Woohoo! Wednesday morning I received notice from SimplyMiles that I had earned 4,650 AA miles for purchasing a Byte Impression Kit. Stack that with $100 back from Citi Merchant Offers (which showed up Tuesday!), and $45 from Top Cash Back, and this $100.70 purchase turned into a very nice windfall of points and cash! Unfortunately, that particular deal is no longer available, but it shows that the game’s afoot…
AA Loyalty Posts & Tools
As a reminder, if you’re interested in earning American Airlines elite status without flying (or wondering why others are interested), these posts will help:
- Introduction (What’s happening? How can you earn AA status without flying? Why should anyone care?): AA’s Loyalty Point Pursuit game: Earn status w/out flying
- Cheat sheet (what works, what doesn’t): How to earn American Airlines Loyalty Points without flying.
- Keep score: AA Loyalty Game Scorecard
Loyalty Points Posting
In January and February I kept track of Loyalty Points by seeing which AA miles post to my AA account as base miles rather than bonus miles. That was an imperfect way to track things since some things that aren’t expected to post as Loyalty Points show up as base miles and possibly vice-versa. Now that we’re into March, though, Loyalty Points have posted and, going forward, we’ll be able to directly see which AA mile earnings count as Loyalty Points.
A number of deals that we’ve posted on this blog have been disappointments because miles first appeared on our accounts and then were later clawed back. Interestingly, in my case and with everyone I’ve talked to, AA did not claw back Loyalty Points. For example, I had initially earned 1,200 miles when subscribing to Bespoke Post, but those miles were later reversed out without explanation. Despite not earning AA award miles for Bespoke Post, I did earn 1,200 Loyalty Points! I have no idea whether AA will “fix” this or not, but if it stays as-is, that will be a very nice but unexpected result.
Accounting for half-reversed claw-backs
Those who use the AA Loyalty Game Scorecard Google Spreadsheet may wonder how to account for this situation. The spreadsheet wasn’t designed with the expectation of earning award miles and loyalty points at different rates. At some point I’ll build a version of the spreadsheet that corrects this, but for now, here’s how I handled this within the current structure of the sheet…
I had two deals clawed back: Bespoke Post and Pimsluer. For each, in the far right column labelled “Posted Loyalty Points” I put in the full number of Loyalty Points earned. But to account for the fact that I didn’t earn 1,200 award miles, I put in a negative number in the column labelled “Posted Other Rewards (Cash Value)”. Specifically, I’m personally valuing AA award miles at a half cent each and so I subtracted out $6 for the the 1,200 award miles not earned with Bespoke Post and $5 for the 1,000 award miles not earned with Pimsluer. The image above shows the formula I used. If you want to do something similar, do a similar formula, but make sure to change the number 18 to the correct row number and change the 0.005 to a different number if you value award miles differently than half a cent each. For example, if you value them at 1 cent each, you would change the number to 0.01.
This solution isn’t ideal because it creates a bit of weirdness such as a cents per point “cost” for Loyalty Points that were earned with zero out of pocket spend, but since I don’t think we’ll have this happen again going forward, I think it is a good enough fix for now.
As of March 3, 2022, I’ve earned 19,780 Loyalty Points. That means that I’m 15.8% of the way towards my goal of earning 125,000 AA Loyalty Points. Is that good enough progress? If I keep earning almost 8% of my target points per month, will I meet my goal? In the future we’ll have 12 months to earn enough points for our elite status goals, but this year January and February are extra and so we have 14 months. So, for this year (January through end of February 2023), we need to average just over 7% of our goal each month in order to achieve it. In normal years, we’ll have to average 8.33% of our goal per month. So, yes, I’m tracking pretty well towards my goal, but with very little room to spare. I feel like I need to kick it up a few notches going forward!
Another important metric is my Cost Per Point. I previously decided not to do any deals that cost more than 1 cent per point. And, in this area I’m doing really well because I’ve actually made a profit. My current average cost per point is negative .02. In other words, I’ve made a tiny profit on top of earning miles and loyalty points!
What Deals Worked?
All of deals that I took advantage of tracked appropriately and earned Loyalty Points, but two deals were clawed back and so I lost the award miles with those. Here’s a full list:
- Spot & Tango: 3,430 Loyalty Points (2,500 via AA eShopping; 930 via SimplyMiles)
- Byte: 4,650 Loyalty Points via Simply Miles
- 1800Flowers: 600 Loyalty Points via AA eShopping (this was a regular purchase, not a deal specifically for earning Loyalty Points)
- Hyatt stay: 1,000 Loyalty Points via a paid Hyatt stay (I didn’t receive any for award stays)
- Barron’s: 1,000 Loyalty Points via AA eShopping
- Blooom: 1,200 Loyalty Points via AA eShopping
- Marketwatch: 1,000 Loyalty Points via AA eShopping
- SunBasket: 4,700 Loyalty Points (3,700 via AA eShopping; 1,000 via SimplyMiles)
- Pimsluer: 1,000 Loyalty Points via AA eShopping [This was one of my two claw-backs where I earned Loyalty Points but not award miles]
- Bespoke Post: 1,200 Loyalty Points via AA eShopping [This was one of my two claw-backs where I earned Loyalty Points but not award miles]
Going forward I’m going to try to earn at least 10,000 Loyalty Points per month. That will give me a little bit of cushion if I fall short in some months. Towards that end, I took a break from writing this section in order to place an order from Green Chef (see: 2200 AAdvantage Miles and 6 meals for $34 with Green Chef and Chase Offer). I’ll happily take 6 meals for $34 even without the Loyalty Points! Next, I plan to be more proactive. I started January strong by diving into a bunch of opportunities, but since then I’ve been lazy and have let deals pass by. Now I’m energized by the unexpected success of the Byte deal and ready to tackle more! Here we go…