With the recent disappointing news from American Airlines there is a case to be made for crediting AAdvantage Miles to partner airlines. In the past, American Airlines’ AAdvantage program was one of the best and many OneWorld travelers chose to credit their miles to the program, but now it may make more sense to credit miles to a partner airline or change your earning strategy all together.
Most major carriers are members of airline alliances. The three major alliances are OneWorld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance. A listing of each of their parters is available on their respective websites. In many cases, the airline you chose to credit miles to may not even fly in your country, but it may be the best option.
In some cases, it may make sense for US based travelers to credit their American Airlines flights to British Airways because the British Airways award chart when traveling in the United States is quite favorable. For example, a few years ago I used British Airways Avios to fly from Chicago to New York on American Airlines. This redemption was much cheaper than using American Airlines miles to pay for the same trip. For this example, it may not make sense for travelers looking to redeem miles for transatlantic flights due to the fuel surcharges charged by British Airways on Award Tickets. Often a first class redemption is around 50,000 point and over $1,000!
Another reason to credit flights to a different airline is status. To earn United Premier 1K travelers must fly 100,000 miles and spend $12,000 with the airline. As a Premier 1K, members also reach Star Alliance Gold Status which has many benefits when traveling with various Star Alliance members. Star Alliance Gold with other airlines is much easier to earn. On Singapore Airlines, members only need to fly a total of 50,000 miles and there is no spending requirement to reach that level. Also, when *A (Star Alliance) gold is achieved on an international carrier, members in the US can access United Club lounges for free when traveling on United Airlines. A benefit that United does not offer to its own top-tier elites. Singapore Airlines does impose fuel charges on their awards, but offers some incredible redemption opportunities.
When trying to decide if it makes more sense to credit miles to a partner airline, it is important to consider your individual travel goals. If status is most important to you, try to find an airline that credits 100% mileage to their program from your primary carrier and may have lower mileage requirements to achieve status. If earning free flights is most important, consider a program that also credits 100% mileage on all flights and offers bonus miles for elites or classes of service, but also consider if the airline imposes fuel surcharges on award tickets.
Crediting miles to a parter airline can be a lucrative strategy, but is important to consider your strategy in doing so. No one wants to have thousands of miles with an airline loyalty program which they can’t use!