Earn 250 Miles When Booking American Airlines Award Flights

American Airlines has launched a new promotion offering 250 bonus miles when booking award flights. While that’s better than nothing, there are a few hoops you need to jump through and the restrictions for the promotion limit its usefulness.

The Deal

Key Terms

  • Register by 11:59 p.m. CT on October 7, 2020, and before creating a flight reservation, redeeming miles and traveling in order for your award flights to count toward this promotion
  • Your AAdvantage number must be included in your flight reservation for your travel to count
  • Promotion miles can only be credited to the account of the ticketed passenger
  • If booking tickets for another traveler, they must also register for this promotion during the registration window and before creating a reservation to be eligible for this promotion
  • Offer applies to eligible award flights with a reservation created and booked between the day you register and October 31, 2020
  • You must register for the promotion prior to putting a flight on hold for that reservation to count
  • Eligible flights must be flown between October 1, 2020, and October 31, 2020
  • Award flights must be marketed by American Airlines and operated by American Airlines or American Eagle
  • Non-flight awards, including upgrade awards, aren’t eligible for this promotion
  • Award flights ticketed before registration aren’t eligible for the promotion
  • You’ll earn 250 promotion award miles for each eligible flight once it posts to your account
  • You can earn up to 2,000 promotion award miles for this promotion
  • Miles are subject to the standard AAdvantage program terms and conditions
  • American may, at any time and without notice, change, stop or end this promotion in part or in full

Quick Thoughts

The email from American Airlines sounded too good to be true:

Stephen, Get up to 2,000 miles on award travel

And it was.

Reading the email’s subject line, I initially assumed that you could book an award flight and earn 2,000 miles. That would have potentially been a great deal seeing as some American Airlines flights can be booked for only 5,000 miles.

As it turns out, the 2,000 miles headline is the maximum number of miles you can earn through this promotion, with the number you receive per award flight only being 250.

On the one hand, I feel like I shouldn’t be so pessimistic about this promotion seeing as airlines never award bonus miles when booking award flights. On the other hand, airlines do sometimes offer award sales which function in much the same way but are far more generous than saving you 250 miles.

It doesn’t help that American Airlines has limited the usefulness of the promotion by imposing several terms. First, registration is required, so it’s worth doing that if you have a balance of miles in your AAdvantage account even if you have no intention of flying in October just in case some kind of emergency leads you to book an award flight.

You then have to book award flights by October 7 and you only earn the 250 bonus miles for flights from October 1-31. That’s a relatively short window, although American Airlines might be planning for something different over the November-December holiday period.

I can’t see 250 bonus miles being an incentive to book award travel with American Airlines though. It reminds me of Marriott’s frequent lackluster promotions – the bonus points/miles are nice to have if you’ll be booking with them anyway, but I’m not going to suddenly decide to fly across the country just because I’ll effectively be saving 250 miles. It therefore feels like American Airlines will be coming out behind with this promotion because it seems like they’ll only be paying out the bonus to people who’d have been booking with them anyway, regardless of whether or not they would earn 250 miles per flight.

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