When Buying AAdvantage Miles Just Isn’t That Simple…

If you’re a frequent reader of my blog, you’ll probably know how much I love AA miles. Currently, they have a brilliant deal of 100,000 bonus miles which is very generous, and I thought I’d stock up which I do whenever they have large bonuses.

Normally you just go the website and select how many miles you want to purchase then proceed to pay, and you’ll have the miles within a few hours.

If only it were that easy…

A few months ago I tried to purchase miles on the account, and it rejected the purchase, I then tried a few months later, and the same thing happened, and that’s when I was starting to wonder why it keeps happening. It wasn’t the payment as I used three different cards.

Fast forward to last night. I went on the website and purchased the miles, the payment went through and was hopeful it would this time.

What a surprise.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-12-37-59-pm-copy

I woke up to the email and was quite frustrated as I want to book a few redemptions while the availability is open. I immediately rang AAdvantage and explained the situation; I also tried on Twitter, but that didn’t help.

img_0465

The agents were very apologetic and friendly but also very confused and took them a while to understand what was going on. They couldn’t exactly work out what was happening so they told me to try again which I did.

10 minutes later I get a phone call from the supervisor and explained that on the first attempt the Amex card I used had blocked the purchase and made my account unable to purchase miles with any card which was strange. The supervisor then unlocked the account and posted the miles manually.

Within 10 minutes I got this glorious email, phew!

aamilesok

Bottom Line

The situation was a bit of a pain but kudos to AA for solving the problem quickly and professionally.

Tutorial – Use AAdvantage Miles For Cheaper Qantas Redemptions

Without a doubt, my favourite frequent flyer program would still have to be American Airlines AAdvantage. The program offers some fantastic value, always has miles on sale and has some brilliant redemption partners.

I’ve talked about the program a little bit for Etihad first class redemptions, but today I am going to talk about redeeming these miles for Qantas redemptions.

First of all here are the award charts from the Pacific for Oneworld and partner airlines:

screenshot-2016-11-17-11-24-42

screenshot-2016-11-17-11-24-58

How to find availability

To find Qantas availability you have a few options:

AAdvantage

AAdvanatge has an award calendar that is simple and easy to use. However, the calendar often shows “Phantom Space” which means that it will show seats available, but they aren’t actually there, to confirm double or triple check on British Airways, Qantas, and Expertflyer. You’ll want to select the blue tabs which are saver awards.

screenshot-2016-11-17-11-31-13

British Airways

British Airways is what I normally use to confirm that the seat are actually there, In this case, they are there.

screenshot-2016-11-17-11-34-00

What Qantas flights can I redeem for?

The big difference between using Alaska miles and AAdvantage miles is that with AAdvantage you can redeem points for any Qantas flight, unlike Alaskan where you can only redeem for Qantas flights domestically and USA flights.

How do I get AA miles?

There are two main ways to get AA points in Australia.

  • Crediting QF flights to AA

Crediting QF flights to AA used to be quite valuable, but with changes this year, you won’t get that many points which is disappointing.

  • Buying miles

This is how I afford most of my long-haul travel. American constantly offer very large bonuses when buying miles. You can buy 150,000 miles a year but look when the sales are on, and you could get much more for the same price.

American are currently offering a large bonus of 100,000 miles which alone is enough for Qantas first class to Dubai.

screenshot-2016-11-17-11-54-24

Bottom Line

If you are planning travel soon and want to travel in business or first with Qantas or any other AAdvanatge partner, I would definitely recommend purchasing miles. The offer ends November 28, and you must have an account older than 30 days.

Review – American Airlines A321 Flagship First Los Angeles To New York

After my tiring status runs, I had a quick overnight in Los Angeles, and I was headed to New York early the next morning. I was staying with a friend and luckily I got some decent sleep and woke around 4 and left for the airport in an Uber at 5. Sadly I didn’t get Pre-check for this flight so made sure I had sufficient time for the 7 am departure.

Luckily the traffic into the airport was minimal. American have a nice Flagship check-in for flights in their ‘Flagship First’ product and Concierge Key members.

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

The check-in area is a nice part of the flagship experience, and it can greatly reduce waiting in lines, I was already checked in on my phone, but they insisted in printing a hard copy.

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

 

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

 

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

American Airlines LAX Flagship Check-in

I was escorted to security and was done within 10 minutes. I then took the T4 connector to visit the Qantas first class lounge only to find the lounge opened at 6:30, right when boarding started Damn.

