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Answers (10)

Buy miles with a bonus or on sale?

Buy miles with a bonus or on sale?

  1. MidSouthSkier

    Several of us are planning a trip to China next year. 3 of us have the AA miles we need. The 4th person has none but is willing to buy miles so we can travel together.

    Right now AA miles are on sale at a reduced price. With some of their other sales you get bonus miles instead of a reduced price. While it obviously depends on the percentage of bonus miles has anyone ever done the math to determine if it’s a better deal to buy the miles during one type of sale vs. the other?

    I’ll try to get him to open up an AA credit card so he won’t have to buy as many miles but don’t know if he’ll be receptive to that idea or not.

    Appreciate any suggestions!

  2. David W

    The best value is going to be when you max out the promo. Currently the AA promo gets you 165k miles for $3122.02, $0.0189 cents per mile. I bought miles when it was a 115k bonus. $4786.88 for 265k miles, $0.0181 cents per mile.

    So a large bonus on miles is better value than a discount on miles. Each persons financial ability comes into play as well but personally, I would rather pay for bonus miles rather than a discount.

    Are you pretty set on the itinerary? If Alaska’s sale is still going on, it might be worth it to get their miles since they partner with CX and HU, in addition to JL starting later this year. Paid HU fares can be cheap as well, especially if crediting to AS

  3. MidSouthSkier

    I’d been looking at JL because I had seen 4 J seats at various times from both ORD and from SAN. The problem with using AS miles for me is that I don’t live in a city served by AS and they have that pesky rule about “only one partner + AS”. So I would have to position to ORD or SAN and that’s several hundred dollars I’d rather not pay.

    The friend who is buying the miles is planning to stopover before & after in ORD, so he’d buy that ticket separately anyway. The other friends only have AA miles.

    We’ll be returning from HKG and I’d love to fly CX to ORD on the way back but I’m not sure we’ll be able to find enough seats, and we’d still need connecting flights to our respective cities which wouldn’t be included in the award.

    But with the math you’ve demonstrated what I had thought – a good percentage bonus is a better deal than a sale. I’ll present the options to him and see what he wants to do. Thanks!

  4. Gaurav

    I think it’s important to do the math as [USER=29]@David W[/USER] suggests. AA is always selling miles and I am sure they tweak parameters to see what attracts the most people. So the next discount sale might better than the next bonus sale and of course it matters when you need the miles…if you need the miles now discount is the only option. I think the time when bonus miles wins out definitely is when you need more miles than AA allows you to buy in a calendar year. Bonus miles allows you to get above that threshold.

  5. MidSouthSkier

    Well, he only needs 140K. So I’m encouraging him to get the AA credit card (which offers a 10% rebate on miles spent) for 50K, use it to buy 70K-ish miles. Since we’ll be booking the outbound and the return separately, he can get 7K of those miles rebated and he won’t have to buy but a few thousand more. He hasn’t responded to my email yet so I may have overwhelmed him with info. 🙂

  6. David W

    I think if he buys 80k miles(2.1 cents per mile with the current promotion), you’ll have enough for the round trip flights. 80k from the purchase, at least 53k from the card bonus and spend plus 7k rebate from booking one of the legs.

    Is he thinking about future travel after this trip? Because if he applies for the card and maxes out the current buy miles promo, he would still have 91k miles after the 10% rebate and ticketing a round trip US-Asia J award

  7. MidSouthSkier

    Yes, there will be future travel but we’re doing a 3-week trip that still has to be paid for so I suspect he won’t want to max out the number of miles he can buy.

  8. PassengerPoldberg

    Since it sounds like everyone is an expert on the topic here, let me jump in with a couple questions. My girlfriend and I are also planning a trip to China/Hong Kong in September. We both earned the AA sign up bonus of 50k but were short 25k of two biz class CX awards from HKG to LAX. What do you suggest? Just buy them? or is there another card I can snag?

  9. David W

    Yeah you can buy miles but it’s 545$ each for 25k miles. You could look into the citi aadvantage gold card. I think the highest bonus is 25k. You could also apply for the citi aadvantage business card if it’s got a 50k bonus

  10. PassengerPoldberg

    [USER=29]@David W[/USER]
    Great call on the gold card! Signing up for that is much cheaper than buying 25k at $545. Thanks!

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