American’s New Promotion On Purchased Miles

Filed Under: American
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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 ClassFirst Class
Contiguous 48 U.S. States 25,00050,000
Canada & Alaska30,00055,000
Hawaii40,00065,000
Caribbean27,50052,500
Mexico27,50052,500
Central America27,50052,500
South America Zone 130,00055,000
South America Zone 257,50085,000
Europe57,50085,000
Middle East / India70,000115,000
Africa75,000120,000
Asia Zone 160,00080,000
Asia Zone 270,000110,000
South Pacific80,000110,000


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:

CardPoints earned on airfare spend
The Platinum Card® from American Express5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi Prestige Card5x ThankYou points per dollar spent
American Express® Gold Card3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Reserve®3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi Premier℠ Card3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2x 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℠ Card2 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:

Current American AAdvantage Offers

Bottom line

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?

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Comments
  1. Lucky,

    No matter what the award chart says, business class flights from the US to Europe are basically non-existent at 57,500 miles, especially if you exclude BA due to surcharges. Saver inventory is basically nil, especially out of NYC. People buying AA miles for this purpose will be disappointed, as many have pointed out in the comments. I think your posts highlighting any mileage sales should reflect the current availability status of awards.

  2. This is just a sign that not only are people unlikely to be excited by the AA credit cards but they also need to be incentivized to buy their miles. As Anthony says as long as AA plays games with availability at a fair price it’s not considered a valuable currency.

  3. EndlosLuft – the credit cards are fine for the bonuses – between two AA cards and a checking account offer (which is linked to the card), I will have earned 120,000 AA miles via bonuses this year, which is great. However, buying them outright with cash is usually a poor deal (I’ve done that in the past as well). I now expect to redeem for 80,000 to 115,000 per flight based on availability, and the miles aren’t worth spending cash on at that point.

  4. Since I’m about one more 5hr delayed trip away from leaving AA, does Delta offer mileage purchase bonuses like this? I feel like I’ve seen posts on United and AA but not Delta. I like buying miles to top off my account to get an award so I want to make sure that option is available on Delta.
    Thanks!

  5. Lucky, I have a question.
    Would the $4,300 go toward your qualified spend on American? To gain status?
    That would be nice and you’re spending the money on American, no?

  6. Anthony,
    Anyone using Advantage miles in BA period will be very disappointed. 8 rows across in business! It’s the WORST BUSINESS CLASS IN THE WORLD!

  7. What if you want to fly an AA partner airline, but AA also flies to the same place? I want to redeem miles on the partner, but AA said I must fly AA first if it goes there! Any tips, tricks and info?

  8. Lucky says: Qatar Airways business class continues to be a great use of American miles.
    Sounds like a broken record.

    Good lucking finding Qsuites between LAX to DOH. They are always full with non rev pilots.

  9. I bought the 150,000 miles on American Airlines on the last day of the previous offer (ended 8/2) to get the extra 100,000 miles. Used my Business Platinum American Airlines card. Looks like you only get 1 MR per dollar, not 5. Was coded “AA Ancillary Sales” in MR Points Activity, and says “Frequent Flyer Fee/Purchase” when you click on the actual purchase. Even though it shows American Airlines; it has a “Flight on August 2” and Passenger Name and an actual ticket number (for some reason); it shows 1X on Airline purchases with 4,319 points. And yes, AA is the chosen airline. I’ll probably call them on this but I have a feeling I won’t get anywhere.

    Looked thru the benefits online and it only says 5X if you use AmexTravel. I do have the Business Platinum card though.

    would have used my Business Blue card instead for 2X points if I had known. Really disappointing.

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