American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. At the beginning of the month American launched its latest such promotion, though something was a bit off with the pricing, making it look like American raised the cost to purchase miles.
That issue has now been resolved, making this promotion a much better value.
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 bonus on purchased miles through August 31, 2020. Here’s how the promotion is structured:
- Buy 15,000-75,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
- Buy 76,000-124,000 miles, get a 75% bonus
- Buy 125,000-150,000 miles, get a 100% bonus
If you max out this promotion you can purchase 300,000 miles for $5,129, which is a rate of ~1.71 cents per AAdvantage mile (for what it’s worth, with the version of the promotion initially published, miles cost as little as ~1.84 cents each).
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 ~1.8-2.15 cents per mile. This current promotion is excellent, as it’s well below the standard pricing. The only better promotion we saw was back in April, when you could buy miles for ~1.6 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 miles can be purchased for as little as ~1.71 cents each with the current promotion. This is among the best pricing we’ve seen from AAdvantage on purchased miles in quite a while. Back in April we saw miles at a lower cost, but other than that we haven’t seen AAdvantage sell miles for this little in a long time.
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?