Building Up Mileage and Points Balances Quickly: Delta
Bulding up Mileage and Points Balances Quickly: US Airways
In the good old days, before I even got into it (unfortunately), you could net 150,000 AAdvantage miles in one day without breaking a sweat. Even crazier, they would count to million miler status. Alas, those days have gone, and it’s gotten even harder than when I built up my AA balance. Still, there are options to get a lot of AA miles in a short amount of time, and a lot of great redemptions to be had. So let’s get into the brass tacks.
High Sign Up Bonus Cards, American
Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa and Business Visa – up to 53,000 miles each ($95 annual fee, waived first year)
There is a longstanding Flyertalk forum discussion the best offers for Citi AA cards. The links to the best offers are always on the first post and are constantly updated. I have never heard of these links not working for people, though they are not the publicly advertised links and there is no mention of the sign up bonus on the page, so it takes a little faith. My wife and I have earned 250,000 AAdvantage miles, so I can at least attest they work for me. The current best offer out there is 50,000 AA miles for the Platinum Select card after $2500 of spending in four months. There is also a business version of the card which you can apply for as well. There is also a CitiBusiness Mastercard that offers 40,000 miles after $3000 spending in three months – that one even has a landing page!
Building AA Miles Quickly
If you are looking to build AA miles quickly, everything revolves around the Citi AAdvantage cards. Back in the day, you used to be able to get approved for the same card twice on the same day, effectively doubling your mileage. Alas, those days are over. The rules Citibank has these days are as follows:
1) You cannot apply for more than one Citi card per day.
2) You will not be approved for more than 2 cards over a 65 day period.
What this means is you can get 3 Citicards in about 66 days – or a little over two months. You can’t get the bonus on the same card twice anymore, but there are enough Citi AAdvantage cards that you can mix and match to get as many miles as possible. You should always double back to the Flyertalk post before you get started to confirm links, they change all the time.
Megapoint Strategy – up to 130,000 miles in 2.5+ months
The American Airlines megapoint miles strategy basically boils down to this:
1) Apply for Card 1, call reconsideration line if necessary for approval
2) Apply for Card 2 30+ hours after Card 1, call reconsideration line if necessary for approval
3) Apply for Card 3 65+ days after Card 2, call reconsideration line if necessary for approval
If you get approved for all three cards, you are generally looking on something of the order of $6000 of spending over 5 months for 103,000 miles total. You can do this with any combination of Citi AA cards as long as you don’t apply for the same card twice. I’d recommend Card 1 and Card 2 be one personal and one business card while Card 3 be a second personal card. Be sure to think about how you are going to meet the spending minimums before choosing your cards and the order of application!
I pulled the following links from the aforementioned Flyertalk thread:
Citi Business MasterCard. 40,000 miles after $3k spend in 3 months. Landing page available here.
These are the links currently working as of this posting. Basically, you can pick three and follow the strategy above to get as many miles as possible – as long as you are comfortable with the spending. Here are some ideas for how to meet the spend limits.
Solid, lower-risk strategies
If you don’t think you can handle three cards in 2.5 months (and all the spending that goes along with them), you can always just apply for two – either on back to back days or 65+ days apart. Just determine how many miles you want and act accordingly. You could also apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest card from AMEX and transfer Starpoints to AA, but I wouldn’t recommend that since Starpoints are pretty valuable!
Gone are the days where you could get AA mile bonanzas. Still, you can get a solid number of AA miles in a short amount of time. They can be used on a lot of great redemptions, so determine how many miles you need, apply for the cards, meet your spending requirements, and get out there and fly!