You Can Now Use Your American Airlines Vacations Elite Credit


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Back in the middle of April, American Airlines announced a series of measures that it was taking to (mostly) try to stop its more frequent flyers from defecting to other airlines. These measures included elite status extensions, Admirals Club membership extensions, and, amongst other things, a promise of future American Airlines Vacation credits. Details of these credits are now being emailed out to AAdvantage elite status holders.

AA Vacation Credits – What You Need To Know

  • There are one-time credits
  • The size of the credit being offered varies according to an AAdvantage member’s elite status as of 30 June 2020:
    • AAdvantage Gold: $300
    • AAdvantage Platinum and Platinum Pro: $350
    • AAdvantage Executive Platinum: $400
  • The credit can only be used on a package that includes round-trip flights and hotel accommodation.
  • Bookings must be made by 18 December 2021
  • Packages can be booked a maximum of 331 days in advance
  • Travel may commence from 3 July 2020
  • Travel may not commence any later than 20 December 2021
  • There is a minimum spend requirement of $2,500.
  • This offer is valid for new reservations made by phone on/after 1 July 2020 (800-321-2121).
  • Multiple hotel stays are valid for promo as long as the total nights booked is greater than the minimum stay requirements.

Link to more details

Thoughts

The first thing to note is that this promotion is useless for any AAdvantage members based outside the United States as all American Airlines Vacations bookings appear to have to originate in the United States.

If you’re based in the United States this may be a nice offer if you generally use American Airlines vacations anyway, but this isn’t an offer that’s going to be particularly enticing for most other travelers.

A key issue here is that hotels booked through American Airlines Vacations will (mostly) not earn guests any elite stay credits or any of the hotel’s loyalty currency (Bonvoy points, World of Hyatt points, etc…), and guests will not be entitled to any benefits their elite statuses entitle them too (upgrades will not be honored, late checkouts will not be honored, breakfasts will not be complimentary, etc…) and that’s quite a lot to give up for a discount that may be as low as $300.

Travelers without elite status or travelers booking boutique hotels that are not affiliated to a loyalty program may not consider any of this to be an issue, but they shouldn’t forget that by booking through American Airlines Vacations they will still be forgoing the opportunity to earn credits towards free nights in the Hotels.com program, and they will be forgoing the opportunity to save money by using shopping portals (e.g. Rakuten, TopCashback.com, etc…) that often offer cash back on stays at properties affiliated to the bigger hotel chains.

Rakuten has been known to offer some great cash back deals for hotel stays

None of this is to say that the credit being offered by American Airlines Vacations should be dismissed out of hand, but anyone planning to use the credit should do the following:

  1. Price up the cost of the exact same vacation when booking flights and hotels separately
  2. Consider carefully the value of what they will be giving up (if anything) by booking their accommodation through American Airlines Vacations and not directly with the hotel/hotel chain.

Note: American Airlines Vacations has a price match policy and this may come in useful if you find that a trip priced separately is working out cheaper than whatever it is American Airlines Vacations is offering.

Bottom Line

The American Airlines Vacation credits we were promised back in April are now available to use. There’s plenty of time to book but anyone considering using their credit should be careful to check that they’re not using the credit for the sake of it – make sure you’re actually getting a good deal.

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