AA is having a mileage purchase deal this month, where you can get up to 60,000 bonus miles. Buy Miles; Gift Miles | American Airlines AAdvantage Program I normally never would consider purchasing miles unless I was a little bit short on booking an award ticket, but this seems like it might be an economical way to gain enough miles to be able to book another round trip business class ticket on a 77W (pretty fantastic product) from LAX to LHR or CDG. The amount of miles + bonus that I'm considering purchasing would put me well over the amount needed for my next business class R/T ticket to Europe and back. It would cost about $1100 and I am thinking that this would be a pretty good deal. My only concern is that AA might change their redemption chart (I wouldn't be traveling until next year) and that I would be forever chasing the new amount of miles needed for an award ticket of this type. I am asking for any thoughts or opinions regarding this idea, especially from folks like kharada46, IAHFLYR, californian and zukracer, but all opinions are appreciated. The offer ends today, so I have to make up my mind pretty quick.
Good deal/idea or no?
Hard to say, pluto77. I read somewhere online recently that buying miles is rarely a good idea. I've done it once when I was just short of an award ticket, but never in a situation like yours.
I guess the best answer would be to weigh the cost versus the benefit and then decide. I know for me, $1100 would be a major purchase and not one I'd make without being certain of future plans. Again, that's just me.
I'll add my two cents worth to the discussion. Purchasing a business class seat round trip from the west coast to London or Paris for $1100 is an incredible bargain. American generally has good availability to Europe, but not always on their planes. Unfortunately, many times the availability is on their partner, British Airways, along with higher taxes and fees than an American award flight. Based on my experience, you must book early to avoid getting stuck with a British Airways flight. The consensus of the "experts" seems to be that American will not likely devalue prior to next January. If devaluation should take place, you can always pick up a few points with a credit sign up bonus (depending on what you already have in your wallet).
Interesting timing, I was just discussing this with my boss. Basically my thoughts are that if you can swing the purchase and max the 160000 miles, that's pretty much a round trip first class flight most anywhere or perhaps 2 business class or more coach flights. For the money, its significantly cheaper to buy these miles and cash them in for flights than paying for the actual flights most of the time. You can find deals to popular places like LHR or CDG or FRA from time to time as you know, so you'd have to temper it against those prices. That said, I know I can book flights 13 months in advance. Depending on any change fees you might be required to pay (EP there are none ) you can always change your mind about destination, dates, whatever.
So what I told my boss, seems relevant here. If you can afford them and have a fairly decent idea of when you'd like to use them in the coming 13months, do it. You'll almost certainly not find the same booking fares even today for the same cabin selected.
As I recall you take regular trips over to see family, so makes perhaps even more sense for you. That way you insulate yourself to reward chart changes and can plan your trip around getting there and back very comfortably
Thanks for weighing in. I wouldn't max the purchase, I was just thinking about 40,000 miles + 22,500 bonus, + 2360 miles for putting it on the AA C/C, but it still comes out to the 1.7 cents/mile (and it's all I need, well I don't even need that much, but since it's a good price, I figured it's good to have some padding.
As far as finding "deals" to popular places like LHR/CDG/FRA, I only am aware of deals from the east coast. Rarely, if at all do I ever see deals from the west coast, but then to be honest, up until now, I've only ever had AF and LH on my radar, but no, even in the past year that I've been back to doing business with AA, I haven't see one "deal" on flights to Europe from the east sorry, west coast (in fact, I haven't seen anything - even domestically - marketed as a "deal" that I would consider a real deal from AA or any of the big 3, really.)
Regarding your reference to change fees, oh never mind, I know what EP means, exec plat, ya, good for you . Ya, I don't like to change my mind for that very reason. I don't take regular trips over to see family any longer. They were reassigned to Ft. Campbell from Bavaria 1.5 years ago, which is why I'm now doing limited business with AA instead of LH, but even in their absence from Europe, and as I am within 2 years of retirement, my goal is to travel to Europe annually, which in it's own way adds to the mix.
In my case, 56% bonus mile promotion is darn good (60% in your case if you max out). Usually it's no more that 30 or 40%, right?
