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Psssst, looking for a way to earn double the miles on every trip, instantly? That’s probably how the pitch would go. American Airlines has launched a unique new twist on the game of airline loyalty, which more closely resembles the way most internet companies prefer to do business these days: subscription clubs.

American Airlines is sending offers out to a variety of their AAdvantage loyalty program members, offering a chance to join the ‘AAdvantage Tailwind’ Club, which for a modest annual fee offers double the miles on all domestic flights.

It’s a fascinating twist which could be incredibly rewarding, or yet another thing where you cringe when the charge hits your rewards credit card statement.

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American Airlines Tailwind Club

American Airlines is increasingly rolling out an offer for a subscription club, where you pay $59 for a year of unlimited double miles on all domestic flights. Yes, the domestic angle is typically a big catch.

But even then, based on a baseline value you’d get from any American Airlines Miles (circa $60 bucks per 4,000-5,000 miles, depending on how you value them) you’d only need to earn around 5,000 bonus earned miles from your flights to come near break even or better.

Exactly what flying would that entail? Perhaps, not much. That would require spending at least $800 on flights, since American awards miles based on dollars spend x 5 for a general member (more for elite frequent flyers). If you do much more than that… well, it could be quite a good arbitrage hedge.

Any situation where you’re spending more than $1000 on American for domestic flights in the year of your ‘Tailwind Club’ promo should mean you come out ahead, if you use your earned miles well.

After that $800-1000 spending threshold, it’s pure profit from the extra bonus miles you’ll earn and can subsequently spend on American and partners like JAL, Qantas or Cathay pacific, which means more opportunity to fly up front, upgrade, or just fly for pretty close to free.

If, for example, you’re someone who’s going to spend $5,000 in total on flights with American this year, you’d be crazy not to take the offer at $59 a year. Offers are being sent via email, so make sure you’re reachable if you want in.

In fairness, American would be crazy not to offer you double miles to retain your loyalty, but that ship may have sailed.

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Money For Nothing

Sometimes you’ve gotta bring Dire Straits into the mix, and this campaign from American Airlines is a perfect use. Subscription clubs can be incredibly beneficial for airlines and travelers alike, but not always. They can lead to money for nothing.

If you don’t fly, American gets $59 bucks for nothing. And in reality, they should be offering double points promos anyway during a global pandemic, at a minimum.

If you do fly though, you can acquire more miles for less. American enticed “more” flying, while making $59 bucks, and rewarded you with miles which will get you more addicted and drawn in to the American AAdvantage loyalty program. It’s pretty clever stuff, and both sides can win. It’s really all up to your travel habits, and whether they’ve sent you the offer. If they didn’t, hopefully soon.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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