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Should I "Buy" or "Share" Frequent Flyer Miles?

Should I "Buy" or "Share" Frequent Flyer Miles?

Mar 7th, 2005, 09:38 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2003
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Should I "Buy" or "Share" Frequent Flyer Miles?

Trying to decide whether to "buy" miles or "share" miles with my husband on AA. Cost to "buy" the 15,000 miles I need is $400 (including the $25 fee). Cost to "share" is $175 (including the $25 fee). But with "buy" I have 15,000 more miles between the two accounts than "with" share. Is there a rule of thumb for how much to pay for frequent flyer miles? I thought I read somewhere like 1 cent per mile because a domestic coach ticket costs 25,000 miles, the same as $250 coast to coast ticket and Europe or Japan ticket costs 60,000 miles, the same as a $600 international ticket, if you bought it. Between the two of us we have enough for the 2 tickets we have on hold, but he doesn't have enough in his account alone.
laurie_ann is offline  
Mar 7th, 2005, 09:50 AM
  #2  
 
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Where are you flying to and how much does the ticket cost if you buy it outright? It's seldom a good idea to "buy" or "share" FF miles, unless you're only 1,000-2,000 short.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 7th, 2005, 11:53 AM
  #3  
 
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I did not think one was allowed to transfer miles from one person's account to another - except for buying a ticket in another person's name. I had a little difficulty following what you were trying to do - so maybe I did not understand.

For example, if person A has 45,000 miles and person B has 5,000 miles, you can not combine them to buy 2 25,000 mile ticket, I believe.
gail is offline  
Mar 7th, 2005, 12:00 PM
  #4  
 
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gail,

You can Share, Gift or Purchase AA miles.

http://www.aa.com/content/AAdvantage/programDetails/purchasingMiles/purchasingMiles.jhtml

You cannot combine miles from different accounts, but in a way Sharing the miles is almost the same except AA will collect some $ before they allow you to do this.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Mar 7th, 2005, 12:42 PM
  #5  
 
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We still don't know the exact detail, but let me explain why this really can't be a good deal.

Say laurie_ann has 45,000 miles right now, but want to go to Japan for 60,000. The cost to "buy" will be her 45,000 miles + $400. But there's also hidden cost. She cannot earn miles on a FF award, and US-Tokyo is easily 12,000 miles roundtrip. If she'd just buy the ticket with cash (say $800-1,000), she will have enough or almost enough for another free trip to Japan; instead of absolutely nothing if she buys her 15,000 miles with $400.

Or just use those 45,000 miles she already has for domestic trips. Better for the money.

But of course, that's assuming she'll continue to travel, and continue to fly AA. If she just wants to cash out all her points and move to another carrier, then it may make a little more sense. Still not a lot, as she can also buy a NW, UA, CO or whatever ticket and earn miles to Japan on those programs.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 7th, 2005, 02:30 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Good analysis by rkkwan. I value miles in my FF account at 1.5 cents each. If the cost to acquire them is much more than that, then I wouldn't consider it an especially good deal. (Of course, the last mile that puts you over the top for an award redemption can arguably be worth a bit more than the first mile banked.) The point about not earning miles on award tickets is a good one to remember, too.
Flyboy is offline  
Mar 7th, 2005, 02:32 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,154
In the situation you describe, you may find the best alternative is to have the LEAST frequent flyer travel on the award ticket and the MOST frequent flyer travel on a paid ticket.
Flyboy is offline  
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