American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. Over the summer we saw some of American’s best prices of the year on purchased miles. Well, American has just rolled out their latest promo on AAdvantage miles, and it’s not nearly as good, unfortunately.
American Offering Up To 35% Discount On Purchased Miles
Through September 30, 2019, American is offering up to a 35% discount when you purchase miles. The structure of this promotion is rare because American almost always offers a bonus on purchased miles and sometimes a discount to go along with it, but this time around they’re just offering a discount.
The discount being offered with this promotion is tiered, as follows:
- Buy 15,000-29,000 miles, get 15% off
- Buy 30,000-49,000 miles, get 20% off
- Buy 50,000-74,000 miles, get 25% off
- Buy 75,000-99,000 miles, get 30% off
- Buy 100,000-150,000 miles, get 35% off
In order to achieve the lowest cost per mile you’d want to purchase anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 miles. For example, if you purchased 150,000 miles you’d pay $3,116.43, which is a cost of ~2.08 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 among the worst price we’ve seen this year. So far this year American has sold miles for anywhere from ~1.8-2.15 cents per mile, so paying 2.08 cents per mile is on the high side.
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.
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 newest promotion on purchased miles is one of the worst we’ve seen so far this year, as the lowest cost is well over two cents per mile.
Generally speaking I wouldn’t recommend speculatively buying American miles without a specific use in mind, especially when you’re not getting the best price of the year. However, there are still some cases where it could make sense to buy American miles with a specific short term use in mind, especially for redemptions on Etihad and Qatar.
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?