AA miles purchase at 2.47 cpm - good?

 
Old Aug 14, 08, 12:17 pm
  #1  
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AA miles purchase at 2.47 cpm - good?

I am not an AA flyer, as you can see from my signature, but I do have an account with minimal miles. I have the opportunity to buy 300,000 AA miles through a charity auction for $7400, or about 2.47 cents per mile. I did notice in a recent AA thread that the new mileage requirements for AA flights will go up on October 1, so that my 300,000 will not purchase 2 anytime business/first tickets, which is my goal.

My AA newbie question is this - in these days of increased travel pricing, an MR that nets out at 2.47 cpm is pretty good, especially since I don't actually have to sit in the seat to earn them. Is the availability of saver awards on AA good enough that I have a reasonable chance of attaining my goal of two business class tix to Europe with my 300K miles, given that I have essentially none in my account to contribute? Dates and destinations are flexible. I saw lots of discussion in other threads that AA is easier than many for redemption, but didn't sift through all the posts to note my specific request for Europe in business at saver levels.

Many thanks!

Last edited by krobbins; Aug 14, 08 at 12:29 pm
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Old Aug 14, 08, 12:47 pm
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If you're unwilling to get the files more cheaply using techniques that don't involve flying (CC flips come to mind) this isn't a bad exchange IMHO.

MR costs are going up. The $7400 might seem cheap compared to doing this by flying enough to get the FF miles esp. if you don't have elite status on AA.

Another thing to consider is if you'd like to achieve lifetime GLD or PLT, as this one purchase is .3MM. From your post I'd say this isn't the case.
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Old Aug 14, 08, 2:38 pm
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No, not really going for another status. It seems like a pretty good deal for the number of miles, and is certainly quicker than trying to fly that many miles on any airline. Support a worthy cause and have the miles in hand without spending the amount of time it would take to earn them or to buy that much stuff on a credit card.

Still wondering about the overall experience any of you frequent AA flyers have with redemption of miles for business class to Europe or Asia. If I'm fully flexible on dates and routes, is it possible to get savers? Ideally, I'd buy both sets of these 300,000 and take my family of four somewhere. Is four on the same itin a ridiculous expectation (it would be on DL, my status airline)? What about two?
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Old Aug 14, 08, 2:41 pm
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or redeem possibly BA trans atlantic....
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Old Aug 14, 08, 2:46 pm
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BA - now that's an idea. We were considering a safari next summer and that might be the way to manage the flights. My husband positively refuses to fly coach that far (or any distance over 2.5 hours) at 6'2 and my son at 6'4 simply doesn't fit in coach anymore.
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Old Aug 14, 08, 3:20 pm
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Originally Posted by krobbins View Post
No, not really going for another status. It seems like a pretty good deal for the number of miles, and is certainly quicker than trying to fly that many miles on any airline. Support a worthy cause and have the miles in hand without spending the amount of time it would take to earn them or to buy that much stuff on a credit card.

Still wondering about the overall experience any of you frequent AA flyers have with redemption of miles for business class to Europe or Asia. If I'm fully flexible on dates and routes, is it possible to get savers? Ideally, I'd buy both sets of these 300,000 and take my family of four somewhere. Is four on the same itin a ridiculous expectation (it would be on DL, my status airline)? What about two?
I don't think I've ever booked anything *but* savers when traveling international in J and F. Some of that I'm sure is realted to being EXP, but if you are as flexible as you say you are I don't see you having too many problems using these miles.

As a reference point, I generally have some specific flexibility (eg, "I can fly out on any Wednesday, Thursday or Friday during the first 2 weeks of June from either XXX or XXX for my flight to IST"), but never carte blanche "I can go anytime between May and September. My bookings are generally for 1 -3 people. Between my SO and siblings, we have redeemed over 4mm AA miles since ~2000. I redeembed about 400k between 1995 and 2000 just for me.
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Old Aug 14, 08, 3:49 pm
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Thanks DillMan - that makes me feel better. While I think the cpm is a pretty good deal, it's not a good deal if I can't use them. Since I'm kind of flexible, it sounds like it might be the way to go.
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Old Aug 14, 08, 4:11 pm
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I'm leaving on Wednesday on two Saver biz class awards from LAX-NBO. I booked 330 days out - so it can take some advance planning!

My redemption value is over $0.09 per mile so buying them at $0.025 is a good deal
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Old Aug 14, 08, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
buying them at $0.025 is a good deal
+1

Depending where / which class one likes to travel, one can get a lot more than $7400 value out of 300k AA miles.
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Old Aug 14, 08, 7:09 pm
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Originally Posted by krobbins View Post
Support a worthy cause...
This here is a crucial point that should not be overlooked. Is the payment tax deductible? I don't really know how this stuff works (and someone will surely chime in) but if you can write off $7400 from your taxes that could be a few thousand dollars and drop the CPM under $.02/mi making it an excellent deal.

