I just got this email, advertising up to 15,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when you purchase American Airlines miles before November 15, 2013.

There have been some incredible deals to buy miles in the last few weeks like the US Airways offer to “buy” miles for 1.13 cents each.

How does this deal compare? Is this a good deal for folks trying to amass American Airlines miles? Are there better ways to generate American Airlines miles?

This deal offers either 4,000, 8,000, or 15,000 bonus miles depending on how many you buy.

The best deals are to buy the minimum number of miles in a tier to get the bonus. That would mean buying 15k + 4k bonus, 30k + 8k bonus, or 50k + 15k bonus.

The largest percentage bonus is buying 50,000 AA miles and getting 15,000 AA miles more. The total cost of those 65,000 AA miles is $1,513.13.

That means that the cheapest deal still works out to a pricey 2.33 cents per mile.

I only value American Airlines miles at 1.77 cents, so I would not buy them speculatively at 2.33 cents each. But there are certainly awards where one can get far more than 2.33 cents of value per American Airlines mile. If you have such an award in mind that you want to book today, this purchase bonus can be a good deal for you.

If you are not ready to book an award today, there are far better ways to collect American Airlines miles.

Citi offers a personal credit card and a business credit card with 50,000 mile sign up bonuses after spending $3k in three months. (Neither is a link I can vouch for personally. I cribbed both from this FlyerTalk thread.)

You can also convert 20k Starpoints to 25k American Airlines miles, so the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express can get you American Airlines miles. The 30k Starpoints you’d have after meeting the $5k minimum spending requirement in the first six months would convert to 35k American Airlines miles.

Finally you can get the US Airways Premier World MasterCard® and its 30,000 bonus US Airways miles on first purchase. US Airways miles and American Airlines miles are separate for the moment, but if the merger of the two carriers proceeds as I expect, they may soon be combined into one program.

There are certainly times when I have bought miles or when a client is a few thousand miles short and needs to buy them. These bonuses the airlines periodically offer are nice in those cases, even if they aren’t a great deal to speculatively load up on miles.

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