Through May 31, 2017, American is offering up to a 40% discount when you purchase AAdvantage miles.
The discount is tiered, and you get a bigger discount the more miles you buy, as follows:
- Buy 11,000-25,000 miles, get a 10% discount
- Buy 26,000-50,000 miles, get a 20% discount
- Buy 51,000-100,000 miles, get a 30% discount
- Buy 101,000-149,000 miles, get a 35% discount
- Buy 150,000 miles, get a 40% discount
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 150,000 miles at a cost of $2,884.13, which is a cost of ~1.92 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. Do note that typically when American has a promotion on buying miles it comes in the form of bonus miles rather than a discount, so if you’re looking to accrue more than 150,000 miles, you’ll want to wait for a bonus rather than a discount (given the annual cap on buying miles)
If you are looking to buy American miles, it’s worth knowing that this is one of the higher cost promotions we’ve seen. For example, last month we saw a cost of 1.8 cents per purchased mile, and in December we saw a cost of 1.74 cents per purchased mile.
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 ~1.9 cents each with a short term use in mind. However, we’ve seen better prices on purchased miles in the past, so I might wait for that.
Also keep in mind that saver level award availability on American metal is virtually non-existent, so don’t buy miles with the purpose of redeeming on American flights.
American frequently has promotions on the purchase of miles, and this is among the less lucrative ones we’ve seen in a while. With a specific use in mind it could make sense to still buy American miles, though just remember that they devalued their award chart last year, and that award availability on American metal at the saver level is very tough to come by.
If you are looking to buy miles, 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?