When Earning Airline Miles Beats Earning Interest on Savings When Earning Airline Miles Beats Earning Interest on Savings

When Earning Airline Miles Beats Earning Interest on Savings

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Bask Bank offers a mileage-earning savings account that earns American Airlines AAdvantage® miles as an alternative to earning cash interest. For every dollar you deposit into your Bask Mileage Savings Account, you now earn 2.5 AAdvantage® miles annually, with no cap on the number of miles you can earn each year.

Sign up for a Bask Mileage Savings Account

During the low-interest rate periods of 2020 and 2021, earning AAdvantage® miles on your savings was a no-brainer. However, even with interest rates rising, earning miles instead of cash remains an enticing option. Depending on your situation, keeping your savings in a Bask Mileage Savings Account can be “miles” ahead of holding your savings in a typical cash savings account.

How Many AAdvantage® Miles Can I Earn On My Savings?

Bask Mileage Savings Account accountholders earn 2.5 AAdvantage® miles per dollar saved annually. And there's no cap on how many AAdvantage® miles you can earn. At current earning rates, you would earn 125,000 AAdvantage® miles annually if you deposit $50,000 into a Bask Mileage Savings Account account.

But how does that stack up against earning interest in a typical savings account? Let's take a look.

Is Earning AAdvantage® Miles on Savings Better Than Earning Interest?

Before we dig into the math, remember that each person's state of affairs is different. There may be some situations where earning interest on a CD or on a high-yield savings account will make more sense than earning AAdvantage® miles.

Even with interest rates rising, many banks still aren't paying more than 4% interest. And even at 4% interest, we can make the case for earning miles over interest; we think there are plenty of opportunities to get outsized value from your AAdvantage® miles, and the bonuses on offer present a unique chance to bank a huge number of miles on your savings.

Although the FDIC calculated national average savings account APY is 0.42% (effective as of June 20, 2023), we’ll use a 4% APY savings account as a hypothetical to show the potential value in earning AAdvantage® miles as opposed to a high-interest rate account.

If you deposited $50,000 dollars for 12 months, you would earn:

Valuing AAdvantage® miles

To get an accurate read on whether it’s better to earn AAdvantage® miles or interest, we need to assign a value to AAdvantage® miles. AAdvantage® miles are commonly valued at between 1.4-1.6 cents per mile. However, we see that as the base value you should aim for rather than a set valuation.

As we show in the section below, it’s not hard to leverage AAdvantage® miles for better than 2¢ per mile in value. But, for calculation purposes, we’re going to value AAdvantage® miles at 1.6¢ each, meaning the 125,000 miles earned on your $50,000 deposit would be worth roughly $2,000.

The tax impact

Taxes are another important consideration. With a traditional savings account, your bank will issue a Form 1099 for the value of interest earned. At 4% APY on a $50,000 balance, you’d earn $2,000 in interest — which is fully subject to taxes.

Bask Bank will also issue a 1099 tax form for the value of AAdvantage® miles earned. According to Bask Bank: “Miles are currently valued at 0.42 cents per mile.”

Bask Bank statement on AAdvantage miles being taxable

While this value is subject to change, we’ll use that number for our comparison to the cost of earning traditional interest.

If you earn 125,000 AAdvantage® miles in your first year, you'd owe tax on $525 in income. Remember, you still need to factor in your tax bracket to determine the amount you actually owe the IRS. The amount reported on your Form 1099-INT tax form is the additional income on which you owe tax — not the amount you will need to pay.

Running the numbers

Now that we have the pieces, let's walk through the after-tax value of earning cash interest vs. AAdvantage® miles for this example.

