A lot of frequent fliers use their miles solely for First Class and Business Class airline redemptions. Since I have a lot of American Airlines AAdvantage miles and elite status (EXP), I often redeem them for award tickets, hotels, and car rentals. As an American Airlines Executive Platinum Elite member, I have access to discount car and hotel rentals on http://www.useaamiles.com .
I was informed by the infamous Mr. Pickles via a private Twitter chat that American Airlines Platinum Elites also get the same discount as Executive Platinum members. I’m still amazed at the fact that Mr. Pickles has lifetime Platinum on AA since he is 2MM (Million Miler). Furthermore, he has never stepped foot on an American flight before he reached that milestone. Anyone can use the useaamiles.com website, but it’s best used when you have Platinum or Executive Platinum elite status on American Airlines.
For example, I needed a car rental for my upcoming trip to Detroit so I checked Orbitz and the lowest rate was $74!
I checked useaamiles.com and the lowest price was 2,600 AAdvantage miles for an economy car on Dollar.
One new feature on this website is the ability to parlay your Car Rental elite status and receive full elite benefits. Enter your Rental Car “Membership Number” if you have one. I’ve gotten awesome upgrades as a National Executive Elite member.
I value 1 AAdvantage mile at a minimum of 2 cents. Therefore, 2,600 miles would be worth at least $52 in my book. In this case, 2.8 cents per mile is a pretty darn good redemption when I am swimming in AAdvantage miles.
Be aware that you are responsible for paying the taxes on a car rental redemption. An easy way to see how much you will be paying in taxes is to visit the car rental company’s main website and do a mock booking with the same dates and time. You will see exactly how much in taxes you will be paying. In this case, I will be paying $13.46 in taxes for my upcoming 1 day car rental in DTW.
Don’t be afraid to use your miles for redemptions other than airfares (no magazines please). I know this real-life example only got me 2.8 cents per mile, but I have had previous rentals which have yielded up to 8 cents per mile! I suggest that you play with the website to see if you can score a good deal.