Cheapest Ever? Stack 2 Promotions to Buy American AAdvantage Miles at 1.46 Cents Each

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It’s been an annual tradition for American to offer a bonus moving Starwood points to AAdvantage miles. And Starwood has occasionally offered a 35% discount buying points. But the two offers don’t usually happen at the same time.

Right now thought,

A 35% discount lets you buy Starwood Starpoints for 2.275 cents apiece which is what I consider the points to be worth. Starwood only lets you buy 30,000 points per year for your account.

You can transfer your Starpoints to Marriott at 1 to 3, and then use Marriott Rewards for travel packages. That’s great, though we don’t yet know how travel packages will change exactly under the new Marriott program.

If you transfer Starpoints into airline miles, 20,000 Starpoints gets you 25,000 miles which means with the 35% offer you’d be buying miles in most airline programs for 1.82 cents apiece.

Convert those points to American, adding in the 25% transfer bonus running concurrently, and you get that cost down to 1.46 cents apiece. That’s a much better price than American ever sells miles for directly (through April 28 they’re offering a deal of 1.8 cents). And indeed 1.5 is about what I value American miles at.

Note that Starwood points purchases are processed by Points.com – not by Starwood directly – yet they do offer bonus points as though you were buying from Starwood when paying with an SPG co-brand Amex.

And that while American AAdvantage offers 5 day holds when booking most awards, less time than the transfer from Starwood to American usually takes, American isn’t promising that the 25% bonus will show up in your account for 7 days from when the initial points transfer does. So while this is a good offer to top off an account, it’s not likely once where you can put an award on hold to lock in space before doing so.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Not cheapest ever. You could generate AA miles at 1 cent each during US airways share promo a few years ago.

  2. I’m tempted to do it, or even to transfer some points I already have to American. But everyone keeps warning me you can’t find award seats on American since this year. I had been lucky getting Europe to Hawaii business class for nice miles, not in the last couple months. I did notice recently when searching that they are requiring me to do an extra stop which is not ideal.

  3. I keep getting these AA promos but I have never ever been able to find real availability on routes that I want, even being flexible with dates. For international J, it’s always a 25-hour ordeal with multiple unnecessary stops. For domestic, economy saver awards also have weird routings with multiple stops or just aren’t available. They can keep their miles. I will keep the cash.

  4. Unless you highly value International Business Class, don’t mind traveling when the weather sucks, or don’t mind building in unnecessary stops, AA miles are worth less than 1 cent

    But then again, Parker has built a premium flying experience.

  5. Can I transfer my AA miles into Star Points using this promo? …30K AA to 20K SPG? Would it help if i said “Please”?

  6. I found great availability to the South Pacific via AA/Qantas and then from South Pacific to South Africa on Qantas. Excellent use of just over 80,000 miles.

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