American Is Offering Their First New Buy Miles Promo Of 2017

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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.

aa-bonus

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 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 ~2.14 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:

Japan-Airlines-Business-Class-777 - 1
Redeem American miles for JAL business class

Bottom line

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?

Comments

  1. If you’re chart is correct, don’t you still get 50% bonus, even if you just buy 70k miles?
    (50% of 70k is 35k)

  2. i still cant find any jal awards from japan to manchester/londonm just BA awards only, and no one would buy miles to try BA business flights in the right mind, so i think i will stick with lifemiles.

  3. @Tom – That’s the part that gets you? What about the part that they are constantly having sales on purchasing miles yet never releasing any premium award space?

  4. Am ELATED to start off my New Year kissing off AA. After years as an EP, last year was the final straw with 11 of 11 booked trips changed via email notice. Can’t do business that way – and no, I won’t wait till you “get things sorted out.” Here’s just a partial list of why I’m so happy to have thrown off the AA yoke and jumped to JetBlue:
    1. 11 of 11 booked trips changed for god knows what reason – automated re-booking usually wrong, 5 hr connex times, or next day — only way to know this is via constant flight res checking or via email notice.
    2. 7 out of 9 past flights involved delays – not weather – 2 involved missed connections requiring unwanted overnight stays
    3. EP desk that has NO autonomy to do much of anything to assist AA’s most FF’ers.
    4. Calling EP desk and told you’ll be called back in 20 minutes – when it’s your turn or holding 20 minutes. Good grief – if it’s that long for EP, then how long must non-elites wait to talk with an AA rep?
    5. 75k for a one way FC award ticket? R u kidding me??? Yep – a total rip off – just try and find a lower mileage based award on a Fri or Sunday even several months out. And these mileage sales are always an absurdly bad value.
    6. Why is AA the only airline that requires “ticket pending” when you buy a ticket? So you have to wait for purchase to go thru to check in — ridiculous. Not to mention that there is no award booking capability on their mobile site (oh wait – they are “working on this”)
    7. People who clearly do NOT like their jobs… probably the worst aspect of flying AA – you just don’t see this on JetBlue.

    I could go on, and yes, I know there are exceptions or there are those loyalists who would never jump ship. As for me, will burn my AA miles on partner carriers and hope to NEVER have to fly AA again. The merger was the death knell for a once-great carrier, and the current mess should be a case study for the Harvard Business School.

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