American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. About a week ago they rolled out their “Black Friday” promo on purchased miles. It was due to expire yesterday, but has been extended through December 8, 2019.
American’s Promo On Purchased Miles
Through Sunday, December 8, 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 few 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.
The promo page says “Black Friday special just for you,” though all the accounts I manage show the same offer, so I would guess there’s just a single promotion and they’re trying to make us feel special. 😉
With this promo, American is offering the following tiered bonus on purchased miles:
- Buy 10,000-24,000 miles, get 3,000 bonus miles
- Buy 25,000-49,000 miles, get 9,000 bonus miles
- Buy 50,000-74,000 miles, get 27,000 bonus miles
- Buy 75,000-99,000 miles, get 48,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000-149,000 miles, get 72,000 bonus miles
- Buy 150,000 miles, get 120,000 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 270,000 miles at a cost of $4,794.50, which is ~1.78 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 among the lowest costs we’ve seen this year. So far this year American has sold miles for anywhere between ~1.8 and ~2.15 cents per mile, so paying ~1.78 cents per mile is right on the low end of 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.
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
If you haven’t yet taken advantage of American’s promo on purchased miles but are interested, you now have a few more days to do so, thanks to this promo being extended. This offers the lowest cost on purchased American miles of the year.
Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend speculatively buying American miles without a use in mind. However, there are plenty of cases where acquiring miles at this cost makes sense (especially for redemptions on Etihad and Qatar).
If you’re going to pick up American miles, you might as well do it at the lowest cost.
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?