American has a new purchase miles bonus (now that the last one has expired for a few days). They don’t sell miles as cheaply as US Airways used to — but it can be close, and it’s much cheaper than American used to sell miles for. (And since they process the transactions themselves, rather than through Points.com, their margins are better than US Airways’ were, too.)
They’ll give you up to a 35% discount through May 11.
Here’s how the math works out if you max out this promotion.
Inclusive of tax and processing fee, you can buy 100,000 miles for 2.1 cents per mile.
That’s not a price at which I’m a buyer of miles. On average I value American miles at 1.7 cents.
They’re worth more if they put you over the top for a specific award. And they’re worth more if you redeem them for something you’d be willing to pay full or close to full price for otherwise.
To me they’re worth less because I have a large 7 figure balance of AAdvantage miles already, doubly so now that my US Airways miles have been combined into my American AAdvantage account.
- American allows you to put awards on hold for 5 days. So you can secure award space before buying miles.
- Business class between the US and Southeast Asia is just 110,000 miles roundtrip. Business class between the US and Europe is just 100,000 miles roundtrip. So it can make sense to buy miles for an award that’s currently available (although substantial advance purchase business class to Europe during off peak times can be less than $2000 paid)..
Cathay Pacific first class is 67,500 miles one-way between the US and South Asia
Etihad First Apartment is 90,000 miles one-way US to Middle East (or beyond to the Indian Subcontinent)
This isn’t something everyone should jump on. But some people will find it a worthwhile bonus.