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American Airlines and US Airways have just rolled out yet another buy miles bonus offer. The two carriers have released multiple promos offering a bonus when you purchase miles, such as the ones offered late last year and more recently just last month. The current promotion offers a bonus of up to 40%.
Both airlines are offering this promotion separately though their respective websites, so you can select whichever program you prefer with the links below:
You can earn up to 30,000 bonus miles depending on how many miles you purchase. The bonus breaks down as follows:
- Buy 20,000-39,000 miles, get 7,000 bonus miles
- Buy 40,000-59,000 miles, get 15,000 bonus miles
- Buy 60,000-74,000 miles, get 23,000 bonus miles
- Buy 75,000-100,000 miles, get 30,000 bonus mile
With this promotion, the maximum bonus you can get is 40% when you buy 75,000 miles and get a bonus of 30,000 miles. That would cost you $2,212.50 plus a $30 processing fee and 7.5% tax, for a total of $2408.43 for 105,000 miles. That means your miles will cost you about 2.29 cents apiece.
Note that there is a significant difference between how US Airways and American Airlines process this promo: US Airways transactions are processed through Points.com, so they’re ineligible for travel category or US Airways spending bonuses if you have a card like the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. However, American Airlines processes its own mileage purchases, so you can earn 2x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, or 2x AAdvantage miles per $1 with co-branded cards like the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard or the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard.
As usual, the question is whether you should buy miles at these rates, and if so, which miles should you buy?
At 2.29 cents apiece, this offer probably isn’t worth taking part in, especially considering that last month’s promo was a much better deal. If you have a specific redemption in mind that offers you much better value, and you’re fairly certain you can book the award you want, this could be worthwhile. Otherwise, I wouldn’t buy these miles speculatively.
If you want to boost your AAdvantage and/or Dividend Miles accounts, there are better options. The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard offers a sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. The US Airways Premier card offers 50,000 Dividend Miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee.
While the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs will combine some time in the second quarter of 2015, there are still currently some major differences between the two programs. For example, American Airlines lets you book one-way awards, while US Airways requires awards to be round-trip.
There are also some specific redemptions where the mileage requirements differ greatly between the two programs. Here are the US Airways and American Airlines award charts. There are still discrepancies between the two, which creates some sweet spots for certain redemptions.
For example, US Airways only requires 110,000 miles round-trip in business class from North America to South Africa or the South Pacific (including Australia and New Zealand), while American requires 150,000 to South Africa and 125,000 to Australia. Check out my post on the Top 11 Awards to Book with US Airways Miles Now That It Is a Member of Oneworld to see some other great uses for Dividend Miles.
Meanwhile, American Airlines allows one-way awards, and offers off-peak awards to Europe, South America, Asia and Hawaii. US Airways has off-peak awards on different dates from the continental US and Canada to the Caribbean and from North America or Hawaii to Europe. Find out more about both here.
As always, think about what you’re actually going to use the miles for and whether you’re getting a good value from them, and then decide whether to buy. Also, remember that both airlines will let you hold awards for a few days, so you can check award availability before committing to a purchase.
Do you plan to buy miles through either promotion (or both)? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
- For a limited time, earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
- Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.1
- Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
- Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
- Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back — up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*