Through November 28, 2016, American is offering up to 100,000 bonus miles when you purchase AAdvantage miles.
The bonus miles are tiered, and based on how many you purchase, as follows:
- Buy 10,000-24,000 miles, get 2,500 bonus miles
- Buy 25,000-49,000 miles, get 7,500 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 60,000 bonus miles
- Buy 150,000 miles, get 100,000 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 250,000 miles at a cost of $4,786.88, which is a cost of ~1.91 cents per mile.
However, if you don’t want to buy quite that many miles but still want a good cost per mile, you can instead purchase 100,000 miles. Then you’d receive a total of 160,000 miles at a cost of $3,201.25, which is ~2.0 cents per mile. It’s not quite as good, but if it’s closer to the amount you need for an award…
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).
As a point of comparison, in October American had a promotion selling miles for as little as ~2.02 cents each, while in August American had a promotion selling miles for as little as ~2.04 cents each. So this is one of the better promotions we’ve seen lately purely in terms of achieving the lowest cent per mile cost. However, there’s also a big cash outlay required to maximize this promotion.
Is it a good deal?
With American’s devaluation earlier this year, my valuation of AAdvantage miles has decreased from ~1.8 cents to ~1.5 cents each. It’s international first class award redemptions that went up most in price, 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 ~1.91 cents each with an immediate use in mind, though I wouldn’t call this promotion especially exceptional.
Which credit card should you buy miles with?
American processes mileage purchases directly, 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 JAL 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 ~1.9 cents each could represent a very good deal. However, I wouldn’t speculatively buy miles, but rather only with a specific use in mind, given how often American offers bonuses on the purchase of miles.
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).
Do you plan on buying American miles through this promotion?