American Airlines Loyalty Points: Winning by Wine-ing

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“It’s because of American Airlines.  They have a promotion for Loyalty Points.”

The UPS driver stood there looking at me.  Well, looking at me and at the five boxes of wine on my front porch that he had just delivered.  All at once.

“See American Airlines is running a promotion where they award miles based on purchases.  And there’s status too, which can do cool things for you when you fly…and I guess there’s a lot of wine deals and…”

I trailed off right when I realized that I sounded like I had already been imbibing and it was probably best to quit while I was way behind.  He asked me if I was 21, had me sign the scanner and walked away shaking his head.  This is what the the AA Loyalty Games has done to me.  If anyone needs a bottle of wine, I have 30…and almost 15,000 AAdvantage Loyalty Points (halfway to Gold Status).

Winning with Wine

There’s a lot to “wine” about

American Airlines may not want to serve you alcohol on their planes, but they’re absolutely thrilled to sell you some through the AAdvantage Shopping Portal. We’ve already had five 2000+ points opportunities in the first four weeks alone.  There’s been a lot of questions about each of these offers and some issues with getting some of them to trigger, so we wanted to go through each one and give a summary of costs and potential pitfalls.  I volunteered to take one for the team because, you know, wine.

A couple of brief notes before diving in.  First, I’ve tentatively organized these from first to worst based  on an unscientific blend of the cost per AAdvantage point, the cost per bottle, the ease of triggering the offer and how simply (or quickly) the membership can be canceled.  Second, I didn’t factor in any credit card rewards or subtract any opportunity cost.  It’s simply the cost of the deal divided by points and bottles.  Finally, a best practice with all of these sorts of deals is to immediately go into your account to delay the next shipment as far into the future as you can. That way you have plenty of time to allow everything to track without having to worry about getting an unwanted second shipment.

–> Click here to get your own copy of Greg’s AA Loyalty Points Scorecard <–

Offers you can shake a corkscrew at

Direct Link to Offer

The Deal: 1500 miles with order through AAdvantage eShopping with first time wine club membership.  Additional 1000 miles through SimplyMiles (could be targeted).

Credit Card Stacking: Citi Merchant Offer of $20 back on $30 spend

How to trigger the offer: You start by taking a “wine quiz” to get wines that are paired to your tastes.  You then order the new member offer of four bottles of wine for $29.96. With tax, your total should be more than $30 and thus trigger the Citi Merchant Offer. If there is no tax in your state, click “I want to choose my own wines” and find a bottle that costs $1 more. Once the order was complete, points appeared within 24 hours.

Online cancellation: Yes, on website via chat

My Cost: $12.21 (or 3.05 per bottle)

Cost Per Point: 0.48 cents

Be aware:

  • Clicking through AA you will get you 4 bottles for $29.96 + tax.
  • Members who have previously subscribed are not eligible.
  • Note that this offer may be repeatable
  • Keep in mind that this is a subscription. Remember to cancel.

Direct Link to Offer

The Deal: 3700 miles with order through AAdvantage eShopping with first time wine club membership

Credit Card Stacking: Amex Offer for $40 off $80.  You must add additional wine to hit the minimum. (Amex Offer Expired – and it’s much simpler without it anyway)

How to trigger the offer: This is a bit of a tricky one.  After clicking through you’ll get to a landing page that offers you a “Discovery 6 Pack” for $39.99+tax.  This doesn’t trigger the Amex Offer, but WILL trigger the AA miles. So, you can go the easy route and take the 6 bottles and the points.  I wanted to trigger the AMEX offer as well, so I clicked the link at the bottom of the page that enables you to add more wine.  The problem is that once you add a second item, the free shipping goes away until you have four items in the cart – and the Discovery Pack only counts as one item. So, you have to add three total bottles minimum to get the free shipping to kick back in.  There is another issue in that the website shows you a discounted “Angel Price” that goes away once you add an item to the cart that already has your case in it…the two discounts don’t stack. So pay attention to the undiscounted price. Bottles start at $11.99 (for cheaper sweet wine) and I was able to add three bottles between $12.99 and $13.99 to bring the total after tax to $84 for 9 bottles.  Points posted within 24 hours.

