American Airlines Vacations is running a promotion whereby they’re offering $100 off any AA vacation package (promo code DOUBLE100) OR $75 off plus 2,500 bonus miles for any AA vacation package (promo code TAKEBOTH). Assuming you value American miles at more than one cent each (which you should) the second is probably a better value.
This offer is good for bookings through November 9 for travel through February 29 with some blackout dates.
To qualify for the promotion you have to book both a flight and hotel. The thing is, for the most part I’m not interested in booking hotels through AA Vacations since they don’t qualify for points accrual. So the best course of action for me is to book a very cheap hotel with the intention of just taking the flights and skipping the hotel. To make this work your stay needs to be just one night, since you’ll otherwise end up paying for the hotel for all nights of your stay.
So the best way to make this work for you is to probably find a mileage run or trip you otherwise want to take. For example, out of Tampa there are presently good fares on American from Tampa to Seattle, of just $109 in each direction plus tax, for a total of $260 roundtrip all-in. Once I identified the good fare I went to aavacations.com and searched for those flights, as follows:
On the next page you’ll see hotel options. Sort the hotels by price so that you have the cheapest hotel option first. In this case it returns the following options:
Once you’ve identified the hotel you want (or don’t want, but just want to book), click “Choose Hotel and Continue.”
On the next page it offers you a car, so just select “Continue.”
The next page gives you the total package price with the $100 savings, which in this case is $207 — a savings of $53 over the cost of purchasing just the ticket!
Now if it were me I’d be going with the option for $75 off and 2,500 bonus miles, meaning I’d still be saving $28 plus earning 2,500 bonus miles.
If you just want to fly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas or vice versa, you can actually plan this in such a way that the trip is almost free.
Update: This promotion actually offers some decent values on hotels too. With the example above, I can get the same flights AND the Westin Seattle for $261, which is only a dollar more than the flight would cost through aa.com. The Westin Seattle is selling for $169 for the date I’m looking, though only adds $101 to the cost of the package before the $100 discount.