American Is Offering Up To A 40% Discount On Purchased Miles

Through May 31, 2017, American is offering up to a 40% discount when you purchase AAdvantage miles.

American-Bonus-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

American-Bonus-Miles-1

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.

American-Bonus-Miles-2

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 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 ~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.

Bottom line

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?

Comments

  1. The key part of this post is that “saver level award availability on American metal is virtually non-existent.”

    That’s all that your customers see now AA.

  2. Given the issues with saver availability, you should also be posting AAnytime redemption costs so people understand what they really are buying

  3. @Anthony, completely agree! Let’s stop misleading the customer and show examples of how much it would cost using AAnytime awards vs buying a ticket.

  4. Yall need to remember that oneworld partner availability can be quite good and that unless you’re flying BA or IB, AA doesn’t pass along fuel surcharges. That’s where AAdvantage miles are worth most.

  5. Folks, of course I agree there’s very little award space on American, and I clearly pointed that out. However, there are plenty of people who value this opportunity for the purposes of redeeming on partners. So of course I’ll promote this, since I know a lot of people find value in partner AAdvantage redemptions.

  6. @lucky Are you allowed to buy a connecting flight on the same PNR for partner redemptions (since AA doesn’t have Saver Award Inventory)?

  7. @ chesterwilson — Nope, you’d have to do so on a separate record. You can’t combine a paid and award flight on a single record.

  8. Unless this have changed, you can have paid and award ticket on one record. You will have to call

  9. I’ve also phoned in for a combo paid and award ticket on one record but perhaps now they’ve eliminated that as well……

  10. @lucky which people value this opportunity? I’d like a to meet them.i have some HOV lane passes in Mexico to sell them instead

  11. I have to travel to China from the US soon and am trying to decide between American’s Business class or United’s First class for about the same money. I swore off United for log haul flights about 4 years ago, but the money being almost the same has me wondering. Any suggestions on which one is better?

  12. Hey American, why don’t you give me $2,884.13 for my 150,000 miles since I cannot redeem them for award seats?

  13. There’s tons of value to be had from AA miles. Like Lucky says, currently the value is to be had from partner redemptions. This year alone I’ve redeemed AA miles for my GF and I return from Singapore in CX J. I’ve redeemed them for later this year for a QR J flight to MLE and our return in EY F. Me personally, I would never use my AA miles for a domestic redemption or to fly on AA metal if the choice of a partner is there. I can always buy those flights, get complimentary upgrades or burn a SWU. What I’ll never buy is an $18k flight in CX F.
    This specific promotion? I’d only take advantage of it if I needed to pad my account for a specific redemption and the cost of buying is significantly less than paying for the flight.

  14. @Peter B – great summary. Using similar approach as even after devaluation partners like CX, EY are great values to redeem miles 🙂

  15. Not buying. Normal reasons. Devaluations. No domestic availability. Outrageous BA fees.

    In other words: fool me once shame on American Airlines. Fool me twice shame on me. Plopping down cash for nearly worthless miles, well, and idiot and his money are soon parted.

  16. You really should include a typical standard award price in addition to saver charts given AA availability. Unless you’re redeeming on partners, finding saver space is exceptionally difficult.

  17. Maybe someday a blogger will post an open letter to American to quit selling miles until they improve award availability…Nah…Will Never Happen.

  18. Not bad to top up. I’m sitting on 800K american miles, and burning them all as fast as I can. AA is giving away SO many miles I sense another major devaluation (worse than no award space).

  19. @TravellingRabbit If you’d like to donate 150K of those miles to me, I would greatly appreciate it for a future trip I will have 😉

  20. At this price that is about $2300 for an award ticket to Europe ($3300 after tax in BA) or $2300 ish for an award ticket to South America. So if there is award space it could be fine. But more than likely you could probably find a paid business class ticket with more dates available for the money.

    I am not a buyer.

  21. All you need to know is that there are no saver awards for international business class. Saver economy class may be available for domestic fllights if your willing to make multiple stops. A sucker’s deal for sure.

  22. I can almost guarantee another devaluation coming soon. Don’t forget, PEY (premium economy) isn’t available for redemption yet. Once they introduce that onto the AA chart, I can almost guarantee another devaluation.

  23. Gary is right-you can see that AA is planning another devaluation. If you checked about a week ago before this discussion posted, you would have seen that availability from a non-major airport (for example, RSW, CIRA, SAR, TPA, yadda yadda) to international locations for next year have ABSOLUTELY NO saver availability and the award points used are at the max. Note to newbies: if you do a search now, AA award availability looks better because they SERIOUSLY read this blog as well as other major travel bloggers (such as View from the Wing) and AA corrects the situation for a short time on their award availability in an attempt to look reasonable. Give them about two weeks and it will be back to what it was (horrible) on availability. I wouldn’t even purchase AA miles right now at 90% discount. It’s that bad!

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