4% APY at a 30% marginal tax rate:

  • 4% interest on $50,000 is $2,000 (taxable income)
  • 30% of $2,000 is $600 (the amount you owe the IRS)
  • Your net gain is $1,400 ($2,000 – $600)

Bask Mileage Savings Account at a 30% marginal tax rate:

  • 125,000 AAdvantage® miles are valued at $525 (taxable income)
  • 30% of $525 is $157.50 (the amount you owe the IRS)
  • 125,000 AAdvantage® miles are worth $2,000 (using our 1.6¢ per mile valuation)
  • Your net gain is $1,842.50 ($2,000 – $157.50)

Comparing the two options, we get:

  • Bask Mileage Savings Account: $1,842.50 (value of miles after deducting taxes)
  • 4% savings: $1,400 (value of earnings minus taxes paid)
  • Difference: $442.50 more after-tax value by earning AAdvantage® miles

The argument for earning AAdvantage® miles is even stronger if you can redeem AAdvantage® miles for more than 1.6¢ each or if you have a marginal tax rate of more than 30%.

On the other hand, you may prefer to earn cash interest if your tax rate is much lower or you aren't confident that you can redeem AAdvantage® miles for much value.

Here's a comparison of earning AAdvantage® miles vs. cash interest for a variety of mileage valuations and tax rate combinations.


Get Outsized Value From Your AAdvantage® Miles

There are plenty of redemption options fetching better than 2¢ per mile — even when redeeming economy awards. Here are a few examples to demonstrate the kind of returns you can expect from your miles if you leverage American Airlines sweet spots, deals, or find the right routing and cabin class combinations.

Round-trip Los Angeles to Buenos Aires in economy (2.15¢ per mile)

Google Flights data on LAX-EZE flight price history with American Airlines
Credit: Google Flights

screenshot of American Airlines trip itinerary from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires costing 40,000 AA miles

Using American Airlines' calendar function, you can find round-trip economy awards from Los Angeles (LAX) to Buenos Aires (EZE) for 40,000 AAdvantage® miles, plus a reasonable $104.95 in taxes. The cheapest cash alternative on these dates costs $966, returning a value of 2.15¢ per mile ($966 – $104.95 in taxes = $825.45; $825.45 / 40,000 miles = 2.15¢ per mile).

Lest you worry that this discounted award ticket will book you into American Airlines Basic Economy, which comes with numerous restrictions, it won't. You'll be in Main Cabin, which offers the regular perks of choosing a seat and getting one free checked bag per passenger. Since American Airlines permanently eliminated fees to redeposit miles when canceling an AAdvantage award, it makes more sense to book award tickets.

One-way Sydney to Atlanta in economy (3.03¢ per mile)

Google Flights pricing for AA flights from Sydney to Atlanta one way in economy
Credit: Google Flights

AA award price for SYD-ATL

American typically charges the same miles for both the outbound and return legs of your journey, but there are times when booking a round-trip flight might (not always) provide a discount. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for revenue fares, with one-way flights often dramatically more expensive when you pay cash.

In the example above, flying from from Sydney to Atlanta will set you back 40,000 AAdvantage® miles, plus $85.45 in taxes. The cheapest cash alternative flight is $1,296, returning 2.8¢ per mile on an economy award ($1,296 – $85.45 in taxes = $1,210.55; $1,210.55 / 40,000 miles = 3.03¢ per mile).

Round-trip Miami to Vail in economy (4.19¢ per mile)

cash prices for Miami-Vail round trip
Credit: Google Flights

AA award price for MIA-EGE round trip

You can find fantastic value with AA miles, even on domestic awards. The example above shows a round-trip from Miami, Florida (MIA) to Vail, Colorado (EGE) for 15,000 miles plus $11.20 round-trip. This is during the middle of ski season, and the cheapest cash flight costs $639, giving you a return of 2.9¢ per mile ($639 – $11.20 in taxes = $627.80; $628.80 / 15,000 miles = 4.19¢ per mile). And this hot deal is during ski season.

International premium award: One-way Tokyo to Los Angeles in business class (7.1¢ per mile)

AA award price for JAL business class flight from Tokyo to San Francisco

We’ve saved this redemption for last, as we think it best highlights the benefits of earning miles over interest. Flying one-way from Tokyo to Los Angeles in business class could cost you 60,000 miles plus $45.25 in taxes. That's the exact number of miles you will earn by maintaining a $24,000 balance in your Bask Mileage Savings Account for 12 months — assuming no further changes to the earning rate.