My understanding is you'd probably have to consider the fair market value of the miles when making the deduction -- ie it's more like a purchase from a non profit than a donation -- but you should find out.

FWIW - If I had the means and a reasonable sense that I'd be doing some serious flying in the next 12 months I would take this deal. Even if you're an AA newbie, do this, sign up for 3-4 citi cards, get the SPG card and transfer the miles in, and you'll be around halfway to lifetime status. A bit more spending and flying and you're there, it's a nice head start.

And getting better than 2.5 cents a mile on redemptions should be pretty easy. It doesn't even have to be international J/F. If you ever have last minute domestic needs you can beat that as well. All it takes is one $800 fare to visit a sick relative on short notice and you're ahead there as well.
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Old Aug 14, 08, 8:14 pm
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I'd want some assurance that the 300,000 miles will actually end up in my account all at the same time. AA normally restricts buying miles to 40K per account per year. Obviously this is some kind of special deal, but I'd hate to spend the bucks only to find out what I really bought was 40K miles in 7 or 8 different accounts, or 40K miles per year for the next 7 or 8 years.
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Old Aug 14, 08, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by SquareDanceGuy View Post
I'd want some assurance that the 300,000 miles will actually end up in my account all at the same time. AA normally restricts buying miles to 40K per account per year. Obviously this is some kind of special deal, but I'd hate to spend the bucks only to find out what I really bought was 40K miles in 7 or 8 different accounts, or 40K miles per year for the next 7 or 8 years.
possibly someone w/ the miles "donating" them to the auction and "winner" will contact AA account holder to book travel. i have experience with this.

we have 1M miles and don't have as many opportunities to use them as we would like. donating them in this manner is a viable alternative.
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Old Aug 15, 08, 2:49 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Sam - DFW View Post
possibly someone w/ the miles "donating" them to the auction and "winner" will contact AA account holder to book travel. i have experience with this.

we have 1M miles and don't have as many opportunities to use them as we would like. donating them in this manner is a viable alternative.
If this is the case, then that wouldn't seem wise as it violates the terms of the program. It's a risk for the both the person donating them and the person who gets tickets in such a manner.
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Old Aug 15, 08, 6:53 am
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
If this is the case, then that wouldn't seem wise as it violates the terms of the program. It's a risk for the both the person donating them and the person who gets tickets in such a manner.
I'm not sure about that. The violation comes when someone sells miles or exchanges them for something of value right? I need to go read the fine, fine print.

I'm pretty sure you're allowed to donate miles to charities directly -- ie you can donate miles to a hospital that then uses them to fly sick children to get medical care by asking you to book tickets out of their account.

In this particular case, it could be someone who says "I'll fly the highest bidder on your charity auction anywhere that takes 300k miles" and it's a similar case. Note the massive difference here is that the person giving away the miles gets nothing of value in exchange which should be OK and the person "buying" the miles isn't buying them at all, as every single dollar is going to a charity as a donation.

That's one way to look at it, and I think there's some precedent here. I know people have posted about giving away miles tickets to their favorite charity, church, or servicemembers group, so this may be in that category.

There are other likely scenarios too. Anyone can buy miles direct from AA to use as a promo incentive, from cheesmakers on down. Maybe a charity got a favorable rate, to use in this auction or AA donated themselves.

On your point though, I'm not sure and it's worth checking, but I think if I wanted to put two milesaaver tickets up for my church auction, say, and someone bid on them and "paid" for them but the money went to the church and I never saw a dime, I think I'm allowed to do that under AA's TOS. Though I've never asked.
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Old Aug 15, 08, 8:02 am
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I did three business class saver tickets for a trip to Europe this summer. I book the morning the tickets became avaliable, originally going through Cananda to use BA. I later changed the routing when a better one opened and paid the $300.00 change fee (it was worth it for the much better connection).

This year I tried the same, calling the morning the flights opened up for
3 business tickets to Hawaii. No dice, they are only giving out a max of
two business class tickets per flight for next summer no matter the day
you choose. I booked two tickets and will watch and hope for another one
to open up.

I think you buying the miles is a good deal for business class tickets but
only if you can find saver seats and they are getting harder to find.
Book early morning the first day they become avaliable and offer to take
any routing - good luck! ( I have a chance to buy starwood points which
I can convert to AA miles at about .02 per mile and I am planning on doing
that).
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