Buy American Miles For The Lowest Price We’ve Seen This Year

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Through June 30, 2017, American is offering up to 100,000 bonus miles plus a 10% discount when you purchase AAdvantage miles. This is the lowest price we’ve seen on purchased AAdvantage miles so far this year.

While you get a 10% discount as long as you purchase at least 11,000 miles, the number of bonus miles you earn varies based on how many miles you buy, as follows:

  • Buy 11,000-20,000 miles, get 2,500 bonus miles plus a 10% discount
  • Buy 21,000-50,000 miles, get 5,000 bonus miles plus a 10% discount
  • Buy 51,000-75,000 miles, get 15,000 bonus miles plus a 10% discount
  • Buy 76,000-100,000 miles, get 27,500 bonus miles plus a 10% discount
  • Buy 101,000-125,000 miles, get 45,000 bonus miles plus a 10% discount
  • Buy 126,000-149,000 miles, get 70,000 bonus miles plus a 10% discount
  • Buy 150,000 miles, get 100,000 bonus miles plus a 10% 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 a total of 250,000 miles at a cost of $4,311.19, which is a cost of ~1.72 cents per mile. This is the best price we’ve seen on purchased AAdvantage miles so far this year.

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).

For context, ~1.72 cents per mile is among the best prices 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. I don’t recall seeing a lower price than this on the purchase of AAdvantage miles in the past couple of years, but then again, you do have to buy $4,000+ worth of miles to achieve that price, and I’d say the miles are also worth less than ever before.

Is buying American miles a good deal?

When American devalued their award chart early last year, my valuation of AAdvantage miles has decreased from ~1.8 cents to ~1.5 cents each. My valuation of American miles has further dropped from ~1.5 cents to ~1.3 cents in the past few months, as I recently explained. With American’s big devaluation 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 ~1.72 cents each with a short term use in mind.

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 American miles were more valuable a bit over a year ago, ~1.72 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. Just be aware that saver award availability on American metal is virtually non-existent, so don’t buy these with the intention of actually redeeming on American.

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?

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Comments

  1. The lowest price ever to generate AA miles was 1.0 cents per miles via US share promo. That was a while ago though.

  2. I’ll pass thanks. Etihad cuts back First Apartment benefits on AAdvantage redemption, there really isn’t a stopover policy, the redemption is more difficult, and you can get 50k by applying to the Aviator card easily.

    Anyone who bites either is desperate or foolish.

  3. @Lucky: what does the 10% discount relate to? Regarding the total cost we see ($4,311.19): is that AFTER the 10% discount?

  4. Yeah not sure I would want to shell out $4000 for miles. To me its all about earning miles for nothing and not paying for them, that’s the real joy in the miles game.

  5. Assuming you value MR at $0.02 each, paying with Amex Platinum is effectively another 10% discount, bringing cpm down to 1.55 cents. That’s not great, but a value if you have flexibility to find business SAAver awards.

  6. Buy SPG points at 2.275 cents per point and transfer to AA before 6/15 to get additional 25%. So for buying and transferring (20,000) SPG points will cost $455 but one will get 31,250 AA miles at 1.456 cents per mile.

  7. Why anyone would ever do this is beyond me. Topping off a few thousand to get to an already booked and pending award, ok.. But to give these programs one penny extra given devaluations and lack and availability is naive at best. American and the rest deserve a quiet demise in realizing that if you want us to pay then make it worth something and stop the barriers to redemption.

  8. https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/miles/partners/hotels/convert-hotel-points-to-miles.jsp

    2017 Conversion Bonus
    Earn 25% bonus miles when you convert hotel points

    From now through June 15, 2017, convert your hotel points to American Airlines AAdvantage® miles, and you’ll earn a 25% bonus on the amount of miles you receive from the conversion.

    That means converting your hotel points into 20,000 AAdvantage miles will earn you an extra 5,000 bonus miles. Don’t wait, you’re getting one step closer to your adventure, convert today.

  9. As an adjunct, given deals on R/T business class to Europe, Asia or South American I can easily find fares that are far less than than what it will cost you in “paid” miles. This is just, well, plain and simply put, dumb.

  10. I’ve been using AA miles for over 8 years to fly to South America. Now that my miles with AA are almost spent I am planning to switch to Avianca’s program, that seems to be way more convenient. Could you please comment on this or suggest a better option. I would greatly appreciate it.

  11. This can be a good deal for some. For example, a business class ticket from GRU-LAX might cost 7K roundtrip, but if you purchase these miles for $4K you can book your ticket and save 3 thousand dollars, which sounds like a great deal to me.

  12. To say that the price is lower than it has been for AAdvantage miles compared to past years is like saying you can get a grape today for less than you paid for an apple a while back. Today’s AAdvantage mile bears no resemblance in value and usefulness to the one you could have bought before. I’ve read that AAdvantage is an extremely valuable asset for the corporation. Why they are taking this asset and draining it of value is beyond me. These days I doubt I would be a buyer at 1.0 cpm.

  13. Given the fact that AA Anytime awards are wide open, I’m willing to buy as many miles as DisAAdvantage will sell me for $0.00000000001 per mile. 🙂

  14. There is little point in buying miles when there is near to zero award seat availability.
    For the last few days I have monitored a CX seat I would like to book, as available on BA, QF and CX sites. It’s inside the 330 day booking period, but each day I have rang AA only to be told no availability.

  15. Not too long ago AA just had a promo on their buying Aadvantage miles program. If I remember correctly that promo was about a month ago. Now they offered a better deal than previous, So I’m guessing not many people are buying AA miles in the previous promo and now this offer comes up. We should continue not buying and let’s see what they will do next.

  16. This is a very good value – depending on what you will use these miles for. I have done this in the past and used the 250,000 miles purchased for around $4,500 towards 2 R/T business class tix from the Mideast on partner airlines. The total redemption for these tix is 270,000 miles, at 70K per person each way, but its pretty close to 250K. Depending on the partner airline there will be additional fees (avoid BA if possible for this reason, while Royal Jordanian was very reasonable with only $44 total extra fees ). My view is that R/T biz class from the Mideast to the US for less than $2,500 per person is pretty good.

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