AAdvantage one way add-on for an average Jane

Update: recent changes in AAdvantage chart make this post obsolete, as stopovers are no longer allowed to exceed 24 hours.

OK, this time I actually do mean average intelligence. Not to imply, that you are!  A reader  mentioned  how complicated the whole idea of a one way add-on is, so I decided to create a  post, that hopefully makes it easier to comprehend.

This topic has been covered a 100 times in the blogs before, so I’m not breaking any new ground here. The twist  is to show how this is very much an attainable goal for a regular family. My dream for this blog is to make content intelligent, yet fun and easy to understand. I hope I’m succeeding.

I will attempt to cover only flights from USA to Europe. First, the idea probably seems a bit overwhelming. But really you only need to have a husband and a wife each apply for CITI AA card with 50000 miles bonus, listed in my Best Deals page. And you could potentially provide 4  one way tickets to Europe with a free add-on.

Plus, with 10 percent rebate you would have enough miles leftover for 2 one way tickets (at 12500 miles each) within Continental USA or Canada. Not too shabby, right? Then for the flight back you would need only one Chase British Airways visa with 50000 miles sign-up bonus, also listed on the same page. And you could  fly all 4 of you for 12500 miles each, from Dublin to Boston on Aer Lingus with no fuel surcharges. A great  bargain!

We will leave BA Avios program for another post. But just 3 cards could potentially get you a good part of the way to 2 vacations for your entire family. So, the best part and most lucrative thing about AAdvantage mileage program to me is the ability to add a free one way  to your European flight. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t. First, here is the mileage requirement for flights to Europe from North America. Note, that North America region  includes Hawaii and Caribbean in this case :

20000 miles each way in economy October 15th-May 15th

30000 miles each way in economy the rest of the year

The part we are mostly interested in, is off-peak pricing. But what if we want to go in the summer, as thats when most families take their vacation?  No problem. This is where one way add-on can actually save you miles.

Thats because you are allowed to have a stopover in any AAdvantage gateway city on your way to Europe, as long as the schedule is loaded in the system. You can start during the off-peak period in North America, including Hawaii and Caribbean, add a stopover in the gateway city and continue on to Europe in the summer.

Look at the excellent chart, made by Matt from Saverocity LINK   It shows you the cities, where you are allowed to have a stopover. Simply match them up to corresponding airlines, that are part of One World alliance. This gives you a good reference point.

When you are looking for award availability, you will have to go to AA website, log in and start your award search. I tried to include screenshots, but it didn’t work. I am Amish, when it comes to IT. No offense. Actually, they probably would take it as a compliment.

So I will try to describe the steps. At the end of the post there is a link to the more sophisticated presentation, so hang in there.

Step 1  Click refine your search   It’s located at the bottom on the right hand corner.

Step 2  Make sure to select AAdvantage Award and multi-city option.

Let me show you a real life example, that I am looking into myself. Lets say we need to fly to Europe in June 2014 from Miami to Munich and add a one way from Las Vegas to Miami in November of 2013. Because our trip will start in the off-peak season, the whole leg should price at 20000 miles each way.
 Of course we do need to find availability, which is not always easy for a family. But with some flexibility it is possible. Since its a multi-city option, you will have to input each flight with dates separately. So first we would put in Las Vegas -Miami leg in November 2013 and then Miami-Munich leg in June 2014. After that you will be given a choice of award flights on each leg.
First, stay away from British Airways, when it comes to european flights. The fuel surcharges will kill the deal.  I like Air Berlin partner, because they usually have  a decent availability and no fuel surcharges. You can mix and match flights, so the flight from Las Vegas to Miami can be on American Airlines and flight to Europe on Air Berlin.
What you want to make sure of, is that your stopover city is your gateway city. Thats why I like the superb chart I referenced earlier. In our case Air Berlin does fly from Miami to Europe. So our plan should work, as long as there is availability. We would have to book our outbound flight to Las Vegas separately, either using miles or paid tickets. So we would have a short vacation in Las Vegas in November of 2013, then fly back to Miami. After that in June of 2014 we would set out on our Europe trip.
You can see why it’s such a tremendous deal at only 20000 miles per person. You could potentially  get a one way flight from Hawaii or Caribbean, which would be even more lucrative. Our plans don’t really match up, so we will have to settle for Vegas this time around. So hopefully all of this makes sense. If not, email me or comment and I will try to clarify any points of confusion.
If you are above average intelligence, as I’m sure you are, head on over to Saverocity for more on the subject. He has a post on it  with screenshots as well as the usual abundance of fancy words.   LINK  I think, even Amish would be able to comprehend my explanation, right? Hmm, I wonder if they are allowed to sign up for credit cards? Frugal Travel Guy(the man), don’t go there! Meaning, literally don’t go to the Amish country to recruit them! 🙂
Photo credit goes to visitrockypoint.com

3 thoughts on “AAdvantage one way add-on for an average Jane

  1. Pingback: Hawaii travel challenge for a family of five | Miles For Family

  2. Pingback: Family challenge for a trip to Rio | Miles For Family

  3. Pingback: RIP, Free AAdvantage One-Way | Miles For Family

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