Buying AAmiles for children to redeem soon - advice please

 
Old May 13, 11, 9:20 am
  #1  
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Buying AAmiles for children to redeem soon - advice please

I'd be grateful if you'd take a look at my plan, and let me know whether there's something I haven't considered, or whether I should be doing something else.

In a weeks time, I'd like to book 4 return flights from London to Orlando for my family for next April. We should be able to do this with 40,000 AAdvantage miles each. My husband and I have enough miles to get us there and back. My children have just over 11,000 miles each. So I was planning to buy 29000 miles on each of their accounts and then redeem them. The cost including fees and taxes is about $680 each.

I've never redeemed miles before.

My questions are:
- Can I buy miles and pay for taxes on redeemed miles for my children with my credit card?
- I'd be booking all four flights seperately - how do I get AA to recognise them as one booking?
- Are there any obvious costs, pitfalls or risks I'm missing?

I have 5000 extra miles which I could put towards one of the children's total, but at a cost of $80 it doesn't seem worthwhile.

All comments and advice welcome.
Thank you
Xinran
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Old May 13, 11, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by Xinran View Post
- Can I buy miles and pay for taxes on redeemed miles for my children with my credit card?
Yes. If AA.com rejects as a buy transaction, try it as a gift miles transaction.
- I'd be booking all four flights seperately - how do I get AA to recognise them as one booking? [/QUOTE]
Call and ask AA to link the PNRs. They will still be separate bookings, but for most purposes will work like one booking.
- Are there any obvious costs, pitfalls or risks I'm missing?[/QUOTE]
In the past, there have been reports that AA requires any taxes and fees on an award ticket to be paid on a credit card in the name of the person whose miles are used for the ticket. If this happens, get the kids a reloadable Visa or Mastercard.
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Old May 13, 11, 11:20 am
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Originally Posted by Xinran View Post

... The cost including fees and taxes is about $680 each.
Whats the cost of a purchased flight? I'm seeing (buying in the UK ) around £600 ($900 aprox). Anecdotally it can be cheaper if you buy from the US. I'm not convinced therefore that its a great use of bought miles, you might be saving about $200 but then you'll lose out on about 10,000 miles (plus miles for buying the flights if you have an aadvantage credit card) for the kids which would put them half way towards a free flight.

There is also likely to be a sale sometime in the next say 6 months, which makes the use of miles even more questionable.

Just a thought..... what does anyone else think?

Last edited by Tumbleweed666; May 13, 11 at 11:35 am
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Old May 13, 11, 11:21 am
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how many mi's do you & hubbie have?....it might make sense to buy mi for y'all rather than the kids....good luck...
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Old May 13, 11, 11:26 am
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When using BA miles for an AA flight for my son it could not book automatically for exactly the issue described below. AA is still looking to match card paying taxes to person flying. Had to make a phone call to BA who was able to resolve the issue.

[/QUOTE]
In the past, there have been reports that AA requires any taxes and fees on an award ticket to be paid on a credit card in the name of the person whose miles are used for the ticket. If this happens, get the kids a reloadable Visa or Mastercard.[/QUOTE]
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Old May 13, 11, 11:59 am
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I'm not as confident as the OP appears to be that she will be able to score four award tickets on the same flight. Four sounds very optimistic.

It's possible that the OP will have to settle for fewer than four (perhaps two?) award seats and combine that with two purchased tickets. If that happens, definitely put the less-frequent flying kids on the award tickets and the parents on purchased tickets.
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Old May 13, 11, 12:22 pm
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Originally Posted by FWAAA View Post
I'm not as confident as the OP appears to be that she will be able to score four award tickets on the same flight. Four sounds very optimistic.

It's possible that the OP will have to settle for fewer than four (perhaps two?) award seats and combine that with two purchased tickets. If that happens, definitely put the less-frequent flying kids on the award tickets and the parents on purchased tickets.
I woulnt be so unsure... April 1-7 is currently wide open for 4 20k each way milesaver awards lhr-mco.
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Old May 13, 11, 12:34 pm
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Smile

Thanks for the replies guys.

gemac - very helpful and good tip about the preloaded card

Tumbleweed666 - I've gone round in circles trying to work out whether it would be best to buy miles or pay for flights. I haven't come to a clear conclusion. My husband's and my miles will be virtually wiped out after this redemption, and if we pay for the children's flights, yes, they would have 20k, but at this time, I can foresee they may well be lost. Being in the UK doesn't make it as easy to earn miles without trying.

clacko - My husband has a few over 40k. I have 45k. Buying on our accounts would be easiest but much more costly. Transfer costs and fees make is uneconomical to transfer the kids' balances to us.

AlohaDaveKennedy - That's what I'm worried about, although AA CS in Dublin have been able to sort out issues before, so I may well have to make a call to them.

FWAAA - hmmm. Interesting point. Would be a shame if I spent all that money buying miles for the children, only to find I couldn't use them. Perhaps I'll leave it as late as possible to buy the points. How long after purchasing miles do they usually post? I know it says 72 hours, but is it more instant than that?

emma dog - yes, that's what I thought. I don't know how quickly they go - can't book yet as we need to fly back on the 13th or 14th, which are not available for another week.

