Buying Miles vs. earning them ?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by bj501, Feb 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. I am still feeling my way along so thought more experienced milers would offer some insight.

    I am trying to build up my AA acct. towards my prize of lifetime status. I have a ways to go
    and have been doing it mostly with my bankdirect account balance which earns me about
    20K a month. A friend of mine who runs a charity has over 4 million miles and offered me as much as I want for about a penny a mile. The payment would be a donation to the charity. I could always use them for flights so going to waste is
    not an issue.

    If the cost wasn't an issue, any thoughts on getting a couple of hundred thousand ?
     
  2. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Well considering there is a cap (100,000) on how many miles you can transfer from your friends account to your account within a year, I'm not sure that's a good investment/strategy? Also, are you planning on paying the transfer fee, or are you actually buying the miles from him? That would break the rules of the program and if caught you might find yourself starting from square one.

    Generally speaking I've found most offers to buy miles through AA.com, the Miles Multipler, etc... to be bad deals. I tend to earn mine through credit card offers, credit/debit spending, some dining, and good old fashion flying.
     
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  3. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    Transferring miles or buying miles can make sense if you need more to purchase an award. Most don't think it makes sense to achieve million mile status. As DestinationDavid has pointed out, if you only paid the penny a mile transfer fee, it wouldn't do the charity any good. You could pay the transfer cost and make a contribution to the charity, but that would drive the cost up to two cents per mile or more, and most wouldn't do that. But you have to decide if it is worth it to you.
     
  4. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    A penny a mile is a great price, if (as others have said) that's the actual cost.

    I usually try not to spend more then 2c/mile, but will sometimes pay 2.5c, which isn't great, but it's still worth it when using miles for international F (or even J). Buying miles to achieve lifetime status is a trickier issue, because it's harder to quantify the value, and there is always a risk that the rules will change as to which miles count. How close you are may also make a difference.
     
  5. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    I will not do a pure mileage run unless the RDM are under one cent per mile. Did one in December where I got 7500 miles for zero cost. That was probably my best ever, but the DAL promo in 2006 netted me 75,000 miles for about $500.
     
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  6. buschoi
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    buschoi Gold Member

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    Have you opened the AA credit cards yet? That's easy 150K miles at a minimum.
    Then you use the cards to buy things and earn miles from the transactions.
     
  7. rdp

    rdp Active Member

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  8. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I went to the bank direct website but everytime I click on anything related to AA miles, all I get is a new account application. Can you shed some light on the bank direct means of earning AA miles?
    good suggestion, after years of being a UA flyer, I think I'm going to the dAArkside in the 2nd half of this year.
    to clarify,

    is it a 100k annual cap on any miles transferred or it is 100k annual cap on miles transferred from a particular source?

    sorry for a newbie question, I don't know much about AA but have an active AA account that I transfer into
     
  9. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    This link may help you.
     
  10. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Is this the 'rule of thumb?' I realize there is no absolute right answer here, as what constitutes a good price is dependent on the value received when one ultimately redeems the miles, but I'm curious what the rule of thumb around these parts is for when it makes sense to 'buy' miles.

    If I have an opportunity to acquire them at a half a penny - does that make it a no brainer?
     
  11. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    For me, it does. I will do pure mileage runs for RDM at any cost under one cent (although I would rather spend some time at the destination if it is interesting). I will use miles instead of buying tickets at any value over 2 cents. In between one and two cents is a judgement call for me.

    Some people will say that they use miles for a flight in F to Europe, that the value they receive is 10 cents per mile or more, but to me the question is - if they didn't have any miles, would they be buying the F ticket? For me, the answer is no.
     
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  12. rdp

    rdp Active Member

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    "Members may transfer up to 100,000 miles and receive up to 100,000 miles per account, per calendar year"
     
  13. I didn't realize purchased miles could count toward lifetime status on AA. My first thread read on MP and I've already learned something new - thanks!
     
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  14. chemist562
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    chemist562 In Memorian

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    I don't usually purchase miles. If I was very close to a difficult intl Biz/F award I'd put on hold, I may buy miles. (a few 1000 miles at most).
     