To buy the same itinerary at the market rate would cost $4,295 or $4,401, depending on which of Tokyo's airports you fly from. Assuming the lower price ($4,295), this award booking provides a return of 7.35¢ per mile ($4,295 – $45.25 in taxes = $4,249.75; $4,249.75 / 60,000 miles = 7.1¢ per mile).

cash price for JAL business class flight from Tokyo to San Francisco
Credit: Google Flights

If you earn 4% interest on your $24K deposit, your net gain after taxes would be around $672. Would you rather escape economy for nearly 10 hours of flight time and experience one of the top business-class products in the world, or would you rather earn $672 cash?

How much do you value business class?

If you’re comparing the retail value of business class, things can get out of hand pretty quickly — especially with long-haul international flights. In some cases, it makes sense to use the price that you might actually consider paying for business or first class, rather than the cash value of the ticket.

For example, if a flight costs $6,000+ to purchase in business class, you might use a value closer to $2,500 if that's what you would actually consider paying to fly business class. Or consider the cost of an economy flight on that route if you wouldn't actually pay for a business-class ticket in cash.

Final Thoughts

Opening a Bask Mileage Savings Account is a great way to supplement your primary miles-earning strategies. If you park a significant chunk of savings into a mileage-earning account, you could potentially earn enough miles to fly long-haul international business class. That's much better return on your funds than earning interest in our books.

Terms & Disclosures:
Bask Bank is a division of Texas Capital Bank. Member FDIC. The sum of your total deposits with (i) Bask Bank and (ii) Texas Capital Bank are insured up to $250,000. Additional coverage may be available depending on how your assets are held.
The annual percentage yield is effective as of Monday, June 12, 2023. Rate is variable and subject to change after account opening. There are no monthly account fees. If an account remains unfunded for fifteen (15) days, we reserve the right to close that account. Read Terms and Disclosures here.

AAdvantage® bonus miles are awarded within 10 business days upon meeting offer qualifications and may take 6 to 8 weeks to post to your AAdvantage® account. The value of this bonus offer will be reported to the IRS, and the recipient is responsible for any federal, state or local taxes on this offer.
American Airlines reserves the right to change the AAdvantage® program and its terms and conditions at any time without notice and to end the AAdvantage® program with six months notice. Any such changes may affect your ability to use the awards or mileage credits that you have accumulated. Unless specified, AAdvantage® miles earned through this promotion/offer do not count toward elite-status qualification or AAdvantage® Million Miler™ status. American Airlines is not responsible for products or services offered by other participating companies. For complete details about the AAdvantage® program, visit aa.com/aadvantage.

5 / 5 - (6 votes)
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  • But if the “valuable uses” are unicorn award rates that are nearly impossible to take advantage of, then they aren’t very useful… In actuality, everything in the subsection, “Get Outsized Value From Your AAdvantage Miles” should be in a separate post as it is a different discussion entirely.

    If AwardWallet values AA miles at 1.6 cents/mile, that is the value that should be used in the analysis (along with any necessary devaluation over the next year), not a cherry-picked, outsized redemption. If you want to use a speculative redemption rate, then the cash comparison should be against an equally speculative investment; say common stock, for example, that could earn well in excess of 4% interest… I’d also point out that the cash interest rate you are using is a bit low, as Bask Bank’s interest-earning account is currently at 4.65%.

    • JT Genter says:

      Certainly not going to dive into investment allocation strategy in the comments section 🙂 But cash savings accounts serve an entirely different purpose from investments.

      With award redemptions, you do get to cherry-pick! Am I going to pay 450k AA miles for a business class flight to Japan? Heck no. Am I going to if there’s award availability for 60k? Yep!

      Regarding the valuation, I regularly get more than 1.6 cents per AA mile on simple domestic redemptions (such as Seattle to Austin in a couple of weeks) and awards that don’t touch the U.S. (e.g. Sapporo, Japan to Cairo, Egypt for 40k AA in biz). But those examples will feel a lot more niche than pointing to a more generally appealing business class saver award option to Japan.

