American’s New Promotion On Purchased Miles

Filed Under: AAdvantage, American
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American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. Yesterday their last promotion on purchased miles ended, and today their new promotion on purchased miles launched.

While we saw some great American promos on purchased miles over the summer, American is continuing their trend of offering not especially compelling deals.

American Offering Bonus Miles & Discount

Through November 28, 2019, American is offering a bonus on purchased miles as long as you buy at least 10,000 miles in one transaction.

It’s interesting to note that as of a couple of months ago American has changed the structure of their buy miles promotion. The interface now looks different, and you have to log into your account to buy miles.

Presumably this means that we could eventually see targeted offers on purchased miles, though best I can tell all of the offers are the same as of now.

With this promo, American is offering the following tiered bonus on purchased miles:

  • Buy 10,000-24,000 miles, get 2,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 25,000-49,000 miles, get 7,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 50,000-74,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 75,000-99,000 miles, get 40,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 100,000-149,000 miles, get 60,000 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 purchased 150,000 miles you’d receive a total of 250,000 miles at a cost of $5,036.38, which is ~2.01 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 on the higher side. So far this year American has sold miles for anywhere from ~1.8-2.15 cents per mile, so paying 2.01 cents per mile is far from the best deal.

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 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, 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:

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® 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℠ 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

Personally I think the best credit card right now for earning American miles as part of the welcome bonus is the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®. The card is offering a welcome bonus of 70,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $4,000 within four months. The card’s annual fee is even waived the first year. You can learn more about that card here.

Buy American Miles Summary

American’s newest promotion on purchased miles isn’t especially compelling.

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.

In the past couple of months American has charged over two cents per mile, which simply isn’t a great deal.

Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?

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  1. 57,500 to Europe in business, one way. Too bad it is unlikely to find available seats on American unless others have better luck than me. I have at least 330,000 AA and another 200K+ miles on BA collecting dust.

  2. There is no way I’d WASTE my money buying AA miles. They are too tight fisted when it comes to releasing award flights. I just used Chase points to outright buy a one way to Miami for 9K points on a flight that AA did not have available. And even if they did, it would have been 12,500 or more. So at the end of the day I acquire Chase points much faster due to their bonus structures, and they are much easier to use. American Airlines has DESTROYED their program, so NO THANKS!!!!

  3. If you use an AAdvantage card to buy the miles, wouldn’t that bring the effective per mile cost down to ~1.9 cents/mile? What’re your thoughts about it at that rate?

    Also, since it qualifies as airfare spend would it could towards AAdvantage EQD?

  4. As long as AA uses Cathay Pacific it looks like i will find other carriers to fly with to asia. After being robbed by Cathay in contradiction to their published policy of rescheduling flights after they have been delayed. I will never fly with them specifically again. AA routes now show cathay as primary carrier over pacific. That policy alone ruled their services in addition to what used to be a 22 hr flight total to my destination is now 30 plus hours with day long layovers because of Crooked Cathay . AA YOUR GOING THE WRONG DIRECTION..FLIGHTS with your airmiles are more expensive that premium coach seating..again wrong leave me no choice.

  5. I have the same offer, but when I try to purchase 150,000 miles (+100,000 bonus), the total cost is $4,794.50 Is AA charging different accounts different price per mile?

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