American Airlines has just announced an early Cyber Monday sale on the purchase of AAdvantage miles. Through November 30, 2015, you can earn up to 75,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when you purchase AAdvantage miles for yourself or a friend. The bonus is tiered based upon how many miles you purchase as follows:
As you can see, you must purchase a minimum of 6,000 AAdvantage miles for this promotion to apply, which will cost you $177.00.
If you were to max this promotion out by purchasing 125,000 AAdavantage miles, it would cost you $3,687.50 – though you would net 75,000 bonus AAdvantage miles for a total of 200,000 miles.
200,000 AAdvantage miles is enough for 2 round trips to Europe or Asia 1 in business class. Keep in mind that each AAdvantage account is limited to purchasing a maximum of 125,000 AAdvantage miles (not including promotional bonus miles awarded) per calendar year. Since we are near the end of the calendar year, this should not impact many people. As always, these miles will not count towards elite status.
So is it worthwhile to purchase miles? If you were to purchase 125,000 miles for $3,687.50, you would receive 75,000 bonus miles for a total of 200,000. That is a cost of ~1.8 cents per AAdvantage mile. Most valuations (including my own) place the value of AAdvantage miles somewhere around 1.6 cents per mile, so while this offer is not a horrible value, it certainly is not a rate at which I would speculatively purchase miles.
However, if you have a certain redemption in mind where you could use these miles, it may very well make excellent sense for you to purchase miles with this promotional bonus. For example, 200,000 AAdvatange miles would be enough for 2 roundtrip tickets to Asia 1 in JAL business class. 2 roundtrip tickets to Tokyo for example would usually cost you ~$5,000-6,000 per ticket. Assuming there was award space available, purchasing the miles you would need for that redemption would save you ~$6,000-7,000 out of pocket. In that situation, I think there is exceptional value to be had here.
While this is not a bonus that I will be taking advantage of, there is certainly value to be had with this promotion if you have a certain redemption in mind that you would otherwise be paying out of pocket for. Otherwise, I would spend that money on actually earning the miles through butt in seat travel. Plus you actually get to see some more of the world that way!