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.
American just wrapped up their April promotion on the purchase of AAdvantage miles, whereby they offered up to a 60% bonus on purchased miles.
Now American is back with what they call a “flash sale,” whereby they’re offering up to a 35% discount on purchased AAdvantage miles through May 11, 2015.
American AAdvantage is offering tiered discounts, whereby the percentage discount you get on the purchase of points is dependent upon how many you purchase, as follows:
- Buy 6,000-14,000 miles, get a 15% discount
- Buy 15,000-39,000 miles, get a 20% discount
- Buy 40,000-64,000 miles, get a 25% discount
- Buy 65,000-99,000 miles, get a 30% discount
- Buy 100,000 miles, get a 35% discount
If you max out the promotion and purchase a total of 100,000 AAdvantage miles, you’d pay a total of $2,091.31 including all taxes/fees. That’s a cost of 2.09 cents per mile.
This is a bit more expensive than the rate at which American was selling AAdvantage miles last month, which was ~2.0 cents per mile.
To compare this promotion to recent ones that AAdvantage offered:
- In April 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.0 cents each
- 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
As you can see, despite it being marketed as a “flash sale,” this is a pretty average bonus for the purchase of miles. AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible to purchase miles, and you’re limited to purchasing 100,000 AAdvantage miles per account per calendar year (which potentially makes it more lucrative to purchase miles when there’s a bonus rather than a discount, since bonus miles don’t count towards that cap).
Is it a good deal?
~2.09 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 ~$1,400 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 $850 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
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card – 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2x Ultimate Rewards 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 over 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.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such a bonus and it certainly won’t be the last, so I’d ultimately purchase miles around the same time you need them, especially since American allows five day award holds (meaning you can hold an award ticket, purchase miles, and then ticket the reservation).
Do you plan on purchasing AAdvantage miles for ~2.09 cents each?