Through September 30, 2014, American AAdvantage is offering up to a 35% bonus on shared miles. I’m writing about this simply to explain why in almost all cases it’s not worth taking advantage of.
Sharing miles is basically an opportunity to transfer miles from one account to another, which can be useful if you don’t quite have enough miles for an award ticket in one account, but have a second account with extra miles you could use to “top off” the account.
In the past we’ve seen airlines offer up to a 100% bonus on shared miles. This is a promotion that both US Airways Dividend Miles and Avianca LifeMiles have offered, and that can be quite lucrative. That’s because when you transfer miles from one account to another, they double your mileage balance.
However, in this case American is simply offering a discount on shared miles, which means you’re not actually “generating” any miles, but rather just paying less than you usually would to transfer them.
The discount varies depending on the number of miles you share, as follows:
The cost per shared mile varies based on how many miles you transfer, and on top of the variable cost there’s a fixed $35 fee per transaction. The more miles you share, the lower the cost per shared mile. So for example, if you max out this promotion and share 25,000 miles it would cost you $230.
As usual, it can take up to three business days for shared miles to post, and the transaction would be processed by points.com, meaning this wouldn’t qualify as airfare spend for the purposes of your credit card.
At best you’re paying almost a cent per mile for the transfer, which is lower than usual, but still not worth it unless you absolutely need to make a transfer. For example, if you want to book a Cathay Pacific first class award between the US and Asia and have one American account with 45,000 miles and another with 25,000 miles, it can certainly make sense to share miles so you’ll have enough in one account to book the award.
Aside from that, though, there’s no way to take advantage of this promotion in a way that’s advantageous.