Last week American Airlines launched one of the best double-miles bonus programs that I have seen in quite a while.

You can read the full details here, but here are the key points:

  • American is offering double elite qualifying miles AND double flight miles on flights between DFW and San Francisco or Los Angeles, and flights between Chicago and San Francisco or Los Angeles.
  • The bonuses will be awarded on flights between now and March 31, 2012
  • This bonus is only available to residents of Texas, Illinois, and California.

The thing that jumped out at me is that the bonus runs until the end of March next year. That means I can front load my year with several of these flights in the first few months and get off to a very quick start on earning Platinum status again next year.

I’ve booked AUS-DFW-SFO-DFW-AUS for the middle of January. Here is how the numbers work out for me.

The ticket cost $311. Without the bonus, I’d earn 3,928 EQMs and 7,856 miles at 3.96 cents per mile, not a very good deal.

With the bonus I’ll earn double miles between DFW and SFO, so I can add an additional 2,928 miles to the trip, giving me 10,784 miles at 2.88 cents per mile. That’s okay; not great, but okay.

The most important thing to me however is the double EQMs that I will earn between DFW and SFO. That will raise my EQMs for the trip to 6,856. If I do that trip three times, I’ll earn almost 9,000 bonus EQMs. That’s a great start towards my goal of 50,000 for the year.

I looked at some other routes. From a mileage standpoint the longest flight I can make is AUS-ORD-LAX-ORD-AUS, but I can’t get that to work without spending the night in the  Los Angeles airport. So I tried the same trip but with San Francisco as the destination and found a  good schedule that would get me home that same day, but the ticket would cost $510, making it impractical.

So, I have booked one of these trips and will look to book at least two more. I not only look forward to the miles, but also look forward to seeing the new American Airlines terminal at SFO that opened last year. I won’t be able to leave the airport during this trip, but will try to make that work on my subsequent bookings.

On another note, I saw a great bonus from Citi for the American Airlines credit card, a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus. That was the good news, The bad news is that it is only available to people who do not currently have a Citi American Airlines card as I do. Here is a link to the offer if you are interested.