American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. Well, at the moment they have a promotion that offers among the lowest costs we’ve seen on purchased miles in quite a while.
American’s Promo On Purchased Miles
Before I talk about this promotion specifically, it’s interesting to note that as of a few months ago American changed the structure of their buy miles promotion. The interface now looks different, and you have to log into your account to buy miles.
Initially the promotions worked the same way they used to, which is to say that promotions on purchased miles still had published end dates. Well, that’s no longer the case.
When I log into my American account to buy miles I get a pretty good offer, though it has no published end date, and I also can’t guarantee everyone will see the offer.
With the latest promo, American is offering the following tiered bonuses on purchased miles:
- Buy 15,000-49,000 miles, get a 30% bonus
- Buy 50,000 miles, get a 40% bonus
- Buy 51,000-99,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
- Buy 100,000-149,000 miles, get a 70% bonus
- Buy 150,000 miles, get an 80% bonus
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 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 about as good as it gets. Typically when American offers bonuses on purchased miles, the prices range from ~1.8 to ~2.15 cents per mile.
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 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 latest promotion on purchased miles offers among the lowest costs per purchased mile that I’ve seen in quite a while. The catch is that the promotion doesn’t have a published end date, and I also can’t guarantee everyone will have the same offer.
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).
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?