For the past couple of months, American has been selling AAdvantage miles at the lowest cost of the year. While that promotion has expired, American has just rolled out their latest promotion on purchased miles. It’s not quite as good, but for some may still be worthwhile.
Through August 31, 2019, American is offering up to 85,000 bonus miles plus up to a 10% discount when you purchase miles.
The bonus and discount being offered with this promotion is tiered, as follows:
- Buy 15,000-29,000 miles, get 3,500 bonus miles plus 5% off
- Buy 30,000-49,000 miles, get 10,000 bonus miles plus 7% off
- Buy 50,000-74,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles plus 7% off
- Buy 75,000-99,000 miles, get 40,000 bonus miles plus 10% off
- Buy 100,000-149,000 miles, get 55,000 bonus miles plus 10% off
- Buy 150,000 miles, get 85,000 bonus miles plus 10% off
In order to achieve the lowest cost per mile you’d want to purchase exactly 150,000 miles. If you did that you’d receive a total of 235,000 AAdvantage miles for $4,318.81, which is a cost of ~1.84 cents per AAdvantage 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.
As far as American’s bonuses and discounts on purchased miles go, this isn’t the best price of the year, but is on the lower end. Prior to this summer, American’s sale on purchased miles offered pricing of 1.92-2.15 cents per mile. So this isn’t as good as the most recent promotion, but is better than the promotions prior to that.
Is buying American miles a good deal?
Personally I value American AAdvantage miles at 1.4 cents each. While American significantly devalued their award chart a few years back, there are still some excellent uses of their miles, especially for travel in business class on partner airlines.
As a reminder, here’s the cost of first and business class awards originating in the U.S. under the current 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 instances where it could make sense to pick up miles during a promotion with a short term use in mind.
For example, recently I redeemed 75,000 AAdvantage miles for a one-way Qatar Airways business class ticket from Cape Town to the US, which I consider to be a spectacular value.
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|
|Citi Prestige Card||5x ThankYou 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|
|Citi Premier℠ Card||3x ThankYou 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
For example, I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so I view that as an 8.5% return on this spend if you use The Platinum Card® from American Express. If you want to look at it differently, when you factor in the value of the 5x points you’re earning for credit card spend, your real cost per purchased miles is ~1.58 cents.
Other great ways to earn American miles
There are lots of great ways to earn American miles aside from outright buying them. At the moment there are excellent welcome bonuses on co-branded American Airlines AAdvantage Cards, as follows:
While American’s newest promotion on purchased miles isn’t as good as the one they offered immediately prior to this, it is still one of the better prices we’ve seen on purchased miles this year.
Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend speculatively buying American miles without a specific use in mind. However, there are still plenty of cases where it could make sense to buy American miles with a specific use in mind, especially for redemptions on Etihad and Qatar.
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?