Sunday Reader Question: The Value of 5,000 AA Miles

by on August 12, 2012 · 9 comments

in American, Car Rental Bonuses, Sunday Reader Questions

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TPG reader Izzie asks a question about car rentals and the worth of 5,000 points:

“I will be going to Maui for my honeymoon and I’m looking to rent a car from August 26th till September 3rd.  I found the cheapest price for a full size on Dollar’s website for $209.92.  But on Avis’s website I can get a full size for $239.47 and I get the 5,000 AA miles through their promotion.  Should I go with Avis or stick with Dollar? How much are 5,000 points worth?”

Essentially, your question is asking whether paying $30 more is worth getting 5,000 miles.  Let me put it to you this way: Would you pay $600 for a roundtrip business class ticket to Europe? I know I certainly would many times over. That’s basically the rate at which you’re buying 5,000 miles.  At 6/10ths of a cent each those points are 100% worth it in my opinion. Even if you don’t want to fly business class, that’s like buying a round trip economy SAAver level award for $150.

If you could buy cents normally at 0.6 cents each, you could get a business class ticket to Europe on American for the equivalent of $600!

You can also play around with the rate code to see if you can get it down from $239.  You can Google “Avis AWD,” or check a site like Zalyn to find other discount codes that you might be eligible for. Just know that if you use a corporate code  you’re not eligible for discounts, and if you get in an accident you could be liable so I would advise against doing that.

If you’re on the hunt for AA miles and your rental is longer than 5 days this Budget promo might make more sense since it awards 1,000 bonus points per day up to a total of 10,000 points.

At what rate would it not be worth it? This really depends on how you use your miles, but for me personally I would “buy” AA miles easily at up to 1.5 cents each. Beyond that, my breaking point is somewhere between 1.5 and 2 cents – it would really just depend on my future travel plans and whether I had a need to use the miles in the near future. However, excellent deals rarely present themselves when you need them most, so being strategic about the deals you take advantage of now can really pay off in the long run when you actually need those miles.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • PJ

    What a no brainer :) you do that 24/7/366

  • PJ

    SO far I found United Mileage Plus Explorer is the best CC to use while on short term car rental since it provides the primary coverage . I wonder if anybody found a better one

  • rtw1

    Any ideas on how I can get my wife 100k AA miles? She currently has 52k we bought in April. I have 159k. We are trying to do a rtw trip on oneworld this year. I understand that she cannot buy, nor can I gift her additional miles this year. I also have 40k SPG pts. and 60k UR pts.

  • rtw1

    BTW, I forgot to say I got 100k thru the AA Visa/AmEx double browser trick & my wife is unemployed. Thanks for any ideas.

  • PJ

    I bet your wife can get 50K plus 50K ; DONT BE SHY . NO minimum SPEND it too big to fill.

  • pj


  • thepointsguy
  • Asdfasdfasdfasd

    the 5k miles have zero value, since OP will prob orphan them or wait until they are devalued etc, or negative value because they will influence OP to make irrational travel decisions based on them…

  • Guest

    I don’t know if you could use it along with the American coupon code to earn airline miles, but the IslandAir rate code for rentals in Hawaii is pretty fantastic. Definitely worth trying out…. Just search IslandAir and then clickthrough their link on their website for Avis.

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