Online cancellation: Yes, on website

My Cost: $44.63 (or 4.95 per bottle)

Cost Per Point: 1.2 cents

Be aware:

  • Many readers have had the miles clawed back and it isn’t completely clear how to avoid it. See comments around here (including before and after the linked comment).  It seems that the clawbacks either relate to pasting the URL from the Amex offer into the post AA portal clickthrough or with cancelling your first “Angel Contribution” immediately.  I just used the AA portal and paid with my Amex without copying and pasting, which triggered the Amex offer anyway.  I pushed my first Angel contribution out as far as possible and haven’t had anything clawed back.
  • While this doesn’t sign you up for a club, it does auto-sign you into a monthly $40 contribution to your account.  Remember to cancel, although the balance is refundable if you forget.

Direct Link to Offer

The Deal: 3000 miles through AAdvantage eShopping with first time wine club membership order

Credit Card Stacking: None

How to trigger the offer: After clicking through you’ll get to a landing page that offers you three choices of 6 bottle assortments for $49.99+tax.  It will end up also giving you two bonus bottles of Italian wine (99 points they say!) and two bonus stemless crystal glasses that are included with the $49.99 total.  Points were in my account within 24 hours.

Online cancellation: Yes, on website

My Cost: $54.64 (or 4.95 per bottle)

Cost Per Point: 1.82 cents

Be aware:

  • Clicking through AA you will get you 8 bottles and two glasses for $49.99 + tax.
  • Members who have previously subscribed are not eligible.
  • Keep in mind that this is a subscription. Remember to cancel.

Direct Link to Offer

The Deal: 2000 miles with order through AAdvantage eShopping with first time wine club membership

Credit Card Stacking: Citi Offer for $15 off of $50 (the normal price is $50 for 8 bottles). I couldn’t figure out how to add additional bottles to hit $50

How to trigger the offer: After clicking through you’ll get to a landing page that offers you 6 bottles of wine for $41.95.  Your only choice is whether you want red, white or both.  The problem is that I couldn’t figure out a way to add additional wine to trigger the Citi offer and ended up accidentally purchasing before finding out.  I went back into my account to try again and still couldn’t find a way to add any additional wine.  Points posted within 24 hours.

Online cancellation: Yes, via chat

My Cost: $41.95 (or 6.99 per bottle)

Cost Per Point: 1.67 cents (would be 1.35 if you could trigger the Citi offer)

Be aware:

  • Clicking through AA you will get you 6 bottles for $41.95.
  • I couldn’t find a way to trigger the Citi Merchant offer
  • Once the order is placed they will not cancel it.
  • Keep in mind that this is a subscription. Remember to cancel.

 

Direct Link to Offer

The Deal: 3000 miles with order through AAdvantage eShopping with first time wine club membership

Credit Card Stacking: None

How to trigger the offer: You start by taking a “wine quiz” to get wines that are paired to your tastes. You can switch out the chosen wines if you like, but the price doesn’t change and you may only switch each wine once. You don’t get to pick the replacement either, their algorithm does. Once the order was complete points appeared within 24 hours.

Online cancellation: No, but can cancel via e-mail.

My Cost: $42.52 (or 10.63 per bottle)

Cost Per Point:  1.41 cents

Be aware:

  • Clicking through AA you will get you 4 bottles for $38 + tax.
  • They will immediately start sending e-mails and texts.  Easy to unsubscribe though.
  • Members who have previously subscribed are not eligible.
  • Keep in mind that this is a subscription. Remember to cancel.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a fuzzy-headed road map to three cases of wine and 15,000 AAdvantage miles. There’s probably a couple that I wouldn’t do again, especially after having to explain all this to my wife, but I’m sure that there will be a few tasty discoveries that we’ll make in spite of it.  If you’re into trying new wine, there are some fun opportunities.

