American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. Yesterday their last promotion on purchased miles ended, and today their new promotion on purchased miles launched.
While we saw some great American promos on purchased miles over the summer, American is continuing their trend of offering not especially compelling deals.
American Offering Bonus Miles & Discount
Through November 28, 2019, American is offering a bonus on purchased miles as long as you buy at least 10,000 miles in one transaction.
It’s interesting to note that as of a couple of months ago American has changed the structure of their buy miles promotion. The interface now looks different, and you have to log into your account to buy miles.
Presumably this means that we could eventually see targeted offers on purchased miles, though best I can tell all of the offers are the same as of now.
With this promo, American is offering the following tiered bonus on purchased miles:
- 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
In order to achieve the lowest cost per mile you’d want to purchase exactly 150,000 miles. If you purchased 150,000 miles you’d receive a total of 250,000 miles at a cost of $5,036.38, which is ~2.01 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 is on the higher side. So far this year American has sold miles for anywhere from ~1.8-2.15 cents per mile, so paying 2.01 cents per mile is far from the best deal.
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.
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:
Personally I think the best credit card right now for earning American miles as part of the welcome bonus is the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®. The card is offering a welcome bonus of 70,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $4,000 within four months. The card’s annual fee is even waived the first year. You can learn more about that card here.
Buy American Miles Summary
American’s newest promotion on purchased miles isn’t especially compelling.
Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend speculatively buying American miles without a specific use in mind, especially when you’re not getting the best price of the year. However, there are still some cases where it could make sense to buy American miles with a specific short term use in mind, especially for redemptions on Etihad and Qatar.
In the past couple of months American has charged over two cents per mile, which simply isn’t a great deal.
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?