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American is back with yet another bonus on purchased miles, following their latest promotion, which ended over the weekend.
Through March 1, 2016, American is offering up to 42,500 bonus AAdvantage miles when buying miles. Furthermore, if you buy miles by February 8, 2016, you can get a 10% discount on the purchase price.
The number of bonus miles varies based on how many you buy, as follows:
- Buy 20,000-39,000 miles, get 7,000 bonus miles
- Buy 40,000-59,000 miles, get 15,000 bonus miles
- Buy 60,000-74,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles
- Buy 75,000-99,000 miles, get 30,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000-150,000 miles, get 42,500 bonus miles
Given the tiered bonuses, you’ll achieve the lowest cent per mile cost if you purchase exactly 100,000 miles, since you’d be earning a 42.5% bonus on purchased miles. After factoring in the 10% discount which is available for the next week, the best deal you’ll get is for 142,500 miles at a cost of $2,884.13. That’s a rate of ~2.02 cents per mile.
How does this promotion compare to past promotions from American on the purchase of miles?
- In January 2016 AAdvantage sold miles for as little as ~2.13 cents each
- 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
As you can see, this is one of the better offers they’ve had, though not the case. At least that’s the case if you purchase in the next week while the 10% discount applies. 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 month.
Is it a good deal?
Keep in mind that American will be hugely devaluing their award chart for bookings as of March 22, 2016, which will increase the cost of many of my favorite awards. This is both a reason to consider buying miles, and also a reason to avoid it. I wouldn’t be speculatively buying American miles under this offer if you won’t be able to redeem them in the coming weeks.
However, if you can redeem miles before the devaluation, I’d seriously consider taking advantage of this offer. The costs of some of my favorite awards are going up by almost 70%, which is all the more reason to buy miles under this offer, if you can plan now.
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 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 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 ~2.02 cents each, especially in light of the upcoming devaluation, but if you have a short term premium cabin redemption on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Etihad, Qatar, etc., in mind, it’s tough to go wrong. If you’re looking to make a premium cabin redemption before the devaluation and don’t have enough miles, I’d seriously consider this offer.
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 before the devaluation kicks in?