Even if you’re not into portalling your way to a new cellarful, be sure to check out Nick’s definitive guide of AAdvantage deals for the full non-alcoholic smorgasbord of AA delights as well as Greg’s incredible spreadsheet for tracking the loot.

Oh, and if you do decide to spring for a few of these, it might be best to try and keep them from all being delivered on the same day…take it from my UPS driver.

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Raylan

Bright cellars did not track for me and they are denying a payout to AA Eshopping / Cartera. They are saying I was paid by another shopping portal, but that is decidedly untrue, as I placed the order immediately after clicking through AA eshopping. Honestly pretty disappointed, because I really liked their wine but if this is an indication of what their customer service is like if something goes awry, I don’t have much of an inclination to buy their wines again.

Tom

I got the exact same story from AA today. Not buying this line of logic. And there’s no way to verify this. How is this not false advertising or false product placement.

Adie

Instead of doing the angel subscription. I added $186.96 of wine to the cart, it then added a $100 off voucher. With tax, my order was $92.18. I got the AA points and the $40 rebate for the platinum card. So, 9 bottles of wine for 52.18 plus miles. They have been drinkable so far.

Marie Antoinette

“Maybe I can figure out a non-profit to donate it all [the wine].”

Let them drink wine with their cake!!!

Leanne Goodspeed

Hilarious

Gwen

Thanks for the article. Decided to try winc. even if it does not track $14.41 for 4 bottles of wine isn’t bad.

A B

You left out WSJ Wine. $70 for FOURTEEN bottles and 3k miles. A bit under $100 all-in. Haven’t tried them but they look promising. If you value miles at 1.5 cents, your net is under $4/bottle including tax + shipping.

Nathan

On the note of Conservation International… I think one of you guys should publish and interview with them. That would be fun to read.

Nathan

Honestly, Your UPS driver should be thanking you for delivering them all on the same day. Plus you were home to sign for them.

Frank

My experience: did Winc three years ago, worked just fine, received the miles right away. Did both Bright Cellars and Naked Wines last month. Bright Cellars was no problem, got the miles and easy to cancel…but Naked Wines never triggered. I have a claim in.

Frank

I didn’t have the Amex offer to try to add. I got the six bottle pack. And I did not cancel the first “Angel” payment.

JoshF

I did the Amex link copy/paste trick for Naked on Jan 8, points posted pretty quickly, but then got clawed back on Jan 21. They aren’t playing around with the terms regarding outside-of-the-portal-discounts/offers being used.

Alex H

I don’t know if anyone else experienced this but the wine from Bright Cellars seems to be of higher quality than some of the others.

Alex H

I have tried several from all of them. The Laithwaites and Winc were on the lower end I thought, although I liked the extra Rossa bottles Laithwaites had. I suppose everyone has different tastes though!

DaninMCI

Do people actually drink any of it? 🙂 I still have off-brand wine left from the old US Airways Grand Slam events. Maybe I can figure out a non-profit to donate it all to. I know. What if we just have them ship it all to Conservation International. That way they have something to serve guests on their private jet.

Larry K

One of the things I wonder about is whether stuff I did for the grand slam promo will disqualify me from getting loyalty points now. Like I know I did Vinesse.

Nun

The NakedWines Amex offer already expired on 1/29, at least for me. Winc seems like the most stackable offer that’s worth it, but I also heard their wine is the worst.

Last edited 6 months ago by Nun
Gene

@ Tim — This is just not worth the effort. We have 13 months to go, and I bet something super-easy and scalable will appear, so I am in no rush to go through all of this frustration.

Loungeabuser

The real question with all of this is , ” What is your time worth?”
I’m the type who wants things to be easy. Does anyone want to buy 77 Bonsai trees? The HOA wasn’t thrilled with me planting them.

kathy (willrunformiles)

But how was the wine?

Peter

You can always use it to cook with.

Physician assistant of credit

This sounds like a points guy article

Larry K

The heck? I liked the article except that some of the bad experiences with naked wines should be a little more prominent.

Reno Joe

Wait for wine.com to have a 10X points pop and then buy two cases of 2009 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. You’ll be at EP and have a couple choice benefits. Ha.