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  15. milestoburn
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    milestoburn Gold Member

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    sometimes buying miles can be worth while. that said, you need to be mindful of what the miles in your kitty have cost so you do not do something silly with redemptions.
     
  16. flacey8
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    flacey8 Silver Member

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    bj501,

    I think i m in the same boat as you - want lifetime status - but of course i don't have the $$ you have w/ bank direct (i.e. 20K miles per month = $200K in bank direct - if my math is right haha). I agree with most here - the key is how do you value the miles (award) and lifetime status. For me, I would only buy miles if i need the miles for an award tix.
     
  17. Zantaine
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    Zantaine Silver Member

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    A very unorthadox (imo) but effective (for me) way of getting miles is by using my CC's that I get miles with. (For example my XXX card that gives a 1.25 bonus at 20k increments on many airlines) No I'm not talking about things that go jingle or loaning money to organizations all over the world, but using other "means". At the current rates it costs roughly $2000 for 1,000,000 miles (assuming a 1:1 ratio). How long to get the 1,000,000 miles depends on how much credit you have on your CC. (For example a 10k CC limit would take 100 transactions, divided by 12 months in a year would take 8.33 transactions per month, for 1 year - assuming the 1:1 ratio and not a 1:1.25 ratio from XXX which would require 6.25 transactions per month, for a year) Also keep in mind that if your SO has an XXX card you can combine your points and THEN transfer them into miles. (So both my SO and myself have a XXX card each and use my method with the goal of getting me to 2MM first and then we'll get her there)

    (OT but worth mentioning) We also use this method to get the XX companion vouchers via the XX Visa. Yes, taxes and fees on XX are insane for XX awards, but with the right award ticket/destination-WELL worth it.

    While some might balk at the idea of $2000 (or $1750 for 1:1.25) for 1,000,000 AA miles (and the liftetime status you'd inherit if you didn't have it already) it isn't a bad deal at all to me!

    **EDIT** The guide is being posted piece by piece (already started) in the Private forum.
     
  18. monster
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    monster Silver Member

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    I think most people here would love to know how you manage to collect all these miles for .2 cents per mile. The 4 SWUs you get for every million miles (after the first) alone are easily worth that much, not to mention the value of any awards redeemed with the miles.

    So, are you going to share your method?
     
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  19. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    bump.... +1
     
  20. prometheusg
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    prometheusg Silver Member

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    I can't imagine anyone balking at paying $2000 for 1,000,000 miles! I keep reading through your post and keep thinking, "Does he mean $2000 for 100,000 miles? Does he mean $20,000 for 1,000,000 miles?" If it's really 1,000,000 miles for $2,000, I'm extremely interested in how you've managed that!
     
  21. Zantaine
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    Zantaine Silver Member

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    I'm currently writing an extremely detailed guide of how I'm doing this. (LOTS of "gotchas") The next problem I run into is how do you fairly spread the information without killing the deal? I'm following the thread in MP discussing how to share deals but nothing useful has come out of there yet. (imo) I'm very open to ideas because I want to share this with the community without killing it for everyone. (I'd like to hope this is possible)

    Yes, no typo $2,000 for 1,000,000 miles/points with a 1:1 ratio. Well actually $2100-2500 on the 1:1 ratio depending on how you do things the first month.
     
  22. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Like others here, I am eager to hear about this.

    As a recent switcher to AA, I'm actively looking for ways to accumulate points.
     
  23. Travelman
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    Travelman Gold Member

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    ditto here ...
     
  24. Zantaine
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    Zantaine Silver Member

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    I've pretty much finished both guides. One is explicit and the other is in code. (The code is so easy even a caveman could break it) The code is used to prevent searches, but if someone from one of the services in the guide actually read it, they would recognize it right away. As a result, I have to bring up my question from before - how does one share this information without killing the deal for all? Also where should the information be put? In this thread? In the "hidden" thread on MiPo? I'll also say upfront there are ZERO referral's to myself for this deal. :)

    **EDIT** The guide is being posted piece by piece (already started) in the Private forum.
     
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  25. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    I would vote to put it in code here or somewhere public. I do not have access to the hidden thread, though I would understand if you felt the need to keep it there.
     

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