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Current Mileage Purchase and Share Bonus Promos: American, Avianca, JetBlue, US Airways

by on March 5, 2014 · 7 comments

in American, Avianca TACA, Buy Miles Promotions, JetBlue, US Airways

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There are several promotions where you can buy or transfer miles and get a bonus of anywhere from 25-100% right now, so I thought I’d put them all together in one place for a handy reference. Here are the current promos.

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American Airlines 30% Discount on Shared Miles

Now through March 31, American Airlines is offering a discount of up to 30% on shared miles. To get the full discount you must share at least 41,000 miles:

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 11.16.29 AMNormally to share miles there is a fee of $20 per 1,000 shared miles for the first 5,000 miles, then $10 per 1,000 shared miles for anything on top of that. If you were to share 50,000 miles, it would cost you $385 with this promo, or about .77 cents per mile. You can share up to 100,000 miles per year per account and receive up to 100,000 shared miles per year per account.

While that seems like a low price, you’re not getting any sort of bonus on top of that, so it’s not like creating or buying new miles at a discounted price. Considering you can just book awards for pretty much anyone from your account, it doesn’t usually make sense simply to move miles around. However, if you’ve got a few orphaned miles sitting around in one account or another and were looking to combine them anyway, this could be worth it, but definitely crunch the numbers for yourself.

Avianca 100% Transfer Bonus

Now through March 17, 2014, Avianca Lifemiles is offering a 100% bonus on transferred miles. Per the rules of the promotion, you can transfer between 1,000-50,000 miles at the price of 1.5 cents per mile and then you get a bonus miles per mile transferred – so you’re essentially “buying” miles at 1.5 cents apiece. Just keep in mind, you can only transfer up to 50,000 miles between accounts per calendar year, so if you max out this bonus, you’re done for the year.Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 8.59.37 AM

Lifemiles also periodically offers 100% buy miles bonuses where the price is pretty the same (the last one was in December) and you can buy up to 75,000 miles, though there was also a targeted one-day offer where miles cost just a cent apiece, so if you don’t get in on this one, there might be other opportunities ahead. Also note that you can always buy Lifemiles at 1.5 cents each when redeeming for their Cash & Points awards, but you must have at least 40% of the miles necessary for the award in your account and you can only buy up to the remaining 60%.

So the pricing is decent, and this is something to think about considering the upcoming exit of US Airways from Star Alliance and the major United devaluation that went into effect earlier this month. Lifemiles has a decent award chart here, and award search engine, and roundtrip business class from North America to Southern South America (Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia) is 100,000 miles (135,000 in first class), while North America to Europe in business has gone up recently to 105,000 miles, but that’s still well below United’s new levels. Plus, Avianca lets you redeem for one-way awards, which US Airways does not. However, Avianca does not allow mixed class awards, so the same class of service must be available on all segments, which can be a major hassle. Check out this post for a rundown on buying Lifemiles vs. US Airways miles

JetBlue Up to 50% Buy Miles Bonus

Now through March 31, JetBlue is offering a buy points bonus of up to 50%. Here’s how it breaks down.

Buy between 5,000 – 9,500 get 20% bonus points
Buy between 10,000 – 19,500 to get 30% bonus points
Buy between 20,000 – 29,500 to get 40% bonus points
Buy 30,000 to get 50% bonus points

You can buy JetBlue points for 3.76 cents apiece, and if you max out the promo at 30,000 points (to end up with a total of 45,000 points), you’re looking at a total price of $886.88 and a per-point price of 1.97 cents. Considering you can redeem JetBlue points for only about 1.3 cents apiece – not such a great deal. So I’d suggest staying away from this promo unless you’ve got a specific, imminent award you need to top up for.

US Airways 25-100% Targeted Buy Miles Bonuses

I wrote about this on Saturday, but thought I’d throw in a reminder that now through March 26, 2014, US Airways is offering Dividend members targeted buy miles bonuses that vary between 25-100%. You just have to log into your account on the buy miles page to see how much of a bonus you’ll get.

890x300_USAirways_Buy_100US Airways miles are normally sold for 3.5 cents each plus a 7.5% tax, so 3.76 cents per mile total. With these bonuses, here’s how much you’re paying:

  • 25% bonus: 3.29 cents
  • 50% bonus: 2.82 cents
  • 75% bonus: 2.35 cents
  • 100% bonus: 1.88 cents

If you do get that 100% bonus, you can buy 50,000 miles for $1,881.25 and end up with 100,000 miles, enough for some expensive international business class flights to various regions, though that is still a lot of cash. However, US Airways has some great award chart sweet spots such as just 90,000 miles for roundtrip business class to North Asia, and 110,000 miles for roundtrip business class to South Africa, so there is potentially a ton of value to be had. Especially if you take advantage right now since those award levels are likely to disappear when American and US Airways merge their frequent flyer programs with the merger, and possibly even as soon as March 31, when US Airways leaves Star Alliance and joins Oneworld, so this could be the last 100% US Airways buy miles bonus we see.

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  • Justin

    I slept way too late on LifeMiles for too long so I finally set that up the other day. Though I’ve accumulated about 500k miles in the last few months between AA, US Air and BA so it’s really starting to look like I’ll be paying the most attention to OneWorld. Sorry just thinking out loud. :)

  • David

    Virgin America is currently offering up to 60% bonus

  • sheldon cooper

    Would be helpful to have a post outlining some of the tricks available using Avianca LM. That forum on FT is way too cryptic.

  • Greg

    Good post.

    A couple of points about Avianca that you should mention.

    Last year, they ran similar programs, and just a few weeks after people purchased, they drastically raised their prices.

    Avianca also does not allow you to book mixed awards, so a business class or first class redemption, must have first class available on all legs.

    About the targeted 1 cent offer last year. Very few people were targeted (so I would not expect to be targeted), and those that were, had a limit of 20,000 miles that they could purchase.

    This offer is about as good as it will get, but I warn people to be very cautious when purchasing miles, and only purchase miles they believe they will use in the very near future.

  • mv

    i looked at buying alaska miles as they have a sale with 40% bonus miles. and using d miles to fly into east africa from the states. it was gonna end up costing about 1200 one way on emirates from seattle to kenya if i bought the miles. are any of these other programmes going to be better for flyin into africa one way?

  • mv

    does us airways do one way flights?

  • Shelbinoz

    OMG! I am so happy! I logged in the other day and US Airways was only offering me (and hubby) 50% bonus each. On a hunch I rebooted my router (to be assigned a new IP)… Voila! Now 100% bonus each on offer. I have just purchased the maximum 50,000 points in each of our accounts and eagerly await the US/AA merger for my points to consolidate with my existing AA balance

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