For travel between September 19 and December 31, 2011, American is offering bonus miles for select premium transatlantic tickets.
If you purchase and fly on a transatlantic ticket booked in at least the “H” fare class (fairly expensive coach fare) on American, British Airways, or Iberia, you can earn 25,000 bonus miles for your first roundtrip, 35,000 bonus miles for your second roundtrip, and 45,000 bonus miles for every subsequent roundtrip.
Registration is required here prior to travel using promotion code EUR11.
This is actually at least somewhat tempting. Business class fares to Europe can be had for as little as $1,600 roundtrip all-in. If you theoretically did three roundtrips between Boston to London in paid business class you would earn an average of 35,000 bonus miles per roundtrip, plus at a minimum of about 15,000 miles for actually flying if you’re at least a Platinum (though you can do much better on the routing if you wanted to). That’s about 50,000 redeemable miles per roundtrip. If you value those miles at two cents each, you’re really only “paying” $600 for business class to Europe per ticket. Not bad!
So while it’s probably not worth booking a ticket just because of the promotion, it’s something to keep in mind if you already have a trip planned to Europe or if you’re trying to decide between a coach fare and a business class fare.
Let me put this in terms of a practical example I’m considering. I might go to London over Thanksgiving. A coach fare on American is $800, while a business class fare is $1,800. If I booked business class I would earn 25,000 bonus redeemable miles, in addition to 25% extra miles for flying business class. Assuming I value those additional miles at two cents each, that’s about $600 worth of miles, meaning I’m only “paying” an extra $400 for business class over coach. Furthermore, if I upgraded from coach to business class I’d have to pay the ~$200 UK luxury departure tax, making the difference only $200. Instead of using my systemwide upgrades to upgrade from coach to business class, I could instead use them to upgrade from business class to first class. At $100 each way, it seems well worth it.