You’ve probably heard of people buying up airline miles in bulk. So, why is that? Some people buy airline miles but aren’t sure if it’s a good deal or not.
Why do people buy airline miles and points?
People usually buy airline miles when:
- they need to top up their points quickly
- they are short of the required miles to book a flight or hotel stay
- when airlines offer points sales and sell miles at a discounted price or with a “get bonus points” deal
There are some instances when you’re so close to having enough points to redeem them for a flight, luxury hotel, or vacation package. If you want to travel soon, it might be best to buy the points you need rather than waiting until you accumulate them with your credit card. As you know, that can take months!
Is it a good idea to buy points?
Usually, the answer is no. Buying points is not a great deal in most cases.
The reason is that airlines sell points at a higher price than the actual value of the points. If you were to redeem the points for a flight or hotel stay, they have a higher value. This means you can usually book a mid-priced or premium hotel or a business or first-class flight with your points. But, if you pay money for the points, you are overpaying. You might be able to find a cheaper flight without using your airline miles.
If you find a cheaper-priced flight, you can sell airline miles.
Here’s an example of why you should not buy miles:
American Airline AAdvantage points are currently worth between 1-1.7 cents. If you want to buy 100,000 miles, you need to spend about $3.200. Sometimes AAdvantage miles are sold with a bonus of 40-60%. Even then, if you get 160.000 miles for $3k, you are overpaying.
Why? Because if you do the math, you are actually paying about 2 cents for each mile, which is more than the market value of a mile.
When to buy miles
In some cases, it is worth buying miles if you can find a good promotion.
Check out 5 instances when it’s a good idea to buy airline miles:
Business and first-class flight tickets
You should buy airline miles if you want to fly first-class or business class.
For example, a first-class roundtrip from the U.S to Japan can cost over $20k. But, if you were to buy the flight using your AAdvantage miles, it costs you roughly 160.000 points. As I mentioned in the example above, it costs about $3.2k to buy those miles. Thus, you are getting an excellent deal because you’re saving over 17k on a first-class flight!