TBIT

TBIT

I have never seen TBIT so quiet if only it were like this in the evening. I walked back to T4 and decided to visit the Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge. Both are getting renovated at the moment, and they should look pretty good once the upgrade is finished.

Admirals Club LAX

Admirals Club LAX

I had visited the Admirals club many times as a kid when Qantas used to fly out of T4. It brought back some fond memories as I walked passed the lounge.

Flagship Lounge LAX

Flagship Lounge LAX Seating Areas

The Flagship lounge was very quiet and only had about six guests at the time. I spent about 15 minutes in there before walking down to the gate.

Flagship Lounge LAX

Flagship Lounge LAX Buffet

The lounge had food and beverage available, but I wasn’t feeling hungry.

Flagship Lounge LAX

Flagship Lounge LAX Buffet

I left the lounge and walked to the gate where boarding has just started. American do priority boarding quite well compared to other Oneworld carriers I’ve flown. I settled into 1F and started taking photo’s but then realized I was supposed to be in 1A, whoops.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Seat 1F

American Airlines Trans-Con First Seat 1F

The first cabin is in a 1-1 config, and the seats are in a Reverse Herringbone layout.

A31 First Cabin

A31 First Cabin

The cabin was full, and boarding was finished on time.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Seat

The seat is spacious and comfortable; the seat is nearly identical to the 777 long-haul business class.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Seat Controls

American provide an amenity kit for the flight which I thought was nice, even for a day flight.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class IFE

As with most herringbone seating the IFE screen has to be latched away for takeoff and landing which can be a pain if you want to watch something at that time.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Bose Headphones And Menu

I love that American use Bose Quiet Comfort 15’s headphones. However, they used to have the 25’s which are the newer ones.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Seat 1A

Now back to my proper seat 😉

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Pre-Departure Drink

The crew came around to distribute menus and offer a pre-departure drink. I went with Orange juice.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The menu has a few options to choose from, for this flight I went with the fruit plate and omelet.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Menu

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Menu

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class Menu

The meal service started shortly after we got to the top of cruise. First brought out was the fruit plate.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The cabin was dark for the entire flight which was great for sleeping.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The fruit was nice and fresh.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The omelet was cooked well and had a strong taste. On previous flights, I had found some of the food the be bland and nearly tasteless.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The amenity kits are designed by Cole Haan and include the basic contents.

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

 

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

American Airlines Trans-Con First Class

The flight was very smooth, and I managed to get around 4 hours of deep sleep.

Approaching New York

Approaching New York

 

Approaching New York

Approaching New York

 

Approaching New York

Hello JFK!

Bottom Line

The flagship experience was very well done and I enjoyed really enjoyed the flight. I’m a big fan of Reverse Herrignnone seating, and the privacy makes it easier to sleep.

Jet lag Express – Flying Home From Washington The Long Way

Good evening from beautiful Washington DC!

This past weekend has been one of best experiences I have ever had. I was very lucky enough to be invited to attend “BACON” (BoardingArea Convention), and I have learned so much and met some incredible people which have been the highlight of this trip without a doubt. A huge thank you to the BoardingArea team and the following bloggers: Ben and Tiffany from One Mile At a TimeRene from Rene’s PointsStefan From Rapid Travel ChaiGary from View From The WingKevin From Economy Class & BeyondMax and Trent from TravelUpdateLee and Charlie from Baldthoughts, and Matthew From Live And Lets Fly It was a pleasure to meet you all.

Well in the morning I sadly leave D.C and start my journey home, but not in a normal way.

So here are the legs:

  • DCA-BOS (American First)  (A319)
  • BOS-MIA ( American First) (757)
  • MIA-DFW (American First) (767)
  • DFW-LAX ( American First) (A320)
  • LAX-JFK (Amercian First) (A321)
  • JFK-IAD (Delta Economy) (CRJ200)
  • IAD-AUH (Etihad First) (789)
  • AUH-BNE (Etihad First) (789)

At the end of these trips I will have requalified for Qantas platinum, Over re-qualified for Virgin Australia platinum and will even get my Dad platinum and be extremely tired and probably grumpy (sorry Mum)

screenshot-2016-11-06-19-29-02

Bottom Line

I am very excited about the new few days, and I’m sure it will be a lot of fun. I have loved visiting the U.S, and it won’t be long, and I’ll be back.

