American Selling AAdvantage Miles For 50% Off

Filed Under: American, American AAdvantage
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American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. For most of November American was offering at most a 35% discount on purchased miles, while the promotion has now been improved for Black Friday.

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 November 30, 2020. Here’s how the promotion is structured:

  • Buy 2,000-4,000 miles, get 5% off
  • Buy 5,000-9,000 miles, get 10% off
  • Buy 10,000-14,000 miles, get 15% off
  • Buy 15,000-19,000 miles, get 20% off
  • Buy 20,000-24,000 miles, get 25% off
  • Buy 25,000-29,000 miles, get 30% off
  • Buy 30,000-34,000 miles, get 35% off
  • Buy 35,000-49,000 miles, get 40% off
  • Buy 50,000-64,000 miles, get 45% off
  • Buy 65,000-200,000 miles, get 50% off

If you max out this promotion you can purchase 200,000 miles for $3,500, which is a rate of 1.75 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 the program charges ~1.7-2.1 cents per mile. So a cost of 1.75 cents per AAdvantage mile is among the lowest costs we’ve seen, but it’s not the absolute lowest. For example, in August we saw AAdvantage miles being sold for as little as 1.71 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 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, 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:

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 spending if you use The Platinum Card® from American Express (review).

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

On top of that, you can earn AAdvantage miles with a Bask Savings Account.

Buy American miles summary

American AAdvantage has just launched a Black Friday promotion, selling AAdvantage miles for up to 50% off, which is as little as 1.75 cents each.

Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend speculatively buying American miles without a use in mind, in particular given the uncertainty right now. However, this is among the better prices we’ve seen on purchased AAdvantage miles, so maybe some people will be interested.

Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?

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Comments
  1. Ben, you post a lot of these offers and they are all useful, whether your readers are in the US where all the accompanying information applies or elsewhere, where it may not. In almost all cases you include the cost per mile after the offer is included in the price. But there are two ways in which you headline the articles. Some you talk about the ‘discount’ or how much off the usual price, and in others you talk about the ‘bonus’. These are not comparable, and the distinction may not be apparent to everyone.

    In this case, you describe what American has done as offering 50% off, but that is the same as offering a 100% bonus, which sounds far better. If you buy 100k and get another 100k ‘free’, it’s the same as buying 200k at half price. It would be nice if you chose one method of referring to it in your headline, and explained the way the airlines were spinning it in the article. I realise that you may have contractual issues with some of the airlines.

  2. @MIke C
    I don’t agree with your statement. Ben is simply reporting on what the airlines are promoting. If they are offering a discount then he reports it’s a discount and if they are offering bonus miles he does the same. It makes no sense to spin it otherwise. You’re smart enough to figure it out and so are most of the readers here. I appreciate he calculates the cost per mile as well as let you know where each promotion stands compared to prices offered in the past.

  3. Hey, @Steve, I accept and understand your point here. Where I differ with you is on whether what I am saying is spinning it. I would say that the airlines and other providers are the ones that are doing the spinning. If all I have done is make others think what the headline means, I’d be happy with that.

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