American Miles On Sale Through November 13, 2015

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Through November 13, 2015, American is offering up to 35,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when buying miles, plus a 10% discount on the cost.

American-Bonus-1

The 10% discount applies as long as you purchase at least 20,000 AAdvantage miles. Meanwhile the number of bonus miles you earn depends on how many miles you buy, as follows:

  • Buy 20,000-39,000 miles, get 7,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 40,000-59,000 miles, get 13,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 60,000-79,000 miles, get 20,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 80,000-99,000 miles, get 30,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 100,000-125,000 miles, get 35,000 bonus miles

AAdvantage-Bonus

Given the tiered bonuses, you’ll actually achieve the lowest cent per mile cost if you purchase exactly 80,000 miles. In that instance you’d receive 30,000 bonus miles plus a 10% discount. That’s a total of 110,000 AAdvantage miles at a cost of $2,313.30, which is ~2.10 cents per mile.

AAdvantage-Cost-1

Meanwhile if you purchase exactly 100,000 miles you’d receive a bonus of 35,000 miles. That would be a total of 135,000 AAdvantage miles at a cost of $2,884.13, which is ~2.14 cents per mile.

AAdvantage-Cost-2

To compare this promotion to recent ones that AAdvantage offered:

While the differences aren’t huge, this isn’t one of the best promotions we’ve seen this year. It’s not a massive difference, as we’re talking a variance of ~5%. I wouldn’t be deciding on whether to take advantage of a promotion based on the slight difference in cost, but rather based on when you actually have a need for the miles.

As usual, AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible to purchase miles. As far as the mileage limit purchase goes, American has raised it with this promotion. You used to be able to purchase at most 100,000 AAdvantage miles per account per calendar year, though that has now been raised to 125,000 miles (this amount doesn’t include bonus miles).

Is it a good deal?

~2.1 cents per mile isn’t a rate at which I’d speculatively purchase American AAdvantage miles (I value American miles at ~1.8 cents each). 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 ~$1,450 out of pocket that’s not half bad.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class-777-54
Cathay Pacific 777 First Class

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.

Etihad-A380-First-Apartment-01
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments

Which credit card should you buy miles with?

As of earlier this year, 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:

Bottom line

With a specific use in mind, this can be a great value. I wouldn’t speculatively buy AAdvantage miles for ~2.1 cents each just for giggles, but if you have a premium cabin redemption on Cathay Pacific, Japan AirlinesEtihadQatar, etc., in mind, it’s tough to go wrong.

While we’ve seen slightly lower rates when purchasing miles, I’d make my decision based on when I needed the miles as opposed to marginal differences in their cost. In other words, I’d rather buy miles for ~2.1 cents each when I knew I had an immediate use for them, rather than for ~2.0 cents each speculatively.

Also keep in mind that 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 with a 35% bonus and 10% discount?

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Comments

  1. Hey Ben,
    Do you think American will offer a better promotion for Black Friday or Christmas?
    I want to buy but don’t want to pay more than ~2.0 cents per mile lol
    Kicking myself I didn’t buy in July.
    Thanks,

  2. When they return to 100% bonus days, I’ll consider buying. As for speculatively buying…. not on your life. I can’t use the miles I have now.

  3. I agree with Susan, although I probably wouldn’t buy even with 100% bonus as I can’t use the 90k I have now. On AA metal the miles are pretty worthless. Any decent redemption without an overnight in the airport will be a standard award and biz saver awards do not exist whatsover. There may be 1 or two biz or first tickets to Asia per month on JAL or Cathay to an Asian destination so it might be ok for those who have unlimited flexibility but for me they are my most worthless miles.

    I would trade gladly trade my AA miles 2 for 1 for lifemiles which can be purchased at 1.5 per mile so I personally value AA miles at .75 cents.

    I don’t live in an AA hub but it looks like availability out of DFW isn’t much better than SFO.

  4. I just bought 89000 miles for about $2000 and redeemed it for a ticket from BOM-DFW via AUH on Etihad First Class. This ticket would cost me upwards of $5000 if I had to pay cash. So, the AAdvantage sale worked out for me.

  5. @Ivan – As a person who is based in ME for the moment, I will do even 1.5 cent/mile for your AA miles. lol. 😉

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