American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. For most of November American was offering at most a 35% discount on purchased miles, while the promotion has now been improved for Black Friday.
American’s promo on purchased miles
Before I talk about this promotion specifically, it’s worth noting that nowadays American Airlines requires you to log into your account to see what offer is available on purchased miles. Therefore it’s possible that some offers are targeted, and not everyone may see the same offers.
With the latest promo, American is offering a tiered discount on purchased miles through November 30, 2020. Here’s how the promotion is structured:
- Buy 2,000-4,000 miles, get 5% off
- Buy 5,000-9,000 miles, get 10% off
- Buy 10,000-14,000 miles, get 15% off
- Buy 15,000-19,000 miles, get 20% off
- Buy 20,000-24,000 miles, get 25% off
- Buy 25,000-29,000 miles, get 30% off
- Buy 30,000-34,000 miles, get 35% off
- Buy 35,000-49,000 miles, get 40% off
- Buy 50,000-64,000 miles, get 45% off
- Buy 65,000-200,000 miles, get 50% off
If you max out this promotion you can purchase 200,000 miles for $3,500, which is a rate of 1.75 cents per AAdvantage mile.
As usual, AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible to purchase miles.
As far as American’s bonuses and discounts on purchased miles go, generally the program charges ~1.7-2.1 cents per mile. So a cost of 1.75 cents per AAdvantage mile is among the lowest costs we’ve seen, but it’s not the absolute lowest. For example, in August we saw AAdvantage miles being sold for as little as 1.71 cents each.
Is buying American miles a good deal?
Personally I value American AAdvantage miles at 1.5 cents each. While American significantly devalued its award chart a few years back, there are still some excellent uses of AAdvantage 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 US 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, last year 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 spending. Therefore you’ll want to consider using one of the following cards for your purchase, since you’d earn the following bonuses for airfare:
|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® 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
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:
On top of that, you can earn AAdvantage miles with a Bask Savings Account.
Buy American miles summary
American AAdvantage has just launched a Black Friday promotion, selling AAdvantage miles for up to 50% off, which is as little as 1.75 cents each.
Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend speculatively buying American miles without a use in mind, in particular given the uncertainty right now. However, this is among the better prices we’ve seen on purchased AAdvantage miles, so maybe some people will be interested.
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?