Tag Archives: American Airlines

My First Churn

One of the first questions that someone in the travel hacking game will have is what is a churn?  A credit card churn is when you apply for a credit card you’ve already had to get another sign-up bonus.  Most credit cards are not churnable.

Some of the first cards that I got when I started this game two and a half years ago were the American Airlines personal cards.  I’ve heard of people having success re-applying for these cards after about 18 months and I was reminded of that on yesterday’s Million Mile Secret’s post.  (Check out the post, it has some great information in it.)

I’ve been trying to figure out which card to apply for next and the 50,000 mile American Airlines sign-up bonus is one of the best ones out there (there is are Visa, Amex and Business versions of the card).  After confirming that I believe we can meet the spending requirements of the 2 cards (one Visa, one Amex), I decided to apply for both of them.  I could have used the 2-browser trick that Daraius talks about in his post.  But instead, I just used 2 computers and submitted the applications at the same time.  And I’m happy to say that I was approved for both cards!

After spending $3,000 on the card within 4 months, you get 50,000 miles, 1 Companion Pass for paid tickets and $100 statement credit for an eligible American Airlines purchase (e.g. a food purchase on the plane, baggage fee, etc).  Here are the links for the Citicard Visa and the Citicard American Express. I’m taking American Airlines down to North Carolina near the end of the month, so I’ll be able to meet the eligible American Airlines purchase part of the deal too and get the $100 statement credit!

We’re on our way to another 100,000 American Airlines miles!  And it’s great to see that I was able to get a bonus from a card that I’ve had before. 

The further you get in this game, the less cards are available to you because you’ve already had them.  I try to reserve my applications to the best deals.  As a result, I’m applying for far fewer than a lot of bloggers.  But I don’t want to miss out on an amazing deal in the future because I’ve already had the card that has the amazing deal.

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Is American Airlines Limiting Award Availability?

I am in the process of planning our 2013 Spring vacation.  My husband’s first choice is Belize.  I was thinking of using our American Airlines miles since a round-trip award ticket is only 30,000 miles.  As with other vacations, I made sure that I was on aa.com exactly when the day opened up for booking.  However, unlike other times, the MileSAAver award availability just wasn’t there.  So instead of 30,000 miles round-trip, it would have cost us 60,000 miles round-trip.  That’s just not viable when we’re trying to fly 4 people.  I even search availability from several airports that are within driving distance from our house and still did not find any availiabity.

I wondered if it was just me or if there was some larger award availability issue.  I went to Flyertalk and found an entire thread on how booking award tickets has been more difficult this year (the thread goes back to 2009, but if you read the more recent posts, you’ll see comments about how it’s been difficult this year).  There is speculation around the cause from the bankruptcy to the glut of people who have miles from the 75k sign-up bonus.  My gut tells me that it’s a result of the bankruptcy and trying to get more revenue out of each flight.  I never had an issue booking an award flight until this year.  And I was on aa.com, refreshing every second, so I know there is no way someone booked all the flights that quickly.

I wanted to alert people that this is happening in case you run into the same situation.  It may be easier this year to use another airline’s miles or book a flight on one of American’s partner airlines instead.

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American Airlines’ Golden Tickets Investigated

I heard a very interesting story yesterday on NPR that I thought you guys might be interested in.  Back in the 1980s, American Airlines offered an passes for unlimited, first class travel for life.  The tickets were pricey – starting at $250,000.  However, American Airlines is saying that some people who bought those tickets are costing the company millions of dollars a year.  They launched an investigation into the use of these tickets.  Check out the story on NPR.

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Tickets for June are FINALLY Ticketed

In a previous post, I talked about how my older son is going to spend a week visiting his cousins in North Carolina this summer.  I was using the American Airlines voucher that we got when we volunteered to get bumped from a flight on the way back from Wyoming last summer (the amount we had left over after booking our trip to Disney). 

To book the flights, I went onto aa.com and held the tickets that I wanted.  I then called the reservation number and told them the confirmation number.  They changed the status of the tickets to “purchased” and gave me the instructions on where to mail the voucher. 

I mailed the voucher using delivery confirmation with the US Postal Service, like the time that I used the vouchers to purchase our tickets to Disney.  Delivery confirmation does not require someone to sign for the mail, it just allows you to check the status of your mailing on-line.  So I was very surprised when a few days after mailing the voucher, I checked the status and it said they tried unsuccessfully to deliver it.  I figured I’d wait a few days to see if they would automatically redeliver it (or American Airlines would schedule a redelivery).  Five days passed and the status was still the same.  So I called American Airlines to ask them to schedule a redelivery.  The agent I got wasn’t very helpful at first.  She basically said, well those don’t come to where I work so I can’t check on it.  I asked if she could call where they go to see if they could schedule a redelivery.  She came back in about 5 minutes and said that they don’t schedule redeliveries.  She said it was odd that they couldn’t deliver it because the location is open 24/7.

Now, if American Airlines doesn’t get the voucher in an envelope postmarked by a certain date, they will cancel your tickets.  And ticket prices for those flights have gone up so I didn’t want that to happen.  I knew if no one scheduled a redelivery (or the post office couldn’t deliver them), they would get sent back to me.  However, that would mean I’d have to book new flights at a higher price and send the vouchers in again.

I didn’t know if the post office would automatically try to redeliver before the 15 day expiration (at which point they send your envelope back to you).  So I decided to try to schedule a redelivery myself.  Technically I don’t think I was supposed to do that because I was not the person receiving the package but desperate times call for desperate measures.  I went to usps.com, looked up the status of my mailing – still unsuccessful delivery.  On that page, there was a hyperlink to reschedule a delivery.  I clicked on that and then on a button that said it was being delivered to a business.  However, they still wanted me to fill in the First Name, Last Name and Phone Number fields.  So I decided to put American in the First Name field, Airlines in the Last Name field and my phone number in the Phone Number field.  I figured, hey if they can’t deliver it, at least I’ll get to talk to someone and could explain my situation.

Well, I’m happy to say that I went on aa.com yesterday to check the status of my tickets and the status was changed to ticketed!

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First Quarter American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards

There Citicard American Airlines credit card comes with a nice benefit.  Every quarter, Citicard puts out a list of destinations you can travel to using only 17,500 miles for a round-trip flight.  To get one of these 17,500 mile trips, you need to:

  • Have a Citicard American Airlines credit card in the same name as the frequent flyer account you are redeeming miles from
  • A MileSAAver award(s) must be available for the route you want to take

Here is a link to the destinations for this quarter by credit card.  Here’s a the full list if you don’t want to click on each region individually.

First quarter awards are valid for round trip travel originating in the 48 contiguous United States. Booking is valid December, 2011 – March 31, 2012 for travel from January 1, 2012 through March 31, 2012. All travel must be completed by March 31, 2012. To claim your award, or for more information, call American Airlines AAdvantage® Reservations at 1-800-882-8880.

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