An American Airlines companion certificate
If you spend $30,000 or more in the year starting with your anniversary date, you will get a $99 domestic companion certificate. That means you can bring a companion along on any domestic American Airlines flight for just $99 plus taxes and fees of about $20-$40.
The catch is you must book in some of the cheaper fare classes, so you won’t be able to use this on flights that are sold out or extra busy.
What are the miles worth?
It depends on where you want to use them.
For domestic flights you’ll probably get about 1 cent per mile in value. Most flights cost around $350 and you’ll probably need around 35,000 miles if you aren’t flexible with dates. If you’re more flexible you might find options for 25,000 miles roundtrip, which gets you closer to 1.4 cents per mile in value.
The real deal with American miles is saving up for international tickets.
For example you can get a $1,500 ticket to Japan for 50,000 miles, which works out to a great 3 cents a mile in value. Or travel one way in Business Class, a $3,000+ ticket for 6 cents per mile or more in value.
Europe is a place that deserves a warning with American miles though. Many of your options during busy months will be on British Airways which adds fuel surcharges of $700 – $1,000+ roundtrip.
So a 60,000 mile Economy Class roundtrip with $700 in fuel surcharges isn’t a great deal. There are ways around it, but if Europe is in your plans AAdvantage miles might not be the best way to go unless you’re really flexible.
But Latin America has great deals, and if you want to fly to Australia the 75,000 miles AAdvantage charges for Qantas flights down there is the lowest around, a great deal for tickets that often cost $2,000 or more.
What airlines can you fly?
You can use your AAdvantage miles to fly any OneWorld airline, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7, TAM, and Sri Lankan.
Closer to home you an also use your miles to fly Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, both of which are great for getting to Hawaii from the West Coast.
What will happen with the merger?
US Airways and American are merging, but your miles are safe.
The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® will continue to be active with the same benefits available now. Sometime in the Spring, if you have a US Airways account, your miles will be combined into one single AAdvantage account.
What kind of business do you need?
You don’t need a big business to qualify for this card. There are businesses of all sizes that can use a card for expenses, many of them just recently getting started. While Citi likes to have an established business credit history, your own personal credit history is a big factor, and if you have excellent personal credit, and a business just getting off the ground you might qualify.
Many people have part time businesses and leverage cards like this one to separate business from personal expenses.
How do employee cards work?
Employee cards are free and they earn miles into your AAdvantage account so you can reap the rewards of all of your business spending.
Should you get this card?
If you have a business and want to earn AAdvantage miles, there is one other card, the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card, which earns points you can transfer into your AAdvantage account.
The drawback is there is a lag of a few days between when you transfer out of Starwood and into AAdvantage miles. But it’s a reasonable alternative to this card.
The annual fee is lower, but it doesn’t include a free checked bag or priority boarding.
The best strategy is to get this card for the high bonus, try it out and see how you feel about it, and when the annual fee comes due in a year, reassess its place in your business’ wallet. You can keep the bonus miles even if you decide to switch to another card.
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Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card - $85 annual fee.