American sells miles pretty aggressively, and they’ve just announced the details of their first new buy miles promotion of 2017 (the last bonus they had launched last November, and went through January 3). So American is taking a whole day off between “limited time” promotions. 😉
American’s newest promotion is valid for mileage purchases through January 30, 2017. American is marketing this promotion as offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased miles, though as usual, the bonuses are tiered, 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 22,500 bonus miles
- Buy 70,000-99,000 miles, get 35,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000-150,000 miles, get 50,000 bonus miles
Rather unusually, this time around the biggest bonus doesn’t come if you max out the promotion, but rather if you purchase exactly 70,000 or 100,000 miles, since those thresholds offer exactly a 50% bonus. So if you purchase exactly 100,000 miles you’d receive a total of 150,000 miles at a cost of $3,201.25, which is a cost of ~2.13 cents per American mile.
This is one of the worse promotions we’ve seen on the purchase of American miles in quite a while. For example, the last promotion offered miles for as little as ~1.74 cents each.
Is it a good deal?
With American’s devaluation earlier this year, my valuation of AAdvantage miles has decreased from ~1.8 cents to ~1.5 cents each. It’s international first class award redemptions that went up most in price, 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 Class||First Class|
|Contiguous 48 U.S. States||25,000||50,000|
|Canada & Alaska||30,000||55,000|
|South America Zone 1||30,000||55,000|
|South America Zone 2||57,500||85,000|
|Middle East / India||70,000||115,000|
|Asia Zone 1||60,000||80,000|
|Asia Zone 2||70,000||110,000|
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 ~2.14 cents each with an immediate use in mind. However, I suspect we’ll see a cheaper per mile price in the coming months, if you can wait.
If you have a short term use in mind it could still make sense to buy miles with this offer, since waiting a couple of months for another offer isn’t really practical, and the difference could be negligible.
Which credit card should you buy miles with?
American processes mileage purchases directly, 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:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Citi Prestige® Card — 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card — 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card — 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Redeem American miles for JAL business class
While I wouldn’t speculatively buy miles at this price, this could represent a great value for those with a short term premium cabin redemption on a oneworld partner in mind. However, if you don’t have an immediate use in mind I’d certainly wait, since ~2.13 cents per mile is among the higher costs we’ve seen on the purchase of AAdvantage miles.
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).
Do you plan on buying American miles through this promotion?