Several carriers in recent days have announced sales on the purchase of additional miles. Although this can be useful if you need a few miles to top off your account or have definite plans for an upcoming trip, buying miles just for the heck of it is rarely a good idea unless the price is quite low (under 1.8 cents per mile, for example). I don’t think any of these promotions meet this requirement for speculative purchases.
American Airlines — Up to 30% Bonus and 10% Discount (1.98 CPM)
American Airlines is offering tiered bonuses of up to 30% when you buy 40,000 miles or more. However, they are fixed amounts, so you are best sticking close to the minimum number for each bonus tier. While the bonus offer is good through February 28, the discount is only valid through February 6. (HT to Loyalty Lobby)
- 20,000 to 29,000 — 5,000 bonus miles (up to 25%)
- 30,000 to 39,000 — 8,250 bonus miles (up to 27.5%)
- 40,000 to 59,000 — 12,000 bonus (up to 30%)
- 60,000 and more — 18,000 bonus miles (up to 30%)
Note that both the 40-50K and the 60K+ tiers offer a 30% bonus, so there is no need to max out this promotion. Also, if you have already bought miles recently, there is a maximum of 80,000 purchased miles per account, per year. I think this is a decent offer if you want to book travel on American Airlines and its partners, since US Airways miles can only be used to book on AA-operated flights. But still, the price is so high you should have definite plans for those miles in the near future.
Alaska Airlines — Up to 40% Bonus (2.11 CPM)
Mileage Plan is offering bonus miles of 20-40% depending on how many miles you purchase, an offer good through March 15. The best deal is when you buy between 35,000 and 40,000 miles for a final cost of 2.11 cents each after including taxes and fees. The transaction limit is 40,000 miles, so you will get a total of 56,000 Mileage Plan miles. (HT to The Points Guy)
- 5,000 to 19,000 miles — 20% bonus
- 20,000 to 34,000 miles — 30% bonus
- 35,000 to 40,000 miles — 40% bonus
It is generally a better deal to purchase miles through Alaska’s Fly & Buy program, which charges as little as 1.9 CPM when you buy blocks of 10,000 miles while booking a ticket on AlaskaAir.com. However, be careful to make sure that you actually travel as intended, or at least don’t book and cancel too often. Not all loyalty programs care, but Bengali Miles Guru recently found out that Mileage Plan is one that does.
US Airways — 100% Bonus (1.88 CPM)
Dividend Miles is offering a flat 100% bonus no matter how many miles you purchase, bringing down the final price to 1.88 cents each. The expiration is unclear but likely through the end of February. The transaction limit is 50,000 miles, so you will get a total of 100,000 Dividend miles. (HT to Pizza in Motion)
US Airways has had similar promotions in the past and typically does something at least once a month. But we are getting close to the end of US Airways’ time in Star Alliance and I’m not sure how their attitude will change once they join oneworld even though they will still be operating as a separate carrier for a while.
The big catch here is that you need to be a US Airways credit cardholder to be targeted for the promotion, and you must also pay with that credit card. Between those restrictions and the fact some may be reaching a saturation point in buying yet more Dividend miles, I don’t see myself recommending this promotion. However… these miles can be used to book award travel on American Airlines and will likely merge with AAdvantage at some point. It is much cheaper to purchase miles from US Airways than from American Airlines.