There are countless ways to earn frequent flyer points within Australia through our local programs, Qantas and Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer. Both programs offer a range of linked credit cards and dozens of local retailer partners. This makes the accrual of frequent flyer points relatively easy – even if you’re an infrequent flyer.

But there are other international programs out there, and some offer significantly better value than our local offerings. One such program is the AAdvantage program of American Airlines. AAdvantage miles can be redeemed to fly on Qantas for fewer points and lower taxes than redeeming Qantas points for the same flight, so it’s easy to see why this is an attractive currency for many. The trouble for not-so-frequent flyers is that there aren’t many ways to earn AAdvantage miles in Australia.

Miles can be earned when flying on an American Airlines, Qantas or other partner airline flight. But regular Qantas flyers may prefer to credit their flights to Qantas Frequent Flyer anyway, in order to earn those all-important status credits.

One possibility is to simply buy AAdvantage miles. American sells these for USD29.50 per thousand plus tax, and there are often generous discounts or bonuses on offer. This can be lucrative, although there is a limit to the number of miles that can be purchased in a year. The deteriorating exchange rate also makes this option slightly less attractive.

There are many Australian credit cards linked with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and even some larger international airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Emirates. But at this point in time, the only credit card rewards program that allows transfers directly to AAdvantage is Diners Club.

There is a trick available to American Express cardholders. Amex rewards points are transferable to the Starwood Preferred Guest hotel loyalty program (or SPG for short) at a rate of 2:1. The points can then be transferred to AAdvantage from SPG. The process is slightly complicated, but this has proven a successful strategy for many members.

If you can get a direct issued Amex card then you can transfer their MRR points to SPG and then onto Aadvantage – 40000 Amex points earns 20000 SPG points which gives you 25000 AA miles and they have bonuses on transfers every now and then.

Or if you can get a Diners Club card and pay the extra fee to get the accompanying MasterCard then you can earn Diners reward points which again transfer to SPG and then onto AA miles.

There are a few other strategies that can be used to score extra AAdvantage miles. Among other things, miles are earned for booking hotels through Kaligo.com, as well as for booking a hire car through the American Airlines website.

Also I earn a huge number of miles by using Kaligo.com which is an accommodation booking service that lets you earn AA miles and other programs as well. Also signup for a free account with Rocket Miles as they have some good bonus offers from time to time.

Join the DISCUSSION.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]