Earn 5,000 American AAdvantage Miles by Booking Travel

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American Airlines is offering a bonus of up to 5,000 AAdvantage Miles when you making travel bookings by May 18th. I will discuss if this is a good deal or not.

You must register for this promotion here before booking any flights. Whether you intend to take AAdvantage (yes) of this deal or not, you should register for the promotion now since it’s free to register and you won’t need to worry about forgetting about registration in case you make a booking later.

The Deal

Terms and conditions are:

  • This offer is available to all AAdvantage® members
  • You must register by 11:59 p.m. CT on May 18, 2020, and before flight purchase and travel in order for your flights to count toward this promotion
  • Eligible flights must be both marketed by American Airlines and operated by American or American Eagle®, booked in any published, purchased fare, and ticketed by May 18, 2020
  • Flights booked with miles as the form of payment are not eligible for this promotion
  • Flights that reach the maximum mileage earned per ticket may still be eligible for this promotion
  • Travel booked or re-booked after May 18, 2020, isn’t eligible to earn bonus miles
  • Eligible flights must be flown between July 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020
  • Flights marketed and/or operated by other codeshare partners aren’t eligible
  • You’ll earn 500 bonus award miles for each eligible flight once it posts to your account
  • You can earn up to 5,000 bonus award miles for this promotion
  • Bonus miles don’t count toward elite status qualification or AAdvantage® Million Miler℠ status
  • 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
The Good

If you must travel during these times, or want to make speculative bookings for travel after the COVID-19 pandemic, then certainly this is a decent incentive to make bookings. Now you don’t need to make 10 reservations in order to get the full 5,000 bonus AAdvantage miles. This bonus applies to each flight you take, not each ticket you purchase. So if your ticket has 5 segments / flights, it means you get 500 x 5 = 2,500 points. Of course, you will still earn regular miles by flying as these are bonuses.

Whether you intend to book a trip that you must take now (i.e. if you are a medical personnel) or that big Christmas trip (and hope that the pandemic is under control then), 5,000 points is not a bad bonus. Valued at 1.4 cents per mile by The Points Guy, 5,000 AAdvantage miles are worth $70 USD as of time of writing.

The Bad

If you make a booking now and decide not to travel later, you will not get your money back unless your flight(s) are canceled by the airline. It has been well documented that due to the pandemic, airlines are trying hard to keep their cash and refusing to refund customers. So if they do cancel your flights, you may have to fight AA to get your money back. Hey, at least you’re not flying United, which redefined the meaning of the word ‘cancelled’.

Even if the airline changes your flight, your schedules can be changed dramatically; i.e. instead of a 10am departure, you can now be leaving at 5am, and the airline does not owe you penny.

And then there is massive uncertainty relating to future travel. When airlines are reducing capacity and declaring bankruptcies, and passenger volume is at less than 10% of last year’s, you just never know when your flight will actually take place, with possibility of it being cancelled just hours before departure.

So if you don’t have immediate or solid travel plans, I would advice against making speculative bookings at this point, as we are still very much in the middle of a pandemic.

And The Ugly

On top of worrying about whether your flights will actually happen or if the airline will be screwing around with your flights, you also need to worry about getting infected by fellow passengers. Yes, airlines are saying they will promote social distancing onboard by taking measures such as blocking middle seats. What they do not tell you is, that’s only at booking, and gate agents will still be able to put people in middle seats. So what do you end up with? A full plane!

I guess @united is relaxing their social distancing policy these days? Every seat full on this 737 pic.twitter.com/rqWeoIUPqL

— Ethan Weiss (@ethanjweiss) May 9, 2020

No one should be comfortable on a plane full of passengers these days. Want to fly on an A380? Forget about it. Also, are masks even effective on a plane? The jury is still out on that one but it is easy to say the answer is no if you only have ordinary cloth masks and not N95 or surgical masks. Which you most likely will not be able to find, and you will have to settle for non-surgical masks, dust masks, or masks made from socks, and if that’s the case I would rather not use a mask at all. Basically, you will not even be to able to wear an effective mask while flying.

Do you really want to risk potential headaches, your health and potentially your life over $70? I sure hope not.

Kevin