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Through November 30, 2015, American is offering up to 75,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when buying miles.
The bonus is tiered, meaning the more miles you buy, the bigger the bonus, 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 100,000-124,000 miles, get 60,000 bonus miles
- Buy 125,000 miles, get 75,000 bonus miles
If you max out the bonus and purchase 125,000 miles, you’d receive a bonus of 75,000 AAdvantage miles. That’s a total of 200,000 AAdvantage miles for $3994.06, which is ~2.0 cents per mile.
As mentioned above, American is marketing this as the best promotion on purchased miles in 2015. How does it compare to other promotions they offered recently?
- In November 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.1 cents each
- In August 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.09 cents each
- In July 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.0 cents each
- In early June 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.06 cents each
- In early May 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.09 cents each
- 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
This is indeed technically the lowest cost on a per mile basis, but only by a very small margin. And in order to achieve that cost, you have to purchase 200,000 miles, which is no small sum. Personally 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.
Is it a good deal?
~2.0 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 ~$1,350 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.
There are tons of other similarly excellent redemption opportunities out there.
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:
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card – 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Citi Prestige® Card — 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred — 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 ~2.0 cents each just for giggles, but if you have a premium cabin redemption on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Etihad, Qatar, etc., in mind, it’s tough to go wrong.
On a cent per mile basis this is the lowest cost we’ve seen in 2015, though only marginally so. I’d view this promotion the same as any other offered by American this year, and would decide based on whether you have a use for the miles in the near future.
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 through this promotion?