AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines. It has some relevance for New Zealand frequent flyers, thanks to the Qantas and American Airlines partnership through oneworld.
American also has a partnership with several other airlines that fly to New Zealand and are not part of oneworld, including Air Tahiti Nui, Fiji Airways and Hawaiian Airlines.
In short, American Airlines miles can be earned on most Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Fiji Airways and Hawaiian Airlines flights (among many other partners), and redeemed for flights on those same airlines too.
Earning and redeeming AAdvantage miles on Qantas flights
American Airlines AAdvantage miles are generally earned at a lesser rate on Qantas domestic flights than Qantas points, thanks to the Qantas 1,000 point minimum guarantee on Qantas flights for Qantas Frequent Flyers.
This is offset by the generally much cheaper opportunities to redeem AAdvantage miles for medium and long-haul travel, especially in Business and First Class.
The AAdvantage award chart for New Zealand redemptions to Australia is a simple 15,000 miles for one way in Economy, and 25,000 miles for one way in Business Class – a great option, particularly for longer haul flights to cities such as Darwin, Perth and Adelaide.
You can also redeem a lower number of AAdvantage miles for travel in Business and First Class to Asia using AAdvantage too – 40,000 AAdvantage miles for a one way Business Class flight to Singapore or Hong Kong, for example.
Fly Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class between Auckland and Hong Kong for only 40,000 AAdvantage miles
Earning AAdvantage miles from credit cards
There’s no credit card in New Zealand that allows you to earn AAdvantage miles directly, but American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest as Starpoints, and Starpoints can be transferred to AAdvantage.
The transfer rate is 1:0.33 for Amex to Starpoints, and then 1 Starpoint to 1 AAdvantage mile – so 1 Membership Reward point can be converted to 0.33 AAdvantage miles through Starwood Preferred Guest.
If you take advantage of the bonus 5,000 miles for every 20,000 Starpoints that are converted, this increases to a rate of 1:0.4.
Cards like the American Express Platinum Edge can let you earn an effective 1.23 AAdvantage miles per $ spent.
How to redeem your AAdvantage Miles in New Zealand
The AAdvantage call centre for the region is excellent, with short or no hold times, and knowledgable agents. You can contact them on 09 308 4014, selecting option 3 for award travel – or check the customer service page for more details.