In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
Update: This offer for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.
Update: This offer for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.
Only days after the AAdvantage & Dividend Miles programs merged, American is back with a great bonus on buying miles.
Up to a 60% bonus when you buy miles
Through April 30, 2015, American AAdvantage is offering up to 60,000 AAdvantage bonus miles when you buy miles.
The size of your mileage bonus varies based on how many miles you buy, and maxes out at 60%. The tiers are as follows:
- Buy 6,000-9,000 miles, get 1,500 bonus miles
- Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, get 3,500 bonus miles
- Buy 20,000-29,000 miles, get 7,500 bonus miles
- Buy 30,000-39,000 miles, get 15,000 bonus miles
- Buy 40,000-54,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles
- Buy 55,000-69,000 miles, get 30,000 bonus miles
- Buy 70,000-84,000 miles, get 40,000 bonus miles
- Buy 85,000-99,000 miles, get 50,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000 miles, get 60,000 bonus miles
If you max out this promotion and purchase 100,000 miles then you’d earn a total of 160,000 AAdvantage miles at a cost of $3,201.25. That’s a cost of 2.0 cents per AAdvantage mile.
You can purchase a maximum of 100,000 AAdvantage bonus miles per account per calendar year, before factoring in any bonuses. Furthermore, AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible for this promotion.
Is it a good deal?
Admittedly it’s not as good of a deal as back in the day when US Airways used to offer a promotion on purchasing or sharing miles nearly every month. Rates ranged from ~1.2 to ~1.88 cents per mile, so it was a no brainer.
But that was then and this is now. As far as promotions on the purchase of AAdvantage miles go, this is just about as good of a promotion as we’ve seen.
To compare this promotion to recent ones that AAdvantage offered:
- In February 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.07 cents each
- In January 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.14 cents each
- In November/December 2014 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.06 cents each
Two cents per mile isn’t a rate at which I’d speculatively purchase American AAdvantage miles. That being said, with a specific use in mind, it certainly could be worthwhile.
For example, 67,500 miles is enough for a one-way ticket in Cathay Pacific first class between the US and Asia, so for ~$1,350 out of pocket that’s not half bad.
40,000 miles will get you an award in an Etihad A380 First Class Apartment between Abu Dhabi and London, so for just $800 out of pocket, that’s a steal.
Which credit card should you buy miles with?
As of a few months ago American processes mileage purchases directly (rather than through points.com), 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:
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card – Through 4/18/2015 – 2x ThankYou points per dollar spent; Starting 4/19/2015 – 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® — 2x AAdvantage miles per dollar spent
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® — 2x AAdvantage miles per dollar spent
With a specific use in mind, this can be a great value. I wouldn’t speculatively buy AAdvantage miles for two cents each just for giggles, but if you have a specific premium cabin redemption on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Etihad, Qatar, etc., in mind, it’s tough to go wrong.