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Through January 29, 2016, American is offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased AAdvantage miles. This comes just days after their last bonus on purchased miles ended, which was their best offer of 2015.
The bonus is tiered, meaning the more miles you buy, the bigger the bonus, as follows:
- Buy 5,000-14,000 miles, get 1,000 bonus miles
- Buy 15,000-24,000 miles, get 5,000 bonus miles
- Buy 25,000-49,000 miles, get 10,000 bonus miles
- Buy 50,000-69,000 miles, get 22,5000 bonus miles
- Buy 70,000-99,000 miles, get 35,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000-150,000 miles, get 50,000 bonus miles
If you’re looking for the lowest cost on a cent per mile basis, you’ll want to buy exactly 70,000 or 100,000 miles. If you buy 100,000 miles you’d get a 50,000 mile bonus. That would be an opportunity to purchase 150,000 AAdvantage miles for ~$3,201.25, which is ~2.13 cents per mile.
How does this promotion compare to past promotions from American on the purchase of miles?
- In December 2015 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~1.8 cents each
- 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
As you can see, this isn’t the best offer we’ve seen on the purchase of AAdvantage miles. 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. Furthermore, there’s an annual cap of purchasing 150,000 AAdvantage miles per account per calendar year (pre-bonus), so that counter reset as of last week.
Is it a good deal?
~2.13 cents per mile certainly 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.
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.
There are tons of other similarly excellent redemption opportunities out there.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that American will be devaluing their award chart on March 22, 2016, which will increase the cost of many of my favorite awards. So if you buy miles you’ll want to do so with short term redemptions in mind.
Which credit card should you buy miles with?
As of last 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® 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 ~2.13 cents each, especially in light of the upcoming devaluation, but if you have a premium cabin redemption on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Etihad, Qatar, etc., in mind, it’s tough to go wrong.
We saw a better deal on a cost per cent basis a few weeks back, but if you didn’t take advantage of that, this could still be worth taking advantage of.
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?