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Now through April 30, 2014, American is offering tiered bonuses of up to 40% on the purchase of AAdvantage miles. These aren’t going to be American’s greatest deals to date, but they could be worthwhile for the redemption of premium class awards on long-haul international flights.
These AAdvantage tiered bonuses work a bit differently here and are just flat amount depending on how many miles you purchase rather than percentages. Here’s the breakdown:
American will allow you to purchase a maximum of 80,000 AAdvantage miles per year not including bonus miles, but the sweet spot here is exactly 65,000 miles. That’s because you get the highest amount of bonus miles available here – 26,000 – for the lowest purchase that qualifies. Even if you bought your annual 80,000-mile max, you’d still just get 26,000 bonus miles with this promo, so you might as well spend the least amount of miles to get it.
If you purchased 65,000 AAdvantage miles, you’d end up with a total of 91,000 at a cost of about $1,962 for a per-mile cost of 2.15 cents. Not terrible, but not great.
In February, American was offering a combined mileage bonus and discount that meant you could buy miles for just under 2 cents each, so this is by no means the best deal they’ve ever offered. However, it could still make sense to take advantage of this promotion if you’re able to find first class awards on AA partners like British Airways or Cathay Pacific. To put this in perspective, a one-way first class award on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to the US requires 67,500 miles. At this price, you’d be paying the equivalent of $1,451.25 – not bad for a ticket that would go for well over $8,000 normally.
Plus, with American’s five-day hold policy on AAdvantage award tickets, you can choose to hold your award tickets, purchase the miles, then complete your purchase, keeping in mind that purchased AAdvantage miles take about 2-3- days to post.
Only accounts that are at least 14 days old can take advantage of this promotion, and the points purchase(s) – which are processed by points.com – won’t qualify as airfare spend on your credit card, so you won’t earn bonus points on card like the Premier Rewards Gold or the Sapphire Preferred.
Now that US Airways has joined the OneWorld alliance but is retaining its very generous routing rules, if you have a trip to Asia or Australia in mind it might make sense to wait for a 100% bonus on purchased US Airways miles (assuming we see those ever again!). The airline’s redemption costs for travel to these continents is lower than American’s, and the cost to purchase US Airways miles with a 100% bonus is only -1.88 cents per mile. US Airways isn’t running a promotion like this at present, but I’ll certainly keep an eye out for one.