  • The redemption fare you used that “best highlights the benefits of earning miles” is highly misleading. You are using a fare of 60k miles one way from TYO to SFO on May 19th 2024. Although it is true that AA does have that low fare, it is extremely rare. In fact, between today and 5/19/24 there are only 4 days out of the 316 that have a 60k fare. Furthermore, the next lowest fares are nowhere near 60k. For example, in May of 2024, the average business class fare, excluding the 60k anomaly, is 268k, and the average of the LOWEST fare for every month between now and then (excluding the 4 days that it is 60k) is 205k.

    • JT Genter says:

      Indeed, AA can charge incredibly high award rates for award tickets on its own flights. Even worse, these are constantly changing — usually within the same day. So, I focused on the valuable uses where there isn’t pricing variability.

  • Value comparison overlooks power of compounding interest

  • Thank you for the analysis! Now to convince my better half to let me open an account with a small amount. I’d be happy to deposit $5000, get the 1000 mile opening bonus and get just 5000 miles a year – I can play the long game and wait for 5K a year to add up.

  • The post above suggest the miles are taxable. Does bask bank 1099?

    • Yes they do. Bask currently values AAdvantage miles at 0.42 cents per mile – which was roughly the rate that miles could be cashed out for gift cards through points.com (although that option is currently “temporarily suspended”)

  • Right now I think I’d rather earn cash, but may revisit once we’re on the other side of this pandemic. Thanks.

  • Seems like a lot of hassle just to get a modest amount of miles. Probably makes sense for most people to stick with credit card SUBs.

  • ron_vaughn@hotmail.com says:

    One nice thing about the Bask Bank is that you can use your savings for a set target and then go to a tiny balance. And it’s getting pretty hard to find 2% for a savings account these days.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I’ve taken the time to look this deal over, and it seems to be a very workable option. I just need some more friends to refer! It is not always necessary to incur a large cash expenditure to realize good point acquisition.

  • This is an interesting offer. I’m not sure if I am keen to leaving the high balances in the account in order to get the points. I suppose it is an option instead of interest.

  • I agree that it’s possible to get some great value out of miles, but in my experience I need to wait quite a while before I can get a great deal. I waited several years before I was able to turn AA miles into a family trip to Japan on JAL, at a rate of 1.5 cents per mile. I was very happy, but I sat on those miles for a long time, and until I booked the flights I didn’t really see any value. Cash would have been preferred, since it is immediate and there’s no risk of missing out.

    • I am sorry to hear that. How many people were in your group? Prob for one is easy. 70k on CX biz for me was awesome. If I want will I go to do economy I would have enough for multiple r/t economy. I also wasn’t limited to traveling during peak travel esp when student are on break.

      1.5 cents per mile is quite low. Was that economy? transfered to book partner or booked on AA metal?

  • Interesting analysis but I’d still prefer cash where I am not locked in as to where to spend. However, I can see where this has a use for some based upon their goals.

  • If more and more banks go this way, it’ll get noticed. And when the 1099INT hits the fan…?

    • This has been standard for bank accounts for a long time. Those that offer cash bonuses ($200 when you open a new account) also issue 1099s. Don’t forget that we have one of the worlds most powerful lobby groups on our side with preventing credit card points from becoming subject to 1099s.

  • I tried to apply but receive the following message after entering my name, SSN, DoB, and mailing address (and yes, there’s a typo in their message) —

    “Based on the information provided, we are unable to verify your identify and cannot open a Bask Savings Account for you at this time.
    Ref Code – RC060”

    Has anyone else encountered the same?

    • Hey I got the exact same message! First, try using a different email address. They do some verification on the email, and that was part of the problem with my application. In the end, I called Bask customer service and was pleasantly surprised with how quickly the agent was able to resolve the issue and get my account opened.

    • It turned out that they needed to see my driver’s license. My account was manually approved over the phone after I sent them my driver’s license (photo) over email.

  • Karthikeyan Chidambaram says:

    I have opened bask bank account this month, just parked 3k bucks over there and hopefully will cash out once sign up bonus and feedback bonus got credited.

  • I would still prefer to earn cash rather than miles if I don’t have a plan for travel in near future.

