Through April 30, 2014, American is offering tiered bonuses on the purchase of AAdvantage miles, up to 40%. The tiered bonuses are as follows:
While you can purchase a maximum of 80,000 AAdvantage miles per year (not including promotional bonus miles), the best value here is going to be purchasing exactly 65,000 miles. That’s because you get 26,000 bonus miles if you purchase 65,000-80,000 miles, so you’ll get the highest percent bonus with exactly 65,000 miles.
If you were to purchase 65,000 AAdvantage miles you’d get a total of 91,000 miles (including the 26,000 mile bonus) for a total of $1,961.56. That’s a cost of ~2.15 cents per AAdvantage miles.
This is a pretty standard bonus on the purchase of AAdvantage miles, so not an offer I would speculatively take advantage of. For what it’s worth, just a couple of months ago American sold miles for just under two cents each if purchased in the right increments, so there historically have been better offers out there.
With a specific use in mind it could still make sense to take advantage of this promotion, like if you can snag Cathay Pacific or Qantas first class award seats. Do keep in mind that American allows five day holds on AAdvantage award tickets, so you can always hold the award tickets, then purchase the miles, and then complete the purchase. Purchased AAdvantage miles don’t post instantly, so expect for it to take 2-3 days for purchased miles to post.
Also keep in mind that accounts have to be least 14 days old to take advantage of this promotion, and points purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t qualify as airfare spend for the purposes of your credit card.
Now that US Airways has joined the OneWorld alliance and still has very generous routing rules, I guess we should be waiting for a 100% bonus on purchased US Airways miles. Not only does US Airways have lower redemption costs for travel to Asia and Australia, but the cost to purchase US Airways miles with a 100% bonus is ~1.88 cents per mile. There’s no guarantee they’ll run such a promo this month, though.