LUCRATIVE: Earn American Miles Based on Distance Instead of Price Plus 15,000 Bonus Miles

Via Points Miles and More American’s AAVacations is offering 15,000 bonus miles for booking an air and hotel package (minimum 3 night stay) by February 22 for travel through November 20.

This is on top of the usual 1000 mile booking bonus from AAVacations and of course your flight earns miles.

AAVacations fares are interesting for several reasons. It’s one way to get more value out of the AAdvantage program while the program is worth less overall.

For one thing, they’re ‘bulk fares’ which don’t show the actual price of a ticket. That’s necessary so that they can offer discounted packages without running afoul of hotel best price requirements, since they don’t tell you how much the airfare and hotel are separately they can discount the hotel below what it’s being sold for on the chain’s website.

And without the fare attached to the reservation, American awards miles as a percentage of distance flown instead of based on fare. You earn elite qualifying miles as well.

Now there does seem to be a glitch where if you upgrade an AAVacations booking, the ticket gets reissued and the fare shows. Then your earning is based on fare not distance. This is a glitch and a problem for AAVAcations agreements with hotels, but also something to be aware of.

You won’t earn 1 mile per mile flown, but a percentage based on fare class (although AAVacations business class tickets do earn 1 mile per mile flown plus a 25% or 50% class of service bonus). And you generally won’t earn points for the hotel stay either as a third party booking.

If you want to earn a full 1 mile per mile flown instead of a percentage, consider crediting your flights to Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles or to Etihad Guest instead.

Bear in mind that business class tickets are often sold much less expensively through AAVacations than at And that if you want to earn American miles at a percentage of distance flown instead of fare that you can book an air + car reservation at AAVacations (even if you don’t pick up the car).

At first I thought that an air and car booking might trigger the bonus because the rules say the trip requires booking round trip flights and that it must have “a minimum stay of three nights” but you can satisfy both of those requirements with air and car. However the terms also say “hotel stay must match length of trip” which suggests including a hotel in the package is required.

In any case, in a destination where you aren’t booking a hotel based on elite status or points this could make great sense. And in a cheap enough hotel destination, for instance Las Vegas during the week where edge of strip and downtown properties are practically being given away, it could even make sense using this without staying in the hotel you book.

Key terms and conditions:

To earn 15,000 AAdvantage®bonus miles, you must purchase a vacation package between February 9 and February 22, for travel February 9 through November 20, 2017. No promo code necessary to obtain miles. A minimum stay of three nights required. Package must include round-trip flights. Receive the standard 1,000 bonus booking miles offer when booking any AAVacation, earning a total of 16,000 miles. Offer is valid for new reservations made during promotional booking period. Hotel stay must match length of trip. All travel must be complete on or before November 20, 2017, in order for promotion to apply. No blackout dates. Promo cannot be honored retroactively or applied to existing reservations. Promotion is only valid for reservations booked online at or by calling 1-800-321-2121.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This might be a very dumb question, but do the points post soon after purchasing the package, or after the vacation is completed?

  2. So funny how @Mark can’t ACTUALLY ever say anything nice.

    So @Mark I hope you have a great day, unlike the rest of your miserable wretched life 😉

  3. Hi Gary,

    I couldn’t tell, but is this a one-time offer or can one book several trips and get multiple bonuses? Thanks!

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