American’s Newest Bonus On Purchased AAdvantage Miles

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Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

Through August 31, 2016, American is offering up to 85,000 bonus miles when you purchase AAdvantage miles.

American-Promo

The bonus miles are tiered, and based on how many you purchase, as follows:

  • Buy 15,000-29,000 miles, get 3,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 30,000-49,000 miles, get 10,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 50,000-74,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 75,000-99,000 miles, get 40,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 100,000-149,000 miles, get 55,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 150,000 miles, get 85,000 bonus miles

American-Mileage-Bonus

To achieve the lowest cost on a per mile basis you’ll want to purchase exactly 150,000 miles. If you did that, you’d receive a total of 235,000 miles at a cost of $4,786.88, which is a cost of ~2.04 cents per mile.

American-Promo-1

It’s worth noting that American’s previous bonus on purchased miles expired a few days ago, and through that promotion they were offering their best rate on purchased miles ever (as low as ~1.72 cents per mile).

As usual, AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible to purchase miles. Furthermore, there’s a cap of purchasing 150,000 AAdvantage miles per account per calendar year (pre-bonus).

Is it a good deal?

With American’s recent devaluation, my valuation of AAdvantage miles has decreased from ~1.8 cents to ~1.5 cents each. It’s international first class award redemptions which went up in price most, with awards increasing in price by up to ~70% in some instances.

Meanwhile the cost of most business class awards increased as well, though not nearly as drastically. As a reminder, here’s the cost of first and business class awards originating in the US under the new program:

Contiguous 48 U.S. To:Business ClassFirst Class
Contiguous 48 U.S. States 25,00050,000
Canada & Alaska30,00055,000
Hawaii40,00065,000
Caribbean27,50052,500
Mexico27,50052,500
Central America27,50052,500
South America Zone 130,00055,000
South America Zone 257,50085,000
Europe57,50085,000
Middle East / India70,000115,000
Africa75,000120,000
Asia Zone 160,00080,000
Asia Zone 270,000110,000
South Pacific80,000110,000

Qatar-Airways-A350-Business-Class-30
Qatar Airways business class continues to be a great use of American miles

I find the cost of business class redemptions to still be reasonable in most cases. There are certainly instances where it could make sense to pick up miles for ~2.04 cents each with an immediate use in mind, though I’m also confident we’ll see a better offer on purchased miles again sometime in the not too distant future.

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:

I value points earned on the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express and Citi Prestige® Card at ~1.7 cents each, so that’s a further “return” of ~5.1% on your spend.

Finnair-Business-Class-A350 - 5
Redeem American miles for Finnair’s new business class

Bottom line

On a per mile basis, AAdvantage miles were significantly more valuable before the devaluation. This promotion is certainly better than nothing, and buying miles for around two cents each could represent a very good deal. However, we’ve seen better deals on purchased miles in the past, so if you don’t have an immediate use in mind I wouldn’t take advantage of this offer. American is almost always offering bonuses on purchased miles nowadays, so I’d say this is basically the “normal” price.

If you are looking to buy miles, keep in mind that American allows five day award holds (meaning you can hold an award ticket, purchase miles, and then ticket the reservation). This promotion is valid for nearly a month, so you have a lot of time to decide whether or not you want to take advantage of it.

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Comments

  1. with the miles purchase and add taxes when ticketed, it comes to a cool 5k for F class to all of Asia

  2. Will pass on this one – suggest everyone do the same. They will eventually lower the price. If they bring it down to around 1.5/cents a mile I will consider it.

  3. What you have failed to mention on the AA Miles Redumption is that many of those 57,500 Miles Business Class Seats to Europe, and especially those 75,000 Miles Business Class Seats to Africa are NOT all in Business. Most of the Africa Options, even those 10 1/2 months out, include one Long Leg in Economy. You have to open the “details” to even see the economy portions. Whooppee, some award and just what I wanted to do for 11+ hours during 35 hours of travel. Not even sure if the Club allows access if your next flight leg is on Economy?

  4. You know what I’ve noticed? Lucky has yet to say any cc is not worth it after a devaluation. He always finds a way to make his referrals valid.

  5. AA, if you’re reading this, good for you that so many people won’t be buying your banana republic currency.

  6. Does it bother anyone else that as the airlines have seemingly devalued actual flying they make miles more and more available for purchase/credit card bonus/etc…

    It is almost like they’ve forgotten what the whole point of this was in the first place.

  7. I just got a big shock at AA Advantage. I had booked a flight to Brazil in February when AA announced their downgrades of awards. I had paid $970 for economy. Later I upgraded to business. The cost was 50,000 miles plus $700 additional.

    I had to cancel this trip last week and when I went to get the miles put back in the account, AA charged me $300 from the $970 for a change fee and issued a voucher. Then it cost an additional $150 to put the 50,000 miles back in my account and I lost the $700. WTF. I am a Million miler and Lifetime GOLD

    This sucks big time

  8. Sue them in small claims court for that total amount in small claims
    Court they dont wanna have to pay a lawer then you if u win ? Most defendants win these cases w airlines

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