American Selling AAdvantage Miles With 100% Bonus

Filed Under: American, American AAdvantage
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American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. At the beginning of the month American launched its latest such promotion, though something was a bit off with the pricing, making it look like American raised the cost to purchase miles.

That issue has now been resolved, making this promotion a much better value.

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 bonus on purchased miles through August 31, 2020. Here’s how the promotion is structured:

  • Buy 15,000-75,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
  • Buy 76,000-124,000 miles, get a 75% bonus
  • Buy 125,000-150,000 miles, get a 100% bonus

If you max out this promotion you can purchase 300,000 miles for $5,129, which is a rate of ~1.71 cents per AAdvantage mile (for what it’s worth, with the version of the promotion initially published, miles cost as little as ~1.84 cents each).

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 ~1.8-2.15 cents per mile. This current promotion is excellent, as it’s well below the standard pricing. The only better promotion we saw was back in April, when you could buy miles for ~1.6 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 miles can be purchased for as little as ~1.71 cents each with the current promotion. This is among the best pricing we’ve seen from AAdvantage on purchased miles in quite a while. Back in April we saw miles at a lower cost, but other than that we haven’t seen AAdvantage sell miles for this little in a long time.

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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Comments
  1. I did a dummy purchase and the offer was as you listed.

    I only have an AA account because it’s easier to manage AA flights with it (I credit to BA) so perhaps not that targeted an offer at all?

    Others offers may vary – especially those with very active AA accounts.

  2. I suspect this may be an accounting trick meant to overestimate the price of the FF program.

    Remember Airlines are Currently using their frequent flyer programs as collateral to secure debt financing. If AA has raised the price of its miles, it might be an attempt to value the program higher in its books.

    Nothing out of the ordinary but caveat emptor on those miles.

  3. It’ll be interesting to see whether they reduce their base rate after this promotion or if it’s their new normal price. They haven’t advertised it here in Australia, and I haven’t seen an e-mail from them about it. I just bought a small number of miles last month so they know I could be a buyer. If they advertised here and changed the base price to make an offer look better, that would be against Australian consumer law. An on-line retailer here was fined millions of dollars for increasing their list price for items so they could offer them ‘on sale’ at about the old list price, then reducing it after the sale period.

  4. Where exactly are the flights for the miles on your chart?? I tried looking at some SCL/EZE flights towards the end of the schedule -they were asking multiples of the miles shown by the chart.

  5. Part of the American business ethos is the ability to turn a disaster into an opportunity. And so much the better if the gullible consumers are distracted by said disaster.
    While AA have never needed a distraction to screw its customers, a distraction is always welcome to provide a bit of cover.

  6. Why are they charging an excise tax on the miles purchase??? Wasn’t the tax holiday supposed to last until December 31?

  7. Even their site says 0% currently and they still charging it 🙂 ALL AMOUNTS CHARGED TO MEMBERS FOR THE PURCHASE OF MILES INLUDE U.S. FEDERAL EXCISE TAX (CURRENTLY 0%) AND ARE SUBJECT TO A TRANSACTION PROCESSING FEE. THE PER TRANSACTION PROCESSING FEE FOR THE PURCHASE OF MILES IS $0

  8. Right now, puchasing miles makes no sense to frequent travelers for many reasons..
    that is why the 100% bonus on the high end.
    If the purchase counted towards EQD, they might sell them.

  9. A live person called my husband today and left a message to tell him about this offer. You know the industry is hurting when they are doing that. We won’t be buying.

  10. Why would u lend anyone or company, interest free money when that company’s debt is 5x more than the the company’s value. Foolish proposition

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