Obviously this isn’t the time to buy miles speculatively. However, there are also lots of people planning last minute trips to get home, or planning travel way in advance, so if that applies to you, buying miles at a discount could be worth considering. That’s why I’ll keep covering deals to buy points as they arise.
American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. The airline has just published their latest promotion, which offers the lowest cost on purchased miles that I’ve seen from American in a very long time.
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 the following tiered bonuses on purchased miles through April 12, 2020:
- Buy 2,000-9,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
- Buy 10,000-49,000 miles, get a 70% bonus
- Buy 50,000-149,000 miles, get an 80% bonus
- Buy 150,000 miles, get a 100% bonus
In order to achieve the lowest cost per mile you’d want to purchase exactly 150,000 miles pre-bonus. If you did that, you’d receive a total of 300,000 miles at a cost of $4,794.50, which is ~1.6 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, generally they charge ~1.8-2.15 cents per mile. This current promotion is over 10% better than any other promotion we’ve seen from American in quite a while.
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 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 they offer the following bonus miles 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® 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:
Buy American Miles Summary
American’s new promotion on purchased miles offers miles at the lowest cost we’ve seen from them in a very long time. Of course that’s for good reason, because I imagine demand for buying miles right now is virtually non-existent.
Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend speculatively buying American miles without a use in mind, in particular given the uncertainty right now.
However, this promotion is at least worth being aware of, and everyone can decide for themselves if it makes sense.
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?