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American Airlines AAdvantage is completely rethinking how members can earn elite status. (click here for details) Although these changes go live in March, you can start earning “Loyalty Points” today.
Because American Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, I have been analysing whether AAdvantage could be a viable alternative to British Airways Executive Club, at least for those interested in the perks of elite status. You might want to re-read:
- Part One – How to accumulate Loyalty Points from hotel stays
- Part Two – How short-haul BA flights credit to AAdvantage and BA Executive Club
As a reminder, the relevant AA statuses – and the number of so-called Loyalty Points required – are:
- AAdvantage Platinum status (i.e. BA Silver) –> 75,000 Loyalty Points
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro status (i.e. BA Gold) –> 125,000 Loyalty Points
Because BA Silver status is relatively far easier to achieve than AA Platinum, I have been focusing on Platinum Pro status – i.e. Oneworld Emerald / BA Gold – because there are surely several readers who might be interested in Oneworld Emerald status but don’t really have the travel patterns to earn BA Gold organically.
British Airways Holidays
- Travel before 31 October, 2022
- Book a Flight + Hotel or Flight + Car package of 5 nights or longer
Many people who might otherwise “Tier Point run” are taking advantage of this promotion to go on a 5-night holiday instead. Even though they must book their hotel stay (or car rental) through British Airways, many people reckon that they need one anyhow. (and they might not be as concerned about earning points / elite status credit from a major hotel chain)
But since we can now earn large amounts of Loyalty Points from booking hotels, lets compare the two options…
London to Bucharest for Easter
Crediting to British Airways Executive Club
One of the cheapest “80 Tier Point” destinations available at Easter 2022 is Bucharest, Romania. For roughly £700, you can fly Club Europe to Bucharest and stay 5 nights at the Novotel in the city centre.
Once your trip has ended (and you chase up the double tier points weeks later), you should earn:
- 320 Tier Points (80 x 2 x 2)
- 684 Avios for booking a BA Holiday package (1 Avios per £ spent)
- 3,922 Avios from your Club Europe flights
- 1,307 – 2,614 Avios for Silver – Gold members as a tier bonus
Summary – British Airways Executive Club
In exchange for your £684, your BA Holiday package would earn you:
- 320 / 1,125 –> 28.4% of the requirements for Oneworld Emerald
- 4,606 – 7,220 Avios –> £46 – 72
Crediting Your Flight to AAdvantage and Booking your Hotel Separately
A flight-only booking in Club Europe would cost you £412.
What we would do to supercharge our Loyalty Points is to book the Novotel separately and “boost” to the maximum. We would earn 23,000 Loyalty Points / miles by paying £549.
Once the trip has ended, you should earn:
- 23,000 miles from the hotel stay
- 3,922 miles from the Club Europe flights
- 1,046 – 2,092 tier bonus miles from your AA status (Gold to Platinum Pro)
Because all of the above miles would be Loyalty Points, your 28,000 – 29,000 Loyalty Points would get you 22.4 – 23.2% of the way to Platinum Pro status (Oneworld Emerald). Your holiday would also cost you a total of £960.
HOWEVER, you would also have 28,000 – 29,000 AA miles to spend on award flights. These would be worth £310 – 375.
Flying Economy Class Instead
However, if you choose to fly to Bucharest in Economy class, you would only pay £139 for your flights.
You would earn slightly fewer miles / Loyalty Points by flying in Economy, but your total holiday cost would be £139 +£549 = £688.
I don’t want to repeat the entire analysis, but you would basically earn far more redeemable miles from the American Airlines route, whilst earning a higher credit for elite status via the British Airways Executive Club route. (there are also a variety of views regarding the relative value of flying in Club Europe versus Economy…)
For 2022, the reduced threshold for BA Gold status – 1,125 Tier Points instead of 1,500 – and the “double Tier Point” BA Holiday promotion is definitely the winner.
But for 2023 and beyond, those advantages would disappear. Booking AA Hotels for the Loyalty Points could very well be much more cost-effective than flying in Club Europe to “80 Tier Point” destinations. At the very least, you would be able to choose from thousands of different hotels worldwide, instead of limiting yourself to a handful of British Airways destinations…