There are quite a few buy mile promos going on right now! While I would not normally recommend purchasing miles, there are some instances where it can be very helpful like topping up an account for an award redemption or “purchasing” premium cabin travel at a fraction of the actual cost of the cabin.
Good for economy travel?
Typically, it is a very bad idea to purchase the total amount of miles required for an economy ticket. Here is an example: US Airways Buy/Gift Promo – If you purchase the 30,000 (+the promo 30,000 for a total of 60,000) miles to cover an economy ticket to Europe from the US, you would spend a total $1,128.75. This is before you would have to pay the tax and award fee for the ticket. In the end, you would have paid a total of over $1,300 for an economy ticket to Europe. That is terrible because you can almost always purchase an economy ticket for less than that (and earn miles as well!).
Alaska Airlines Buy Mile Promo
Alaska Airlines is a fun airline to work with and one that I will be detailing more about in future posts. They just this year started allowing foreign carrier flights (that are within their program) to count towards elite status. They are not in any alliance but have a number of partners, both domestic and international. There are a lot of great awards that you can book with their miles (awards like Cathay Pacific First Class or Emirates First Class). With this promo, you can purchase miles (on a tiered basis) with up to a 40% bonus. The most you can purchase in a single transaction is 40,000 (+ 16,000 bonus miles), but you can purchase as many as you want in successive transactions. If you really want to bulk up your Mileage Plan account, this would be the way to do it.
To max out this promo, you will earn 56,000 Mileage Plan and spend $1,182 for a per mile cost of 2.11 cents per mile (that is per max transaction purchase which you can do over and over again). This promo runs through March 15. To purchase these miles, click here.
American Airlines Buy Mile Promo
American Airlines has an opportunity to purchase miles at less than 2 cents a piece. What makes this a good deal is that they are never that “cheap”. The reason they are this time is because there are two promos that are stackable. One of those promotions end on February 6 so if you want to take advantage of it, do it sooner rather than later. To get the full benefit of this purchase promo, you will need to buy at least 60,000 (because the first promo is on a tiered structure).
To max out this promo, you will earn 98,000 AA miles and spend $2,045 for a per mile cost of 2 cents per mile. To purchase them at the cheapest point, you would need to purchase 60,000 miles (and receive 18,000 bonus) for a total of $1,542 which is just less than 2 cents per mile. To purchase these miles, click here.
US Airways Buy Mile Promo
US Airways is running yet another buy mile promo. This one is a straight 100% promo and is targeted to US Airways credit card holders. This promo runs through February 28. Purchasing 90,000 US Airway miles would be enough to book a trip like this one in business class and would cost $1,697. While that is a lot of money, if you plan on traveling to any city in Europe or North Asia, you may find that an economy ticket may cost close to that! If you want to add a European city/North Asian city to that trip and do it in business class, this may be for you! Just remember, you will still be paying taxes and fees that may add around $200 more.
To max out this promo, you will earn 100,000 US Airway miles and spend $1,881 for a per mile cost of 1.88 cents per mile. To purchase these miles, click here.
So, which of these am I taking advantage of? None. Not because I couldn’t use more of these miles but because the travel that I will be redeeming for does not make the cost of this a good value. Also, I do not have any particular travel in mind and to purchase miles like these on a speculative basis is not always the best idea – especially when we do not know what the new American Airlines/US Airways award chart is going to look like in a couple of months. However, if you have a trip in mind or need to top up, these are the best ways to do it for your accounts with these programs.