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Although I don’t normally suggest getting in on purchased mileage bonuses, there are times to consider them, and American is running two simultaneous promotions on purchased miles that might make it worth it.
The first is a 30% bonus on purchased miles running now through February 28, 2014, that’s tiered as follows:
20,000-29,000 miles: 5,000 bonus miles
30,000-39,000 miles: 8,250 bonus miles
40,000-49,000 miles: 12,000 bonus miles
60,000+ miles: 18,000 bonus miles
So to get the maximum 30% bonus, you have to purchase either 40,000 or 60,000 miles.
However, now, through 11pm CT on February 6 (Thursday), the airline is also offering a 10% discount on purchased miles. So, if you were to max out this bonus with a 60,000 mile purchase and end up with 78,000 miles, you’d be paying a total of $1,542.69 (including taxes and transaction fee) – a price of 1.98 cents per mile. To put it in perspective, buying miles at that price would be equivalent to spending about $1,300 for a one-way first class Cathay Pacific award from Hong Kong to North America (67,500 miles), or $990 for a roundtrip domestic business class award (50,000 miles).
While that’s much better than normal, it’s still not amazing, and not quite as good as US Airways’ periodic 100% mileage bonuses where miles cost 1.88 cents each. Still, if you have a specific award in mind and need to top off for it, this could be a good opportunity to do so for less money than usual. However, if you are just looking for a big AA miles haul, remember that there is currently an offer of 100,000 miles for the Citi Executive AAdvantage card when you spend $10,000 in 3 months that is probably a better opportunity.
Just note that buy/gift miles transactions are limited to a combined total of 80,000 miles per calendar year, so you would almost be maxing out your potential miles purchases with this one promo.
Points.com processes these transactions, so you don’t earn 3X points per $1 with the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card’s airfare bonus or 2.14X points per $1 on the Sapphire Preferred since this isn’t categorized as a travel purchase.