American Airlines and US Airways are both running sales on the purchase of their miles through March 3, 2015. This is right on the heels of their last sale ending, so these sales are becoming more common, and unfortunately pricier than last year.
For now, your American Airlines miles and US Airways miles will sit in separate accounts, and you can redeem them on separate charts, with different routing rules, and slightly different partners. Some time between April and June 2015, your US Airways and American Airlines miles will be combined into your American Airlines account, and the American Airlines chart, partners, and rules will control.
That means the chance to buy both kinds of miles at a discount could be a way to eventually have one huge American Airlines balance. Similar reasoning has led me to recommend getting the American Airlines and US Airways credit cards before the US Airways program disappears.
Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® is offering 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.
We know that the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered to new applicants as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate. That means that the chance to earn 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.
From the credit cards, you could have 103,000 American Airlines miles in a few months. From the mileage sales, you could add another 260,000 miles. But is buying the 260k miles a good deal?
- How expensive are the US Airways miles?
- How expensive are the American Airlines miles?
- How long do the sales last?
Both sales are identical and offer up to 30,000 bonus miles. Both sales end March 3, 2015. Both sales are offering a further 10% discount on the normal miles price, though this lasts only until February 9.
The bonus miles are tiered based on how many you buy.
Buying 75,000 miles with a 30,000 mile bonus (105,000 total miles) offers the best deal.
The price of $2,171 for 105,000 miles works out to 2.07 cents per mile. This will go up 11% next week to 2.30 cents per mile and $2,412 for for 105,000 miles. For context:
- The January sale offered miles for 2.14 cents each.
- The December sale offered miles for 2.06 cents each.
- US Airways used to consistently sell miles for 1.88 cents each.
- US Airways used to offer the chance to “share” miles with a bonus once a year that gave the chance to buy miles for 1.13 cents each.
I value US Airways miles and American Airlines miles around 1.9 cents each, so there is no way I would buy these miles speculatively for 2.07 cents. The only way it could possibly make sense to buy miles at these prices is if you had an immediate high value use for them.
You can buy 260,000 American Airlines and US Airways miles that will combine into your American Airlines account next year. The cheapest price is buying 105,000 of each type (210,000 total) for $4,342 or 2.07 cents each. That’s way too high to buy speculatively. Hopefully cheaper sales come along.
The US Airways miles sales are processed by points.com, so you won’t get bonus points from any of your cards with category bonuses for purchasing US Airways miles. The American Airlines miles sales are now processed by American Airlines itself, so you can get category bonuses on cards that bonus airline or travel purchases, or you can use your Arrival Plus to get American Airlines miles for zero cash.
In the meantime, we can pick up 103,000 American Airlines and US Airways miles from the big bonuses on their credit cards.
Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.