Bonus On Purchased American AAdvantage Miles Through June 12, 2015

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American is offering tiered bonuses on the purchase of AAdvantage miles through June 12, 2015. Interestingly this promotion comes just days after American wrapped up a “flash sale” on the purchase of AAdvantage miles, though now the cost per purchased mile is potentially even lower.


As I mentioned above, the bonus is tiered, so the more miles you purchase, the more bonus miles you earn. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Buy 15,000-29,000 miles, get 3,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 30,000-44,000 miles, get 10,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 45,000-59,000 miles, get 20,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 60,000-74,000 miles, get 30,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 75,000-89,000 miles, get 40,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 90,000-100,000 miles, get 50,000 bonus miles

If you want to maximize your cent per mile ratio you’d want to buy exactly 90,000 miles, since that would earn you a ~56% bonus (if you purchase 100,000 miles you’d get the same number of bonus miles). That means you’d get 140,000 miles (90,000 miles plus the 50,000 mile bonus) for a total cost of ~$2,880, which is a cost of ~2.06 cents per AAdvantage mile.


This is a bit more expensive than the rate at which American was selling AAdvantage miles in April, which was ~2.0 cents per mile. Though it’s also a bit less than the rate at which American was selling miles last week (~2.09 cents per mile).

To compare this promotion to recent ones that AAdvantage offered:

As usual, AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible to purchase miles, and you’re limited to purchasing 100,000 AAdvantage miles per account per calendar year (which is why it’s generally more lucrative to purchase miles when they’re offering a bonus as opposed to a discount, since bonus miles don’t count towards that cap).

Is it a good deal?

~2.06 cents per mile isn’t a rate at which I’d speculatively purchase American AAdvantage miles. That being said, with a specific use in mind, it certainly could be worthwhile.

For example, 67,500 miles is enough for a one-way ticket in Cathay Pacific first class between the US and Asia, so for ~$1,400 out of pocket that’s not half bad.

Cathay Pacific 777 First Class

40,000 miles will get you an award in an Etihad A380 First Class Apartment between Abu Dhabi and London, so for just $850 out of pocket, that’s a steal.

Etihad A380 First Class Apartments

Which credit card should you buy miles with?

As of a few months ago American processes mileage purchases directly (rather than through, 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:

CardPoints earned on airfare spend
The Platinum Card® from American Express5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi Prestige Card5x ThankYou points per dollar spent
American Express® Gold Card3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Reserve®3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi Premier℠ Card3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2x 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℠ Card2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases

Bottom line

With a specific use in mind, this can be a great value. I wouldn’t speculatively buy AAdvantage miles for over two cents each just for giggles, but if you have a specific premium cabin redemption on Cathay Pacific, Japan AirlinesEtihad, Qatar, etc., in mind, it’s tough to go wrong.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such a bonus and it certainly won’t be the last, so I’d purchase miles around the same time you need them, especially since American allows five day award holds (meaning you can hold an award ticket, purchase miles, and then ticket the reservation).

While buying miles isn’t nearly as lucrative as it was in the US Airways days, it is nice to see that American is almost constantly offering a discount on purchased miles.

Do you plan on purchasing AAdvantage miles for ~2.06 cents each?

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  1. Ben! As always I plan our international airfare based on your reviews and helpful hints! Wen re using our AA miles to fly biz cathay with hopes of upgrading right before from RDU-SIN for a cruise.
    I was thinking of the return and found $300 first class tickets from SIN to CMB and thinking of doing QR back to the states with the low FC/BIZ ticket prices on QR. What are your thoughts on that?
    Last year we did miles to Kenya and paid fair from CAI and it was amazing the value and milage we got.
    Do you think that is too crazy of a routing? SIN-CMB-DOH-LHR-RDU?

  2. What do you think Ben…is Cai-Doh-Bkk-Hkg-Hnd bookable on 1award ME -C1viaC2? Of course it’s not the most direct routing, but would be a nice route to expoit one of the award sweet spots.

  3. I agree, at this price I wouldn’t be speculatively purchase the miles. Especially with all the talk lately about Cathay Pacific limiting or eliminating AA awards in First and Business class of service.

    Also as many have speculated, AA miles are going to be worth even less soon with a devaluation of their miles very likely.

    I always like to see sales, but think I need to factor these things in before I purchase.

  4. Ahhh, on the fence here. Just drained my AA account with several Cathay F tickets (certainly not complaining). But it makes me uncomfortable having a near 0 balance (I’ve been crediting everything to Alaska this year because I have MVP Gold). Factoring in the 5,600 additional miles for using my AA card, I may pull the trigger. Agggg

  5. American is still using That’s why Canadians, and only Canadians, get hit with Canadian taxes, on top of the (legally incorrect and inappropriate) US Federal Excise tax. Here’s what it costs Canadians to buy 90,000 under the current scheme:

    Cost $2,655.00 USD
    Federal excise tax $199.13 USD
    Processing charge $30.00 USD
    GST/HST $134.25 USD
    Total charges $3,018.38 USD
    *GST/HST will apply for Canadian residents

    About 4 years ago, American gave up doing the extra work to offer promotions, contests, giveaways to Canadians. Now, all such events are restricted to US residents. Apparently, they’re setting us Canadians adrift again, even in a promotional sale of miles.

    One tries to be loyal, or to consider these guys rlevant, but it gets more difficult with each passing month!

    Is there a single Canadian who sees value in the AA “Buy Miles” proposition, even under the current promotion?

  6. AA is offering now a bonus 50,000 points for their Platinum select, and that free! I had their Gold CC about a year ago, would I be eligible for the bonus on the Platinum card?


  7. @ Dan — Could go either way under those circumstances as well. I might just do it if you think you’ll be able to book in the next few months, since I do think American would give notice of any devaluation. Otherwise I’d wait for the next promo, since presumably this won’t be the last one, and it’s not that exceptional.

  8. Hoping all of their projections fall flat on these sales. That may help in bringing back promos like the US Air promos.

  9. @YYZgayguy The tax is quite minimal, if you have a company you’d get it back.

    Even all in $3,000 USD is a phenomenal value for a roundtrip first class ticket.

  10. @Lucky, will I be able to use AA miles to fly to Asia for one-way flights? Besides Cathay Pacific, what’s the next best airline to fly from a major US city to a South-east Asian city?

  11. @ Silver — Yes, you can use them for a one-way to Asia. Consider Japan Airlines otherwise.

  12. @Lucky, is booking award seats using AA miles as easy as AS miles? So far, my experience with calling Alaska Air has always been a breeze, what about AA call center? Do their customer service suck as much as their cabin staff (most of the time)?

  13. One more question, Lucky…

    Are 67,500 AA miles enough for a one-way ticket in Cathay Pacific first class between PDX and SIN? If so, does that mean I can switch to an AA plane in any U.S. city AA flies?

  14. @ Silver — Yes, they’re both quite good. They should have access to the same Cathay Pacific award availability.

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