In mid-June American rolled out their best promotion of the year on purchased miles, which was supposed to be valid through June 30, 2019. Well, this promotion has now been extended for over another month, and is now valid through August 2, 2019.
With this promotion, American is offering a 10% discount when you buy at least 11,000 miles in one transaction, plus a tiered bonus, as follows:
- Buy 11,000-20,000 miles, get 2,500 bonus miles
- Buy 21,000-50,000 miles, get 5,000 bonus miles
- Buy 51,000-75,000 miles, get 15,000 bonus miles
- Buy 76,000-100,000 miles, get 27,500 bonus miles
- Buy 101,000-125,000 miles, get 45,000 bonus miles
- Buy 126,000-149,000 miles, get 70,000 bonus miles
- Buy 150,000 miles, get 100,000 bonus miles
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 250,000 AAdvantage miles for $4,315.05, which is a cost of ~1.73 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 the best price American has offered so far this year on purchased AAdvantage miles. Up until now they’ve offered miles for 1.92-2.15 cents each, so this is significantly lower than anything else we’ve seen prior to June.
This is also on par with the lowest cost at which American sold miles last year. So if you’ve been considering buying American miles but have been waiting for the best price, this would be a good time to buy.
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 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:
|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. 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:
American’s best promotion of the year on purchased miles has been extended through August 2, 2019. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of this deal but might be interested, you have several more weeks left to do so.
Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend speculatively buying American miles without a specific use in mind.
Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sort of tempted. I don’t have many redeemable miles with American at the moment, and I consistently get good value from the miles, especially for redemptions on Etihad and Qatar. So while I’m tempted to buy miles, I probably won’t actually follow through with it, because trading cash for American miles just feels wrong.
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?