Buying miles & points strategically can be a good value, especially for first & business class travel.
Going back a couple of years, American AAdvantage used to consistently have different promotions on purchased miles each month. However, in early 2022, American increased the cost to purchase miles, and seemingly gave up on selling miles, as the program has pretty consistently had the same 35% off promotion on buying miles since then, with limited exceptions.
This spring, we saw a brief period where American sold miles for 45% off, and now American has just launched a promotion whereby miles can be acquired for 50% off. So if you want to buy AAdvantage miles, this is probably as good as it’s going to get.
While I wouldn’t speculatively buy miles at this cost, there’s potentially value to be had. Note that buying AAdvantage miles doesn’t count toward your Loyalty Points total.
In this post:
Promotion on purchased American AAdvantage miles
Through Monday, November 27, 2023, American AAdvantage is offering up to a 50% discount on purchased miles. The offer is tiered, and you get a bigger percentage discount the more miles you buy, as follows:
- Buy 5,000-54,000 miles, receive a 25% discount
- Buy 55,000-149,000 miles, receive a 35% discount
- Buy 150,000-350,000 miles, receive a 50% discount
How much does it cost to purchase American AAdvantage miles?
Ordinarily American sells AAdvantage miles for 3.5 cents each (pre-tax) before factoring in any discounts or bonuses. If you maxed out this promotion and purchased 350,000 AAdvantage miles, you’d receive a total of 350,000 miles at a cost of $6,584.38, which is a rate of 1.88 cents per AAdvantage mile.
As mentioned above, this is the best promotion we’ve seen from the program so far all year.
How many American AAdvantage miles can you purchase?
The American AAdvantage program ordinarily allows members to purchase at most 150,000 miles per account per calendar year, before factoring in any bonuses. However, during this promotion, that cap has been increased to 350,000 miles. Note that AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible to purchase miles.
Which credit card should you buy American AAdvantage miles with?
American AAdvantage 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 bonus points for airfare purchases:
Is buying American AAdvantage miles worth it?
Unlike Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus, American AAdvantage continues to publish award charts for travel on partner airlines, and redemption rates are largely quite good, especially for travel in premium cabins on partner airlines. Among the “big three” carriers in the US, I tend to think AAdvantage has the best redemption opportunities.
I find the cost of business class redemptions to be excellent in many cases. There are instances where it could make sense to pick up miles during a promotion with a short term use in mind. Just to give a few examples of some of my favorite uses of AAdvantage miles (all redemption rates are one-way):
- For 57,500 miles you can fly from the United States to Morocco in Royal Air Maroc business class
- For 60,000 miles you could fly from the United States to Japan in Japan Airlines business class
- For 70,000 miles you could fly from the United States to most of Asia in Cathay Pacific business class
- For 70,000 miles you can fly from the United States to India in Etihad business class
- For 75,000 miles you can fly from the United States to South Africa in Qatar Airways business class
On what airlines can you redeem American AAdvantage miles?
American Airlines belongs to the oneworld alliance, so you can redeem AAdvantage miles on all oneworld airlines.
On top of that, you can redeem miles on some of American’s other partner airlines, including Air Tahiti Nui, China Southern, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, and GOL Airlines.
How much are American AAdvantage miles worth?
Everyone will value mileage currencies differently, but personally I value American AAdvantage miles at ~1.5 cents each. However, I tend to value points pretty conservatively, and there are many ways to get way more value from AAdvantage miles than that.
Do American AAdvantage miles expire?
What other ways can you earn American AAdvantage miles?
There are lots of great ways to earn American miles aside from outright buying them:
- There are excellent welcome bonuses on co-branded American AAdvantage credit cards
- You can earn AAdvantage miles with a Bask Savings Account
- You can earn AAdvantage miles for everyday purchases with programs like AAdvantage Dining and SimplyMiles
American AAdvantage has just launched its best promotion on purchased miles in quite some time. The program is offering up to a 50% discount on purchased miles, which is an opportunity to buy miles for 1.88 cents each. While I wouldn’t speculatively buy miles at this cost, with a specific use in mind, there could be value with this offer.
Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?