Through August 31, 2016, American is offering up to 85,000 bonus miles when you purchase AAdvantage miles.
The bonus miles are tiered, and based on how many you purchase, as follows:
- Buy 15,000-29,000 miles, get 3,500 bonus miles
- Buy 30,000-49,000 miles, get 10,000 bonus miles
- Buy 50,000-74,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles
- Buy 75,000-99,000 miles, get 40,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000-149,000 miles, get 55,000 bonus miles
- Buy 150,000 miles, get 85,000 bonus miles
To achieve the lowest cost on a per mile basis you’ll want to purchase exactly 150,000 miles. If you did that, you’d receive a total of 235,000 miles at a cost of $4,786.88, which is a cost of ~2.04 cents per mile.
It’s worth noting that American’s previous bonus on purchased miles expired a few days ago, and through that promotion they were offering their best rate on purchased miles ever (as low as ~1.72 cents per mile).
As usual, AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible to purchase miles. Furthermore, there’s a cap of purchasing 150,000 AAdvantage miles per account per calendar year (pre-bonus).
Is it a good deal?
With American’s recent devaluation, my valuation of AAdvantage miles has decreased from ~1.8 cents to ~1.5 cents each. It’s international first class award redemptions which went up in price most, with awards increasing in price by up to ~70% in some instances.
Meanwhile the cost of most business class awards increased as well, though not nearly as drastically. As a reminder, here’s the cost of first and business class awards originating in the US under the new program:
|Contiguous 48 U.S. To:||Business Class||First Class|
|Contiguous 48 U.S. States||25,000||50,000|
|Canada & Alaska||30,000||55,000|
|South America Zone 1||30,000||55,000|
|South America Zone 2||57,500||85,000|
|Middle East / India||70,000||115,000|
|Asia Zone 1||60,000||80,000|
|Asia Zone 2||70,000||110,000|
Qatar Airways business class continues to be a great use of American miles
I find the cost of business class redemptions to still be reasonable in most cases. There are certainly instances where it could make sense to pick up miles for ~2.04 cents each with an immediate use in mind, though I’m also confident we’ll see a better offer on purchased miles again sometime in the not too distant future.
Which credit card should you buy miles with?
As of last year, American processes mileage purchases directly (rather than through points.com), which means the purchase of miles does qualify as airfare spend. Therefore you’ll want to consider using one of the following cards for your purchase, since they offer the following bonus miles for airfare spend:
|Card||Points earned on airfare spend|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent|
|American Express® Gold Card||3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®||2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases|
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®||2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®||2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases|
|American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card||2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases|
Redeem American miles for Finnair’s new business class
On a per mile basis, AAdvantage miles were significantly more valuable before the devaluation. This promotion is certainly better than nothing, and buying miles for around two cents each could represent a very good deal. However, we’ve seen better deals on purchased miles in the past, so if you don’t have an immediate use in mind I wouldn’t take advantage of this offer. American is almost always offering bonuses on purchased miles nowadays, so I’d say this is basically the “normal” price.
If you are looking to buy miles, keep in mind that American allows five day award holds (meaning you can hold an award ticket, purchase miles, and then ticket the reservation). This promotion is valid for nearly a month, so you have a lot of time to decide whether or not you want to take advantage of it.