American selling miles for as low as two cents each through February 28, 2013!

In what can only be described as a sign of pre-merger solidarity, American is selling miles at the lowest rate I’ve ever seen publicly available.

Through February 28, 2013, they’re offering tiered bonuses on the purchase of miles, as follows:

Maxing out this promotion you get 30,000 bonus miles when you purchase 60,000 miles (which is the most miles you can purchase per account per calendar year), for a total of 90,000 AAdvantage miles. The cost for that would be $1,808.75, so that’s just a smidgen over two cents per mile.

I value American miles at ~1.8 cents each, so this is actually a pretty decent rate for someone that has immediate travel plans but not enough American miles. Between the US and “Asia 2,” American charges just 55,000 miles for one-way business class or 67,500 miles for one-way first class. At two cents per mile that’s $1,100 for one-way business class to Asia or $1,350 for one-way first class, both of which are really good values.

This isn’t a rate at which I’d “stock up” just for giggles, but if you have a good use for American miles in the near future this is as good of a rate as I’ve ever seen.

It can take about 72 hours for purchased American miles to post, though also keep in mind that you can place AAdvantage award tickets on hold for five days, so if you’re eying a specific award you could hold the space and then purchase the miles.

American mileage purchases are processed by points.com, so purchasing miles doesn’t qualify as travel spend for the purposes of your credit card.

Comments

  1. Not a great deal. Why: The problem I’ve encountered using my AA miles is finding J/0 class saver awards US-Europe on AA metal. Using AA’s search tool it shows nearly all transatlantic flights on Brit. Airways metal which incur that hefty fuel surcharge. Plus, I don’t want to go through London. Conspiracy? Who knows. But I’m turned off with AA for that reason alone.

  2. Lucky, your award service is working on a round trip Boston – New Zealand award for me for January 2014 (first class I hope). I have 125K AA miles now (with another 43K coming in the next month or so from the Citi AA MC). How many (if any) AA miles would you suggest I purchase for the Jan 2014 trip? I have 225K UA/UR miles as well and was toying with the idea of spending $1750 on 100K US miles with the new promo (although if I don’t use those for NZ I’ll have no immediate use for them). Thoughts?

  3. @ steve — I totally agree, and that’s also why I specifically mentioned Cathay Pacific to Asia, which I think remains the best use of American miles.

  4. @ Rebecca D. — If you’re going in January I’d suggest waiting till closer to the end of the promotion, as we should be able to book it before February 28. You’ll be in a much better position to make an informed decision at that point, in my opinion.

  5. @Lucky, thanks. Excellent point! I think I am just paranoid that one day I will run out of miles and end up behind the curtain on a 15 hour flight!

  6. @ Rebecca D. — Hah, I’ve had the same feeling many times, but there are always opportunities. Worry not!

  7. Question: can the $100 statment credit offered on the AA Visa for first AA purchase be used on miles? Or is the strickly for flights?

  8. I kinda of want to use AA miles for EY F … but just don’t have any particular reason to visit AUH or DXB

  9. Lucky, could I take advantage of the distant segment chart on AA for Australia by going through HKG and then onto Syd for lower pts rather than redeem higher pts for straight south pacific which requires 150k vers 130k for segments in J.

  10. They’re back at this. They ran a similar promo about 2-3 months back. I assume that they’re probably betting that people buying the miles wont use it in J or F, or for that matter in CX.

    @Peterson award space in EY in J/F esp, is notoriously hard to find.

  11. @Tom: AA points purchases are administered by Points.com, which will not look like a travel/airfare purchase to your credit card company. So no category bonuses or credits.

  12. @ Tom — Since the purchase is administered by points.com it can’t be, as Matt points out.

    @ choi — Sure, with a distance based award you could just about route however you’d like.

  13. Had a question on possibly using this for a round trip award to Bombay, India later this year. I have approx 21k AAdvantage miles that expired a while back, so I was considering ponying up the $200 to reinstate those, then make use of this promo to get 90k more, so I’m looking at approx $2000 for 111k miles.

    Just checked award availability between SFO and BOM and flights are available, but they cost 135k miles and a whopping $1100 in taxes and fees.

