Right now there are two loyalty programs offering a bonus on purchased points or miles. These are not new deals but will be expiring soon.
American Airlines is offering both a discount and bonus miles if you purchase between now and Monday, July 13. You’ll get a 15% discount on the purchase price and a tiered bonus, depending on how many miles you buy.
Looking at the cost at a per point basis, here’s how that works out:
1,000 + 0 bonus = 1,000 for $25.08 = 2.50 cents per mile
15,000 + 0 bonus = 15,000 for $376.13 = 2.50 cents per mile
16,000 + 5,000 bonus = 21,000 for $401.20 = 1.91 cents per mile
30,000 + 5,000 bonus = 35,000 for $752.25 = 2.14 cents per mile
31,000 + 10,000 bonus = 41,000 for $777.33 = 1.89 cents per mile
45,000 + 10,000 bonus = 55,000 for $1128.38 = 2.05 cents per mile
46,000 + 15,000 bonus = 66,000 for $1153.45 = 1.74 cents per mile
60,000 + 15,000 bonus = 75,000 for $1504.50 = 2.00 cents per mile
61,000 + 20,000 bonus = 81,000 for $1529.58 = 1.88 cents per mile
75,000 + 20,000 bonus = 95,000 for $1880.63 = 1.97 cents per mile
76,000 + 27,500 bonus = 103,500 for $1905.70 = 1.84 cents per mile
100,000 + 27,500 bonus = 127,500 for $2507.50 = 1.96 cents per mile
(These prices do not include applicable taxes or a $30 processing fee.)
So the sweet spot – where you’d pay the least per mile – is at the 46,000 mile level.
You may purchase up to 100,000 miles in a calendar year.
Is this a good deal? Actually, it can be! As usual, I defer to Ben of One Mile At A Time and Brian, The Points Guy as to the current value of points and miles. Ben has AA miles valued at 1.8 cents apiece while Brian values them at 1.7 cents each. So if you buy 46,000 miles and get the 15,000 bonus miles you’ll be spot-on. If you only need a few miles to top off your account, it’s not a really great deal – unless you’re going to get more than 2.5 cents of value from the award ticket you’ll get.
Meanwhile, Hilton is offering a 25% discount when you purchase their points from now through Wednesday, July 15. The discount brings the price to 0.75 cents per point (plus applicable taxes and fees). It’s interesting that the website allows the user to choose to buy 80,000 points, but the terms and conditions state that an HHonors member may only buy 40,000 points in a calendar year.
Is this a good deal? Not really. Ben values HHonors points at 0.4 cents apiece and Brian values them at 0.5 cents each. But if you need just a few points to top off an award, it may be the route to go.