Another question someone may be able to answer. We have a $200 AA transportation voucher, which we were told can be used like cash for flights (covering taxes where applicable). Can we use it to pay the taxes on the redeemed miles

Thank you again for all your replies. Really helpful.
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Old May 13, 11, 12:43 pm
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You can reserve the flights by phone then buy the miles if the seats are available. It will cost you $25/ticket for phone charges, but it may be worthwhile for you in this situation.

I just did this on a CX/AA reservation. I had enough for business but needed to buy 2k for F. They put a 5 day hold on the reservation for the purchase to clear.
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Old May 13, 11, 12:54 pm
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some have used holds to help...hold the awards you can get [both ways] until the return dates appear then change the return...of course, you could book the 1 ways, but then you have a problem if the returns aren't available....good luck..

edit to add....i haven't done this, so have no experience w/ the mechanics....

Last edited by clacko; May 13, 11 at 2:31 pm
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Old May 13, 11, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Xinran View Post

Tumbleweed666 - I've gone round in circles trying to work out whether it would be best to buy miles or pay for flights. I haven't come to a clear conclusion. My husband's and my miles will be virtually wiped out after this redemption, and if we pay for the children's flights, yes, they would have 20k, but at this time, I can foresee they may well be lost. Being in the UK doesn't make it as easy to earn miles without trying.
I'm also in the UK, I earn a lot of my miles on an MBNA Amex card. 1.5 miles per £. I also buy them, when there is a sale on (BTW did you know there is a 30% off sale for UK members from 24-27 May?Thanks to Phil in previous thread for that) . If you fly BA here you can credit your BA flights to American as well.

But I use my miles on business class flights, where you get best "bang for buck. I also personally would never use miles to fly to the East coast, for the following reason.
Miles to fly to Florida =40k
Miles to fly to SFO=40k
Miles to fly to Hawaii =40k.
eg its the same. However, it most certainly isnt the same cost !
Therefore, if you ever think you might go to the west coast or further afield, it makes no sense to redeem miles to the east coast. When we went to Disney some years ago, I paid. Then, a few years later we went to Hawaii, business, partially with the miles earned on the Disney trip. Had I spent the miles on Disney, I'd have been paying (guessing) 1.5-2x the cost of an Orlando flight to get to Hawaii and 5-10x for business class.
There are many ways to keep an account refreshed, you only need 1 mile every 18 months. More difficult with kids I agree you have to be creative for example a few months back there was a deal, watch an ad, answer a couple of questions, get 150 miles. More importantly that refreshed Mrs Tumbleweeds account for another 18 months.
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Old May 13, 11, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Xinran View Post
I've gone round in circles trying to work out whether it would be best to buy miles or pay for flights. I haven't come to a clear conclusion. My husband's and my miles will be virtually wiped out after this redemption, and if we pay for the children's flights, yes, they would have 20k, but at this time, I can foresee they may well be lost. Being in the UK doesn't make it as easy to earn miles without trying.

clacko - My husband has a few over 40k. I have 45k. Buying on our accounts would be easiest but much more costly. Transfer costs and fees make is uneconomical to transfer the kids' balances to us.
Not sure if it helps, but if you or your husband fly or spend often enough that you'll accumulate miles at a reasonable pace (so they won't be lost), you could still buy 2 tickets. Use your / your husband's miles to redeem for free tickets for the kids. Pay for the 2 adult tickets, and you'll earn miles in those accounts.

There are still other options for using the remnant miles in the kids accounts if needed. One-way awards from LHR to Europe, for example.

Ultimately comes down to whether you determine it's better in your situation to buy the miles or buy the tickets.
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Old May 13, 11, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Xinran View Post
clacko - My husband has a few over 40k. I have 45k. Buying on our accounts would be easiest but much more costly. Transfer costs and fees make is uneconomical to transfer the kids' balances to us.
I'm not sure why it would be more costly. Miles purchased into your account or your husband's account should cost the same as miles purchased into children's accounts. You can ticket your child our of your account for no more money or miles than if you are ticketing them out of their own account. It also solves the problem of any money charges on the award ticket having to be paid with a credit card in the name of the account holder. How is it "much more costly" to buy the miles into your account and your husband's?
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Old May 14, 11, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by gemac View Post
How is it "much more costly" to buy the miles into your account and your husband's?
Because the kids have 11k in their accounts, so they would only need to buy 29k miles. In their own accounts, they have 40k, eg just enough for a flight, so they would then have to buy 40k. If they are going to buy the miles, jumping in and catching the offer on 24-27th May is the obvious thing to do, as it would cost only about 20k miles.

Last edited by Tumbleweed666; May 14, 11 at 12:11 am
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Old May 14, 11, 7:26 am
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Edit:

Self-imposed time-out. Please ignore me for 20 minutes.

Last edited by PantyWaster; May 14, 11 at 10:45 am
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