hotel stay…
In addition to putting you over that first threshold, you’re also halfway toward earning AAdvantage Gold Elite Status, which only requires 40,000 Loyalty Points.
This tier gets you :
Higher boarding priority
Complimentary upgrades on AA and Alaska Airlines
Complimentary preferred seats
Free checked bag
OneWorld Ruby Status
So theoretically, you could do that aforementioned hotel stay twice (or just book an 8-night stay there) and unlock OneWorld Elite status, 40,000 miles (worth $600), and all those other benefits I mentioned…
But let’s skip ahead a bit…
If you earn 75,000 Loyalty Points, you’ll unlock Advantage Platinum Elite Status, which comes with even more benefits, OneWorld Sapphire status, and, of course, 75,000 AA miles.
This is where the program comes in handy for international travelers.
Having OneWorld status gets you perks on airlines like British Airways, Qatar Airways, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and more.
But back to the 75,000 Loyalty Points/AA miles. Want to know how valuable that is?
But how much would it cost you to earn 75,000 Loyalty Points?
If we use that hotel stay as a blueprint for maximizing Loyalty Point earnings, 18,733 Loyalty Points cost $733 (the cost of the hotel stay).
Since you need 75,000 to hit Platinum status, it would cost you about $3,000 in similar hotel stays to achieve.
I know, I know, I’m sorry about the math… but I’m on a roll here.
That means for $3,000, you could book an amazing 16-night hotel stay in Osaka, unlock American Airlines elite status, unlock OneWorld elite status, and get a long-haul, business-class flight on one of the world’s best airlines.
Now all of this is based on ONE random hotel booking in Japan.
This is the ultimate gamification of points and miles, with a serious payoff at the end of it all. The fact that you can do it without ever setting foot on an American Airlines flight makes it much more interesting, in my opinion.
As a lover of the game, I might go for AA status simply for the fun of it.
After all, if I have fun, get OneWorld perks when flying internationally, and rack up some miles to fly free on Qatar and Etihad… why the heck not?
That’s gonna do it for today. I know it may be early for you, but I desperately need a nap…
See you tomorrow, and I hope you all have a wonderful day