I appreciate your timely responses. I think you are actually both correct. I've likely read the same things you have, Brian. The Points Guy says it's reasonable when just short amount of miles is needed for an award redemption or if you have a specific redemption in mind that offers a good value and if you're fairly certain that you can book the award that you want. Well, that last clause is sort of the kicker, isn't it? I know from experience now that if I book 9-11 months in advance and for a shoulder season flight, I can get a very, very good value for miles spent (100,000 miles for a round trip bus class ticket from LAX-LHR or CDG on AA metal - 77W - is astonishingly good), however the big nebula is how long will I be able to do this before AA changes it's redemption chart, if they do at all (earn rate isn't the issue. AA miles are valued at about 1.7 cents, which is what this promotion is offering, so it's good on that score, it's the redemption cost that is an unknown, because any future changes to the program are as yet unknown. But looking at DL and UA changes, I really don't think that AA will drastically change it's redemption schedule, just the earn schedule.
Additionally, I have to fly to Nashville about 3-4 times/year anyway at a cost of about $550/trip (main cabin extra), so if my hedge on a future bus class Europe flight for 100,000 miles doesn't pan out, I can always use the miles for BNA, knowing that for what it costs me for the miles purchase, is the same as what I would pay for two trips to BNA (and with mile saver awards, I can squeeze 4 trips to BNA out of 100,000 miles.) So while yes, $1100 isn't pocket change, it's what I would have to spend on trips to Nashville in the very least between now and the end of the year anyway (though purchasing a cash ticket would yield needed flight segments for annual elite qualification, which redemption flights won't, hmmm, so there's that too to consider.) bejacob, you are the voice of reason, which I certainly appreciate.
gm1, Your perspective is exactly how I was looking at this too. A round trip bus class ticket from LAX to LHR for next March is about $5600, so $1100 is an incredibly good deal (can't even fly economy for that price.) I checked on availability, and there are mile saver awards available on AA metal right now for early next Spring, but again, they must be booked veeeeeeery early as these seats are limited. I was sort of thinking about a year from Sep/Oct.
AA has a promotion giving extra miles when flying business this year. AA Executive flyers think this is because the cost in miles will increase next year. It most likely will still be a good deal since flying International Business Class is expensive to pay. I probably wouldn't do it without a specific flight that I knew I could get with the purchased miles. I have been considering the same thing with United.
I saw that but didn't realize it was just for this year, I thought it was their new permanent earn scheme.
base miles + class of service bonus + elite status bonus + additional bonus 2015 with our year long AAdvantage promotion (and what is elite status bonus? not seeing it. does it refer to elite qualifying points?)
If it's the one above, it's actually an additional bonus for all AAdvantage members, though highest elites of course gain the most bonus. I guess this is their new earning model (at least for 2015), which doesn't seem much different than their old earning model. American Airlines oneworld partner | aa.com
I agree that the "cost in miles" will probably increase, but the question in my mind is how? Will they increase their redemption scheme, or will they revamp their earning scheme, a la DL, where you earn based on dollars spent vs. miles flown? I don't really care what AA does with their earning scheme, since I always earn AS miles/segments when I fly (I do very much care about AS's earning scheme obviously and it will be a sad day indeed when/if they fall in with the big 3 on a spend based earning schema.)
I'll be watching this closely.
While I mourn the loss of the 60% bonus, there is now an "up to 35% discount" on AA miles. And for those of you who had the US Airways card from barclay's, remember your card is earning 50% more miles (1.5 miles on general purchases, 3 miles on AA/US purchases (or more if you got an aaviator silver) until june 30th I think. Up to 10k bonus miles.
That's what made my decision so difficult... deals like that are offered very infrequently, so when they pop up, one sort of has to be thinking of something specific to use it for and/or have the ability to be flexible with travel, otherwise, it's a tough decision. I took the plunge with an international flight in mind, even though I don't have any plans (and honestly don't really have time for anything either as I am consumed with work and family obligations), but I am resolved to find a way to take advantage and squeeze something in.
Thanks everyone for your input and recommendations. I did purchase the miles with the bonus, and just as a mea culpa, the price was actually $1180, so with the tax and the $30 processing fee, it shook out to more like 1.9 cents/mile, not quite as rosey, but still pretty good.
Now who is going to save me from myself, that is from purchasing a R/T ticket for an AA 1st class DFW-ORD flight on a Dreamliner between now and June 2nd for less than $600? (On June 2nd the aircraft will be pulled off that route and put on an international route.)
I replied last night, but my iPad ate my reply. I am very seriously considering doing it, and if so, I will commit within the next day or two, so long as I can get the seat I would like (window, front facing). The $600 is r/t from DFW (there's a special way that I went about it to get that offer). Then there is still the flight from SNA. It would be a quick trip (a real squeeze), looking at the first weekend in June as they will still have one aircraft on that route. Email or call if you're still interested (soonly).