Here are 9 tips to help you take advantage of fare deals and find mileage run opportunities.
1 – Know the Rules
If you’re pursuing Fast Track Status remember this:
• You need to earn Elite Qualifying MIles (EQM) not Elite Qualifying Points (EQP)
• Most (but not all) travel on partners will qualify
• Travel must occur September 1 and beyond.
For your reference, here are the terms and conditions for the AAdvantage Fast Track to Status offer:
Elite-Status Offer Terms and Conditions
Eligible airlines include American Airlines, American Eagle, American Connection carrier, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Qantas flights, as well as eligible codeshare flights.
AAdvantage elite-status membership received through this offer is valid through February 28, 2015. Upon reaching the required elite-qualifying miles threshold, your AAdvantage elite status membership benefits will take effect immediately.
Your new membership credentials will be mailed to you within four to six weeks after qualification.
Applies to base miles earned on eligible, purchased, published fare tickets on select airlines for travel between September 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013.
Select each airline name to learn more about qualifying fares for that carrier: American Airlines, American Eagle, American Connection carriers, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Qantas.
Bonus miles do not count toward elite status qualification.
2 – The Flight Deal
The team at The Flight Deal tracks fares from each of American’s cornerstone markets and several other cities. What makes them different from many other fare tracking sites is that they look for value and not just a low price. They only publish deals that are priced at 6 cents per mile or better.
Subscribe to their Daily Deals Newsletter for great mileage run fares like this recent $271 round-trip fare between Boston and Anchorage.
Some of these fares are very short lived and available for just a couple of hours. Follow @TheFlightDeal on Twitter so that you don’t miss out on any of them.
3 – Fare Deal Alert
The Flight Deal folks also track deals from some of American’s secondary markets on their separate Fare Deal Alert website. Follow @FareDealAlert on Twitter to find travel deals from Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando, and San Diego.
4 – FareCompare
The online airfare comparison-shopping site FareCompare offers several travel tools including their online Where-to-Go Getaway Map. Just plug in your starting point, select American Airlines, and adjust the slider to see a display of destinations and fares from your city.
5 – Google Flights
Just like FareCompare, Google Flights lets you visualize destinations and fares.
6 – FlyerTalk
Keep an eye on the FlyerTalk Mileage Run forums.
7 – MileCalc
Use a site like MileCalc to help you calculate miles and plan your travel.
8 – ITA Software and Chipmunk
The problem with a cheap fare is that it can be a challenge to find availability and a challenge to book.
Use ITA Matrix to help you plan complex routings and locate availability.
And then after you find your awesome fare that allows you to make multiple connections and earn thousands of extra miles, go to Hipmunk to book it.
AA.com is designed to help you find the most convenient flights, not the ones that will earn you the most miles. Hipmunk supports a limited set of ITA commands and will allow you to book most of the itineraries you find on ITA Matrix
9 – Transcon Routes
Flights between JFK/LAX, JFK/SFO, MIA/LAX, and JFK/SEA, and BOS/LAX earn lots of miles and it’s usually pretty easy to find a cheap fare on at least one of these routes. Consider a positioning flight to one of these cities. With some back-to-back runs you can earn 10,000 – 12,000 miles in a weekend!
Top Photo: Advice
Credit: Laughlin Elkind on Flickr