Buy American Miles With Up To A 50% Bonus

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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.

American-Bonus

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

American-Bonus-2

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.

American-Bonus-1

How does this promotion compare to past promotions from American on the purchase of miles?

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.

Krug
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

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:

Bottom line

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 AirlinesEtihadQatar, 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?

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Comments

  1. I received an email about this offer. Thank you for blogging about it.

    What is really helpful is that you include a “history” of offers. Thank you so much for that. It helps me see the bigger picture.

  2. Your examples of uses for the miles are great, but I keep hearing that the availability for those flights is almost zilch. Do you have a different experience?

  3. @mike

    Not true, I booked Etihad A380 F thanks to lucky for a trip in June…followed his example to the T and was booked in 5 minutes after having to call Australia. LHR-AUH is available for a random dummy booking May 21…keep looking

  4. Looking to go Business/First from YVR to DEL in July for 3 pax i.e. 405,000 miles. That means 2 purchases of 100,000 (+50,000) and 1 of 70,000 (+35,000) for an exact total of 405,000 miles and a cost of $8,639. Very tempted except unsure on availability.

    Also, if I buy today and book tickets tomorrow, will that count as being redeemed before March 22nd even if the travel date is in July?

    Thanks!

  5. @Vish you can put award tickets on hold for 5 days. So search now hold the tickets then buy the miles you need.

    And yes the travel date is irrelevant it’s the millage redemption date that counts re the March 22nd change.

    Doubt you’ll find many flights with 3 F tickets available though.

  6. Answered my own question: “The miles successfully purchased or transferred will post to the designated account immediately”

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