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Earlier this month American Airlines launched yet another offer to buy miles at a bonus, through July 31, 2014 and frankly, I thought I had written about it, but apparently not. It isn’t really an earth shattering promotion, but if you need to top up your AA account, it could make sense.
In order to maximize this promotion, you would want to buy only 55,000 miles, since you’ll receive the same number of bonus miles whether for purchasing any amount between 55,000 and 80,000 miles. The cost to buy 55,000 miles is $1,512.50 plus a $35 transaction processing charge and applicable taxes, bringing the total to $1,660.94. This means you’re essentially buying 71,500 AAdvantage miles for 2.3 cents a piece. Not a great deal in my opinion, but it could make sense for some people who know how to maximize AAdvantage miles.
Key Rules and Limitations:
- buyAAmiles® and giftAAmiles® transactions are limited to a combined maximum of 80,000 miles, per account, per calendar year.
- AAdvantage miles purchased or bonus miles earned do not count toward elite-status qualification or AAdvantage Million MilerSM status
- Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible
- AAdvantage members must purchase at least 16,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction from the buyAAmiles® program beginning 12:00 am CT July 2, 2014, to 11:00 pm CT July 31, 2014, to be eligible for bonus miles
- If you purchase between 12 am and 9 pm the miles usually post that same evening, (overnight). However, please allow 24-72 hours for the miles to post to your account
A better option would be to buy US Airways Dividend Miles at 1.8 cents apiece with the current 100% buy miles bonus, also available until July 31, 2014. Even though American Airlines miles and US Airways miles are different, US Airways redemptions give you have much more flexibility. For example, TPG contributor Eric Rosen just took an around the world trip in business class for just 90,000 Dividend Miles and $143 (that same trip would now cost 110,000 miles and need to be one oneworld carriers, but the routing rules largely remain the same).
American vs. US Airways Miles
Some other key differences between American and US Airways miles include the ability to book one way awards with AA miles, and to utilize Alaska Airlines as a partner of American. US Airways has it’s perks though- lower mileage thresholds for saver awards generally speaking and although they recently exited Star Alliance and joined Oneworld, they retained some Star Alliance partners – including South African Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and through July 31, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines – which means there are still great award redemptions on some Star Alliance carriers, as well as world-class new ones on its new Oneworld partners like Cathay Pacific and Qantas.
As always, do the math for yourself before deciding to jump on this promotion, but I would choose to buy 50,000 US Airways miles to receive a full 100,000 with the current bonus offer. We may not see many more of these promotions as the American-US Airways merger process continues, so if you’re planing to buy miles already, don’t assume there will be more offers, because the gravy train could end at any point.