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How I Flew for Free: AAdvantage Miles to Fly to Cancun for a Work Trip

Jan. 11, 2019
Loyalty Programs, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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Joel Scholtz was invited to visit 10 resorts in Mexico for business, so he used American Airline AAdvantage miles to fly there for free.

The cardholder

Name: Joel Scholtz

Age: 62

Occupation: Travel advisor

Residence: Medford, New Jersey

Credit cards: The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard

The trip

Route: Round trip from Philadelphia International Airport to Cancun International Airport

Dates of travel: Sept. 25 – 28, 2018

Airline: American Airlines

Class of service: Premium economy

Q: Did you visit a lounge at the airport?

A: Yes. I visited a Centurion Lounge, a perk of being a cardholder of The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Q: Did you travel alone or with someone?

A: I traveled alone. I was going there for work.

The card and loyalty program

Q: What loyalty program did you use to get a free trip?

A: I used American Airlines AAdvantage points as a Gold status member.

Q: How long were you a cardholder/member at that time?

A: 10 years.

Q: How long were you planning/saving for this trip?

A: The trip was hosted by the resort operator and it was planned four months in advance.

Q: What’s your favorite perk of this card/program?

A: I get a free companion ticket annually with my American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard. I can bring up to two guests for $99 each when I spend $30,000 or more each year on the card.

» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you

Redemption and booking

Q: Did you take advantage of promotions while earning points for this trip?

A: No.

Q: How did you book?

A: American Airlines’ website.

Q: How many miles did this cost?

A: 50,000 miles.

Q: Did you book in conjunction with a promotion or deal?

A: No.

Q: Any surprises?

A: Not this time. I didn’t get a free upgrade on this flight, but I have been upgraded to business class many times.

What’s your next travel rewards goal?

I travel once or twice a month for my travel business so I’m watching for the next opportunity to use miles or points for a flight.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
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How I flew business class to Bangkok with my family for free

About the author