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Now through September 30, American Airlines is offering both a bonus and a discount when you share miles.
As usual, the bonus and discount are tiered:
- When you share 6,000-25,000 miles: Get a 20% discount and 1,000 bonus miles
- When you share 26,000-50,000 miles: Get a 30% discount and 5,000 bonus miles
It usually costs $12.50 per 1,000 miles to share miles, or 1.25 cents per mile … plus a $20 per-transaction charge (and the discounts do not apply to this). However, with this promo, your price drops down to as little as 0.798 cents per mile when you purchase 26,000 miles for $247.50, getting the full 30% discount and full 5,000-mile bonus.
That doesn’t sound so bad, but you could look at it this way: You’re basically creating 5,000 new miles by paying $247.50, a per-mile cost of 4.95 cents apiece. That’s practically highway robbery, especially considering that TPG values AA miles about about 1.7 cents apiece. It’s also much higher than the cost of simply purchasing AA miles outright (they cost $29.50 per 1,000, plus a 7.5% tax and $30 per-transaction processing charge).
To give you a little perspective, if you purchased miles at that rate, redeeming for a round-trip domestic economy award at 25,000 miles would be equivalent to paying $1,237.50!
In most cases, this probably doesn’t make sense. However, if you were already looking to combine some mileage accounts in order to consolidate your miles for a specific award, you might as well do so at a discount and with a bonus.
However, there are a few other terms and conditions to keep in mind. First, AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old are not permitted to share miles. Each AAdvantage member is limited to sharing or receiving a combined total of no more than 200,000 miles in a calendar year. Finally, shared miles do not count toward elite status or Million Miler status.
On the plus side, American Airlines processes mileage transfers and purchases directly (rather than going through Points.com), so this spend counts as airfare. That means you can earn bonus points if you use a card with a travel or airfare category bonus, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred with 2x points on travel; the Citi ThankYou Premier’s 3x points on travel; or the Amex Premier Rewards Gold’s 3x points on airfare.
If you’re looking for other ways to boost your AAdvantage account, you could also consider applying for one of the Citi / AAdvantage card offers out there at the moment. The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is currently offering a bonus of 75,000 miles after making $7,500 in purchases within the first three months of account opening, while the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is offering 50,000 bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||15.49% (Variable)||$450||0%||Excellent Credit|