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.