Is The American Airlines Purchase Miles Deal A Good One?

American Airlines has a limited time offer where members can purchase miles at up to a 25% discount and potentially receive a 2,000 mile bonus. But is it a good deal?

The discount promotion runs from August 6, 2013 through August 30, 2013 but in order to receive the 2,000 bonus miles you’ll need to read the fine print. Only members who purchase a minimum of 20,000 miles between August 6, 2013 and August 15, 2013 will receive the 2,000 bonus miles. Still, is receiving a discount on the miles and bonus miles a good deal?

How To Purchase American Airlines Miles

The amount of discount received on your mile purchases is dependent on how many miles you purchase. You’ll receive up to 25% discount if you purchase the maximum amount of miles. The discounts are shown below:AA 2013 Mile Purchase

Miles Purchased & Discount Received

  • 5,000 – 9,000 will receive 5% discount
  • 10,000 – 19,000 will receive 10% discount
  • 20,000 – 39,000 will receive 15% discount
  • 40,000 – 59,000 will receive 20% discount
  • 60,000 – will receive 25% discount

In order to be eligible to receive the 2,000 mile bonus, members will need to purchase a minimum of 20,000 miles.

Is It Worth It To Purchase Miles

The cost per mile is dependent on how many miles you purchase. So this means the more miles you buy the higher the discount, and the lower cost you’ll receive. In addition to the price per mile, there is a $35 per transaction processing charge.

Price Per Mile By Discount Category

  • 5,000 – 9,000 will have $0.0261 cost per mile ($235.13 / 9,000)
  • 10,000 – 19,000 will have $0.0247 cost per mile ($470.25 / 19,000)
  • 20,000 – 39,000 will have $0.0222 cost per mile ($911.63 / (39,000+2,000))
  • 40,000 – 59,000 will have $0.0212 cost per mile ($1,298 / (59,000+2,000))
  • 60,000 – will have $0.0199 cost per mile ($1,237.50 / (60,000+2,000))

It is important to keep in mind that transactions also come with the $35 transaction charge which is not included in the cost breakdown above.

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Terms And Conditions

Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible. Please allow 72 hours for purchased AAdvantage® miles to post to the designated AAdvantage account. Please allow 5 days for the bonus miles to post. AAdvantage members must purchase at least 20,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction from the buyAAmiles® program beginning 12:00 am CT August 6, 2013, to 11:00 pm CT August 15, 2013, to be eligible for bonus miles. AAdvantage members must purchase 5,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction from the buyAAmiles® program beginning 12:00 am CT August 6, 2013, to 11:00 pm CT August 30, 2013, to be eligible for the discount off the mileage price. AAdvantage members must purchase between 5,000 and 9,000 AAdvantage miles in a single transaction from the buyAAmiles® program to be eligible receive a 5% discount. Members must purchase between 10,000 and 19,000 AAdvantage miles in a single transaction to be eligible receive a 10% discount. Members must purchase between 20,000 and 39,000 AAdvantage miles in a single transaction to be eligible receive a 15% discount. Members must purchase between 40,000 and 59,000 AAdvantage miles in a single transaction to be eligible receive a 20% discount. Members must purchase 60,000 in a single transaction to be eligible to receive a 25% discount. The discount applies to the AAdvantage miles purchased and does not apply towards taxes or the $35 transaction processing fee. There is no limit to the number of transactions allowed during the offer period, however the total number of miles purchased via buyAAmiles is limited to a combined maximum of 60,000 miles per account, per calendar year. Bonus miles earned do not count toward the annual limit. AAdvantage miles purchased or earned through this promotion do not count toward elite-status qualification or Million MilerSM status.

Bottom Line

Is receiving a discount on a purchase of American Airlines AAdvantage miles along with 2,000 bonus miles a good deal? It depends.

The cost per mile of $0.0261 at the low end of the discount (5%) is quite a high price. I wouldn’t purchase miles at that price. Instead, I would consider transferring miles from Starwood Preferred Guest if I needed them.

On the other hand, the cost per mile of $0.0199 at the high end of the discount (25%) has been close to a price where I’ve been a buyer in the past. I value Starpoints higher than that price. If you don’t have another way to get American Airlines miles, the ability to redeem miles for a premium class flight at a price of $0.0199 per mile can be better than market prices.

But again, it all depends on your personal value proposition and need for the miles. But the biggest reason I wouldn’t be a buyer at either price, is that US Airways is currently selling their miles at a cost of $0.0188 per mile, you can read my breakdown of that deal through this link. The fact that US Airways and American Airlines are merging means that the loyalty programs will merge and your mile balances will likely get converted into the same point currency at some point. There has been precedent of a 1:1 conversion rate in the past with the Delta / Northwest merger and the United / Continental merger. So my guess, and based on no knowledge of what will actually happen, is that the US Airways and American Airlines miles will convert into the same mile currency at equal value. So there is no need to purchase miles at a higher price, unless you need American Airlines miles now.

What do you think? When would you buy American Airlines Miles?

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  1. Buying miles is almost always a bad idea:
    1. They start depreciating immediately
    2. You are immediately out the money, and forgo any potential interest earned
    3. Miles are a highly illiquid asset with very limited uses