    You might argue that $3100 for a business class roundtrip to India is worth the actual price (approx $4-5k), but is there an alternative to effectively use those 111k miles? I’ve done it in the past with USAirways miles, where the total cost worked out to approx. $1800, including taxes and fees (when they were selling miles at 1.4c / mile, so now it’d be close to $2500 or so to get the 120k).

    Maybe use AAdvantage to go to Europe / Hawaii or somewhere else? Is it worth buying AA miles in the long run? Would love to get your thoughts.

  14. @ Nash D — I’d say you’re much better off buying US Airways miles. There you won’t pay any fuel surcharges, so you’d save quite a bit using that method.

    I wouldn’t speculatively buy American miles just for the heck of it. If you had a specific use (like going to Asia in Cathay Pacific first class) it can make sense, but otherwise I don’t think it’s a compelling deal.

  15. @Lucky,
    After delta raised b/t NYC and PVG price significantly on Feb 1, 2013, I decided to fly AA (departure economy + return business, because return economy class is sold out) in August and Sept 2013 for my family. with 193K miles in my current AA account, I need to transfer many hotels miles into AA. Sorry to bother you with questions:

    1. How long does it take to transfer Starwood pts, Wyndham pts, Club Carlson pts into AA miles, respectively? Do you think it can be done within five days?

    2. I think Starwood allows maximum 79,999 points transfer each 24 hours for 25% bonus. Do they follow this rule strictly? My point is, I have 180,000 spg points. Do I need to transfer 60,000 pts each 24 hours? For example, if I request first transfet tonight (Sunday 2/3/2013) at 8pm, then tomorrow Monday 2/4/2013, at 8:30pm, I will request another 60,000 spg pts transfer, and then Tuesday 2/5/2013 at 9pm, I will request another 60,000 psg pts transfer? Am I right? Are there quicker ways to do this?

    3. You answered me last Dec (on “Ask Lucky” forum) as follows:
    …”1. lucky said,
    @ Andy — Using American miles you can search for Cathay Pacific award space on either Qantas’ or British Airways’ website, both of which are fairly easy to use. Then you’d just have to call up American to make the booking by giving them the flight numbers and dates you want.”…

    After login and search on BA account, I find AA flights. However, I do not find a way to book reward flight. Can you please advise? Besides, if I find a BA reward flight costing, say, 90,000 Avois, does it mean I can call AA to book this reward flight using 90,000 AA miles?

  16. @Lucky,
    I am able to find BA award flight b/t NYC and PVG that costs 90,000+ Avios miles. If that same award flight takes 90,000 AA miles (instead of Avios miles), it makes no sense to me (I have no intention for a stopover at London) because AA economy + business flight costs 90,000 miles. So, my remaining question is: for a BA award flight costing 90,000 Avios, if I call AA to book AA Award flight, does it need 90,000 AA miles?

  17. @ Andy — No, each airline prices awards differently, so you’d consult the respective award charts of the airlines to determine how many miles it would cost you.

  18. @ Andy —

    1) No experience with Wyndham or Club Carlson, but Starpoints seem to post on Wednesdays, so as long as you imitate transfer by Monday or so they should post on Wednesday.

    2) They do in my experience. You have to wait at least exactly 24 hours.

    3) You need to call American to price and book award space if you’re using AAdvantage miles.

  19. @Lucky,
    Thanks for quick reply.

    I DID find a NYC to PVG round-trip economy award flight for 92,500 avios miles. Did you mean I need to call AA to find out how much AA miles it takes if I use AA miles to book this award flight?

  20. @Lucky,
    Thanks a million. You answered all my questions promptly and accurately. Sincerely appreciate it. (I am sorry I incorrectly posted an inquiry twice.)

    Btw, I am really puzzled why someone spoke negatively on you at another forum (as you mentioned a few days ago). All I have for you is 100% appreciation. You provided free consultation to all of us and it is of tremendous value to us. I have little to be able to return to you in exchange for your generous help, except for a little bit referral links I might use from your blog. Whenever possible, I used your refewral links to sign up for credit card (e.g., last August 2012, Starwood gave 30,000 sign up bonus for a new card instead of 25,000 bonus pts) or promotion offers but that is only a tiny fraction of the enormous value you povide to me.

  21. @ Andy — That’s correct, you’d consult American to see what they charge between New York and Shanghai (which should be 65,000 miles in coach, 110,000 miles in business, or 135,000 miles in first class, roundtrip, though you can’t route via Europe).

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