  • Theses deals are awesome For those that don’t want to spend to chase points.


    Hey Erik,
    Checked first image and second image. Nowhere do I see it mention FDIC insured! However, it is mentioned in the second paragraph under Final Thoughts and also under Balance bonuses (earlier in the review).
    Value of .42 cents a mile is .42 cents per mile. On 50,000 miles that comes to $2100 more on the tax return.
    Still, it is a way to earn miles; if those terms are worth it to whoever is putting money into this bank.

    • Hey Charles, sorry for the confusion, but the good news is that you’re off by a factor of ten on the taxes! 0.42 cents (not 0.42 dollars per mile) = $0.0042. On 50,000 miles that comes to $210 more on your tax return. 🙂

  • “For every dollar you deposit into your Bask Savings Account, you earn one AAdvantage® mile annually.” Can you explain what happens in year 2 with existing deposits? For example, if there is $50,000 in the account when year 2 rolls around (having been deposited in year 1 as part of this promotion), will another 50K miles awarded? Or does Bask only reward new deposits?

    • Hey Michelle, outside the bonus miles currently on offer, Bask awards miles monthly based on your daily average balance. You can find more in their FAQ on Earning miles.

      For example, if the account’s average monthly balance for January is $60K, you will earn 5,096 AAdvantage® miles for that month ($60K ÷ 365 × 31). If that same balance is maintained in February, you will earn 4,603 AAdvantage® miles. After one year of maintaining an average balance of $60,000, the customer will have earned 60,000 AAdvantage® miles.


    Are your deposited funds FDIC insured by this bank? No mention. Also, no mention if at the end of the year, will the bank report these miles (their equivalent value) as income to the IRS and we will have to put that on our income tax for the year? People need to check everything before investing their money.

    • Hey Charles, the accounts are FDIC insured (mentioned right above the first image), and there is a section in the post on 1099/tax implications.

      Bask Bank will also issue a 1099 tax form for the value of AAdvantage® miles earned. According to Bask Bank’s terms and conditions, “Miles are currently valued at 0.42 cents per mile, the equivalent of 0.42% annual percentage yield.”

  • Not sure I buy the argument, but thanks!

  • This could be a great offer. Does it extend American’s 18 month expiration date on miles? And why is AA the only major airline that still has an expiration date on miles?

  • I didn’t know people are having to pay taxes on airline miles? Is this going to start happening on credit card sign up bonuses as well???

    • Not very likely that we’ll see any changes with CC bonuses. Bonus points earned on cards are a rebate on spending, which is treated differently by the IRS. Since there isn’t any spending you need to do to earn this bonus (or to earn interest on savings) most bank accounts fall into 1099 territory.

    • Not on signup bonus. You will get a 1099 for cc referal if it is over a certain amount. This one is unique because of how it was setup.

  • I did this once with Citi bank account for 50k AA miles…good times!

  • Very interesting option to earn miles and very good analysis. I guess all of us could understand thar miles value vary from person to person, not only for each one routes, but because of the essence and natural difference in each person’s view of life. Congratulations on the timely and thought-provoking article.

  • Edward Monrad says:

    Interesting analysis but overly optimistic in my opinion. I prefer to use a lower miles valuation to take into account the extreme inflexibility of travel dates when booking with miles/points; if you need to be somewhere on a specific date it’s often impossible to make points work in my experience.
    Thanks for the tip about the booking services though, will have a look.

  • IMO earning airlines miles barely beats a 2% interest return, so there’s really not much loss if one goes for 2% savings.

  • I agree! I can get much more value from miles.

  • I wish I had 50K I could just leave in a bank to get miles,. I think for most of us that isnt really an option.

    • SaversDelight says:

      The only way you are going to be able to save 50k is to spend less than you make and keep to a written budget that accounts for all of your dollars earned. It’s not impossible but most people are unwilling to do what it takes to spend less than they earn. Which means they will never get to a point of financial independence

    • Yeah it doesn’t seem like they’re catering to the right market. The people interested in this don’t have $50k sitting around and those that have $50k in “disposable” savings like that probably have it invested in the stock market earning >10% returns.