 

Review – American Airlines 787-9 Business Class

After my brilliant Virgin Australia flight, I was headed to Seattle to Dallas. At the time of booking flights, I saw that AA was running their brand new 787-9 aircraft on the route and I was very interested in flying on it. What made me excited about it is that it features brand new B/E Super Diamond seats which are my favorite. I also thought it would be cool to compare the seats as I had just flown 14 hours in Virgin’s version.

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

As soon as I walked onto the aircraft you could sense how new it was, the smell of a new aircraft is good. The seats look fantastic! One of the biggest reasons I love the Super Diamonds Is because of the amount of storage available, and it was quite generous. I selected 2A for this flight.

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

The 16-inch touchscreen IFE screen was fast and responsive and also had a good amount of entertainment to choose from.

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

As with Virgin, there is a pocket area for reading materials.

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

The only thing I don’t like about the 787 is the windows. As you can see they are tinted blue, that means they are the darkest they can be.

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

The in-seat storage also includes a USB and Powerpoint which is always useful.

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

 

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

The footwell intrigued me as on the AA aircraft the far left piece is open, and there is a metal bar. I’m not sure what the purpose of that is but odd none the less.

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

I usually like to sit at bulkheads but 1A was taken at the time of booking, 2A was still fantastic.

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

American Airlines New 787-9 Business Class

The cabin quickly filled up which prevented me taking photos; it looks brilliant looking at it from the front of the cabin.

Pre Takeoff Beverage

Pre-Takeoff Beverage

The Cabin manager came around and explained to me about the new aircraft and asked if I’d like a pre-takeoff beverage. I liked that the crew went to every passenger In business and explained to them the features of the new seats, they seemed very excited about the aircraft.

After Take-Off Beverage

After Take-Off Beverage

After take-off, I was served another Dr. Pepper and warm nuts which were great.

Main Lunch

Main Lunch

There were two choices of meals, but I just went with the chicken. I had heard not to expect much from domestic first, and I now understand why. It was quite bland, to say the least.

Warm Cookie

Warm Cookie

One of the things I most looked forward to on AA was the warmed cookie, call me crazy but we don’t have them on flights in Australia 😉

Approaching Dallas Fort Worth

Approaching Dallas-Fort Worth

The flight was rather uneventful, and I managed to get some work done thanks to brilliant inflight Wifi which is by Panasonic, not GOGO.

Hello DFW!

Hello DFW!

Bottom Line

I never really review domestic flights, but I wanted to because the aircraft is brand new and I had just been in very similar seats. I  think Virgin has better seats due to the added storage and the seats feel softer. I can’t compare the soft product as the two flights had a very different flight time.

Coming Up – Virgin Australia Long Haul Business Class + More!

A few days ago I received an invite to an event in the U.S, and of course, I said I’d love to attend! Now came the hard part deciding how I’d get over there.

Virgin Australia New Business Class

Virgin Australia New Business Class

Virgin Australia New Business Class

At first, I looked at Virgin Australia’s website and well behold there was business class availability exactly when I needed to go which surprised me as it was quite a few weeks out, so I booked it immediately for 95,500 velocity points.

I’ve flown the product a few times now domestically, but now I’ll be able to test it long haul.

American Airlines 787-9 Business Class

While I’m In the U.S I hopefully requalify for Qantas platinum while the ability to do so is still there. I looked at the flights and saw that one of the legs will be operated by one of American Airlines’s new 787-9 aircraft featuring their brand new B/E Super Diamond seat which I am very excited to compare to VA’s.

American Airlines B/E Diamond Seat

American Airlines B/E Diamond Seat

Etihad 787 First Class

 

cs_etihad_787_fc_00

Etihad 787 First Class

 

And lastly to get home, I decided to go a bit crazy and book flights that made the journey even longer and because I’m a diehard Etihad fan I’m sure you can guess who I chose to fly home 😉 These 2 flights were booked with a mixture of AAdvantage miles and Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex.

I’ve flown Etihad first many times now but never on their 787, so I’m very excited to try it.

 

On top of these, there will be a lot more posts and reviews so there will not be a shortage anytime soon.

Bottom Line

I’m very excited to try all of these products and review them. I’ve decided to improve my efficiency and uploading to be faster so hopefully I can get them out within a few hours of taking the flights.