Costco is currently selling $300 American Airlines gift cards for $269.99 at many of their stores. Based on what I’ve heard the gift cards don’t expire and a maximum of eight can be used per ticket (meaning $2,400 of value). As long as the ticket is booked through American you should still be able to apply further discounts to it, be it a voucher or an electronic percent off certificate.
Not all Costco stores carry them, so be sure to call your local Costco first, or check this FlyerTalk thread where some are reporting on availability.
I’m a bit torn as to whether or not I should take advantage of this. On one hand I’m tempted to pick up maybe $5,000 worth of vouchers, but at the same time I’m not sure how worthwhile it is. Costco takes American Express, so I would earn one Membership Rewards point (or one Starwood point) per dollar spent, which I value at around two cents per point. If I booked a ticket directly with American I would earn three points per dollar spent, since my Premier Rewards Gold card gives me three Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airfare. At two cents each that’s basically a 6% return vs. a 2% return through Costco, or a difference of 4%. That means I’d essentially be getting a 6% discount by buying these certificates, not factoring in the time value of money, time and gas it costs to buy these, etc.
I’m leaning towards stocking up, though it’s not that compelling…