  • Your analysis shows that this savings account is a good deal. I just have trouble with getting over having to pay marginal income tax on depreciating airline miles.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    This is a different strategy that certainly bears looking into. I was sold at the mention of flying business class, which is a perk I don’t always achieve.

  • Interesting but I think I’ll stick to cash. I do like flexibility and the miles of one particular airline are not as flexible as I like.

    However, I’m sure there are people who can use this strategy to their advantage.

  • I completely agree. If you are able to afford it then why not put some money away to earn AA miles as interest? It’s easy. I’ve already done it. They are surprisingly fast with crediting the bonus miles.

    • Maybe because the opportunity cost is outright greater than the value you receive in miles which also happen to locked in to a specific program and are constantly subject to devaluation.

  • I like how you made the important point that if you’d never pay $6k for a biz class ticket, using the miles for it doesn’t really present $6k in value/income to you….

  • Frequent devaluations, and very little award availability factors should be considered.

  • I appreciate you doing the legwork on this. After seeing your breakdown, it’s now something I would consider since I’ve recently come into some money and I’m low on AA miles. Thanks!

  • Wow. This is disingenuous at best. I routinely get 4+ cpm out of AA miles (my current average is 5.63 cpm), but even I know 2% cash is better. Airline miles are totally controlled by the airline, can be devalued at any time, can be taken away from you if they so desire (see the recent & growing AA fiasco), etc. More importantly, very few people are going to be able to really get that kind of value out of the AA miles. My average is brought up by international premium awards. Domestic economy awards are almost always 1.4 cpm or less.

    You wrote this article to get referral bonuses when people sign up for these Bask accounts, plain and simple. You weren’t terribly worried about being honest, helping people find what’s best for them, or anything else. You’re simply pushing them towards the product that brings you the most money.

    And in case there’s any doubt that’s the case, Erik was kind enough to prove it by trying to upsell the previous commenter on your award booking service.

    Come on. Have a little integrity, people.

    • I’m sorry you feel that way, Bob. You’re right that miles risk devaluation, but I can’t see any logic in taking 2% over 5.63 CPM unless you have far more AA miles than you can use.

      We rigorously vet partners and their offers, and we only promote products and services that we think will have value for our readers. You may disagree and (as long as you keep the conversation civil) we’ll publish comments that offer an alternative perspective.

      AwardWallet promotes many products and covers many topics that don’t earn an affiliate commission. When you support AwardWallet by using an affiliate link, you give us the resources to invest in a great free product and to continue producing content that helps folks get more value from rewards programs. We appreciate you all very much.

      • The previous reply was for another commnet.

        If you are in the miles and points game, we all know it is becoming more difficult, and requires more knowledge and effort. However, we also now have more resources to help. Not getting it, due not no availability is definitely becoming more obvious, However, I will reemphasize, it is to each person own how how they value their travel.

  • Great breakdown. It will be interesting to see if very many do this and what their overall experience is. It is always nice to have another way to earn miles.

  • Fully agree with this part: “it makes sense to use the price that you might actually consider paying for Business or First Class, rather than the cash value of the ticket. For example, if a flight costs $6,000+ to purchase in Business Class, you might use a value closer to $2,500 if you would never consider paying that much to fly Business Class.”

    • Truth. Just because you book an award for 10 cents per point doesn’t mean that’s the value you’re getting.

      It’s kind of like cruise lines or men’s warehouse suit running a buy one get one free. The initial price is the full price no one ever pays to make you think you’re saving a ton but in reality it’s not much cheaper than the normal, non-sale price.

      • Great to see these ‘miles instead of interest’ accounts are getting attention. We’re Australian based but buy AA miles whenever the deal is good (Black Friday for instance) – as we get outsized value with minimal fees when we use them for premium awards (Qsuites for 18 hours 30 minutes from Auckland to Doha and then another 8 hours to Dublin – best redemption ever for 85,000 miles). Much better value and lower fees than using Qantas – however, with abysmal interest in Australia (in many different ways), we have parked $50K in a points earning account – something like 0.5 of a percent of interest and 1660 Qantas points per month. Keeps all our Qantas miles safely valid too.

