American Airlines Selling Miles For 1.76 Cents Each

Filed Under: American, American AAdvantage
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American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. Yesterday American launched their latest promotion on purchased miles, which came just a day after the previous promotion ended.

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 discount on purchased miles through July 30, 2020. Here’s how the promotion is structured:

  • Buy 6,000-10,000 miles, get 10% off
  • Buy 11,000-25,000 miles, get 20% off
  • Buy 26,000-50,000 miles, get 25% off
  • Buy 51,000-74,000 miles, get 35% off
  • Buy 75,000-149,000 miles, get 40% off
  • Buy 150,000 miles, get 45% off

If you max out this promotion you can purchase 150,000 miles for $2,636.97, which is a rate of ~1.76 cents per AAdvantage mile.

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 they charge ~1.8-2.15 cents per mile. This current promotion is right at the bottom of that pricing spectrum, or even a bit below. The one exception is that in early April American sold miles for ~1.6 cents each, which is the lowest cost I recall seeing in a very long time.

Is Buying American Miles A Good Deal?

Personally I value American AAdvantage miles at 1.5 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 ClassFirst Class
Contiguous 48 U.S. States 25,00050,000
Canada & Alaska30,00055,000
Central America27,50052,500
South America Zone 130,00055,000
South America Zone 257,50085,000
Middle East / India70,000115,000
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, 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:

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® 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.

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

Buy American Miles Summary

American has just launched their latest promotion on purchased miles, which offers miles at a decent cost, though it’s not as good of a deal as the promotion we saw in early April.

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?

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  1. Ben, have you made any adjustments in what you value miles/points at recently? It would seem they would be worth less now then they used to be.

  2. Your earnings tiers as noted above might not be accurate. I went to the website and entered 75,000 miles to buy and it shows a savings of 35% not the 40% you show above.

  3. It’s a great deal if you live East Coast US and want to go to South Africa or Maldives etc.

    One way for two in QSuites about $1,300. Great deal and a no brainer.

  4. @Mark Agreed, but it’s probably way more than $1,300!

    I know buying miles is never the best option, but I may snag a few just to top off for a RT itinerary.

    110k AA miles one-way business on Qatar (IAD-DOH-CPT). But I may pay out of pocket to fly someone in Europe like CDG (IAD-CDG) then AA miles on Qatar (CDG-DOH-CPT) since it’s only 55k miles! One additional layover but saving half the miles.

  5. @Tarso it’s a little more complicated than Ben lets on. He gets paid by points dot com to hawk mileage sales. In this case AA doesn’t use points dot com so Ben doesn’t get paid. But it benefits him to write about this in a similar fashion to a points dot com sale, lest someone argue he only writes about mileage sales when he gets paid. As to how much, the answer is a few percentage points per sale. Note that you could get topcashback for such purchases yourself, though Ben would never acknowledge that openly. (He’s blogged about topcashback and ethics policies, but he’s never linked the two.)

  6. @Stvr I agree with you. My landscaper has advertisements all over his truck. The only reason he does that is because he just wants to make MONEY!! Grass and plants grow naturally, so he should just be happy to cut them. I don’t NEED him to do it, I just don’t want to do it myself.

    He cuts his grandmother’s grass for free, and also his elderly neighbor’s, but when it comes to the public he doesn’t care. He hopes they see his ad, request his services, and PAY HIM. Such a selfish @$$hol€

  7. “Qatar Airways business class continues to be a great use of American miles”

    If you don’t mind flying in a biohazard suit.

  8. Why don’t you mention in this article that buying Marriott points and transferring them to AA is 0.62 cents per points. Which is more than half the price you’re suggesting from AA?

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