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Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.
Through April 13, 2017, American is offering up to 115,000 bonus miles when you purchase AAdvantage miles. This is the best offer we’ve seen on purchased miles so far this year.
The bonus miles are tiered, and based on how many you purchase, as follows:
- Buy 6,000-9,000 miles, get 1,500 bonus miles
- Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, get 3,500 bonus miles
- Buy 20,000-29,000 miles, get 7,500 bonus miles
- Buy 30,000-39,000 miles, get 15,000 bonus miles
- Buy 40,000-54,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles
- Buy 55,000-69,000 miles, get 30,000 bonus miles
- Buy 70,000-84,000 miles, get 40,000 bonus miles
- Buy 85,000-99,000 miles, get 50,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000-124,000 miles, get 60,000 bonus miles
- Buy 125,000-149,000 miles, get 75,000 bonus miles
- Buy 150,000 miles, get 115,000 bonus miles
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 265,000 miles at a cost of $4,786.88, which is a cost of ~1.8 cents per mile. This is a significantly better deal on a cent per mile basis than any of the other thresholds.
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).
This is the second major promotion on the purchase of AAdvantage miles that American has launched this year. Through the previous promotion, the best cost you could achieve on a cent per mile basis was ~2.02 cents per mile, so this is quite a bit better, assuming you’re willing to buy the maximum number of miles.
Big picture, ~1.8 cents per mile is definitely among the better promotions we’ve seen on the purchase of AAdvantage miles. In December it was possible to buy miles for as little as ~1.74 cents each, which was otherwise the best offer we’ve seen. Ultimately the differences in cost are typically relatively minimal, so I’d choose when to buy miles based on when you need them, and not based on the specifics of the promotion.
Is buying American miles a good deal?
With American’s devaluation early last year, 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 U.S. 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 ~1.8 cents each with a short term use in mind. While we might see a slightly better deal on the purchase of miles in the future, I don’t think it will get much better than this.
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
- Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card — 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Redeem American miles for JAL business class
While American miles were more valuable a bit over a year ago, ~1.8 cents per mile is about as good as it gets when it comes to promotions on the purchase of miles. You can do quite well with this promotion if you’re looking to redeem a premium cabin ticket on a partner airline, especially in business class, which is the sweet spot nowadays.
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?