  • These calculations are significantly off base.
    The major, major flaw i see is the value assigned to AA miles. It is very rare, in my travel experience, to be able to get an award at more than 1-1.2c/mile. They may be available at times on domestic travel , but they require non direct flights or the most extreme departure or arrival times on either end. The typical “direct” flights at “good times” are priced at 1c/mi or less.
    People willing to park 50k in a bank account for a year are not going to travel with red eye flights.

    Similarly, flying to europe or anywhere else, i am not going to do 2 connections and waste another 5 hrs in travel if a 1 stop connection is available for 20k miles or $300 more, which is frequently the case.

    Lastly, miles devalue all the time. Even if the above were true, which it is rarely the case, your hard earned 100k miles can devalue to the point of being worth 2/3 of current value.

    Bank direct used to have this same deal but did not send you an 1099 on value of miles earned.

    Better off earning 2% cash interest and investing. my 2 c

    • Hey Robert, thanks for the feedback. We get that not everyone will value miles the same way, and that’s why we come right out and say this isn’t for you if you’re getting less than 1.4 cents per AA mile. That said, I’d highly recommend looking at a booking service next time you want to redeem miles for business class. I consistently find good itineraries at the mile saver level and have gotten 2.5-3 cents per AA point over the last 2 years (without having to settle for extra connections or awkward layovers in most cases).

      You can request a ticket by clicking Bookings at the top of your AwardWallet account. With most booking services (including the one through AW) you won’t pay unless the booking folks find something that meets your requirements.

      • Agreed. It is not hard to find significant “value” when redeeming AA miles, particularly if one is interested in premium cabin travel. As with anything though, it’s good to have a diverse portfolio, and miles-earning vs. $-earning savings accounts are no different. Personally, I’m glad to have the option, even if it is 1099-ed.

      • Again, the best use for the miles is intercontinental premium cabin awards.

    • Great comment. I completely agree. The value assigned to AA miles here is overestimated

      • To be true. Neither of the value is right or wrong or under or over value, There are so many of us to use it in so many ways, and so many variation. The writer is using the current market estimated value. It can go either way regardless how you calculate it. With both pricing and award going dynamic, it can be even higher or lower.

        AA can also be use to book CX biz flights NYC to Asia 2. at 70k O/W. I am gestimating the cash fare at $2500 -$3000. To me that is a awesome value What is it to you.

        Lets remember, it is very clear that generally speaking doing miles/points are most beneficial for premium tickets. It may not always be tbe case. The writer actually wrote a very good article giving variation of calculation, and also pointed out on it all depends on you yourself to determine. His example helped me even evaluate it better.

        My best example for everyone is I put 1 cent as the base line, and I use it for long haul biz flights. Flying biz to me add additional personal value.
        In Sept last year, an attempt to find cash fare to BCN and MAD was impossible high. $1200 one way direct (in google flights it is listed as economy flights) with AA DL and UA. I find that odd, it was same all across the board. BA pilot is on strike. So I went one to check award ticket. I am 99% sure there is a glitch and sometime is off.
        Time to check award ticket. There is is 30k direct flight AA and UA economy. Then on their own side when I switch to cash fare, it state no ticket available in economy, only lowest available cash fare is $1200, which is when I notice they were only selling or pushing for Premium Economy seat.

        So at that time, if I had flew economy one way direct, $1200-fee at around $6/30000 = .039 cents a mile. So again. Depending on when you use it and what is being priced

    • Well said. The demographic is way off base. Anyone able to park $50,000 in a no-interest bank account doesn’t care about 75,000 AA miles and will not be taking redeye flights or buttcrack-of-dawn flights.

      • Not entirely true, but I agree it holds for many. Some are able to park that much because they are willing to save with miles and redeye flights.

      • I’d just chime in to say that very frequently wealthy folks are wealthy by virtue of the very fact that they pinch pennies. You’d be surprised at the sacrifices they make to achieve their wealth. Many would most certainly care about the 75K or take those “harsh” times.

  • Very interesting analysis!