Buy American Miles For As Little As 1.72 Cents Each Through July 31, 2017

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American has just announced their latest promotion on purchased miles, which looks remarkably similar to the promotion that expired just a few days ago, on June 30, 2017. I’m guessing American’s intern responsible for their buy miles promotion is on vacation this month. 😉

Through July 31, 2017, American is offering up to 100,000 bonus miles plus a 10% discount when you purchase AAdvantage miles. This is among the lowest prices we’ve seen on purchased AAdvantage miles.

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.

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 (though again, this offer is identical to the one we saw last month). 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. @Lucky – In case you haven’t seen it, today I recieved an Amex Offer, spend 1000+ get 20,000 points for any airberlin booking throught airberlin’s website between now and september. Very similar to the AirFrance offer a few months back.

  2. Recently I was looking at first class seats in JAL on BA.com (I have biz awards booked but looking to upgrade). They had about 6 seats in AA biz listed for savers. On AA.com I noticed 4-6 biz saver seats open from ORD to NRT on AA. I’d probably still rather take JAL biz over AA but it’s good to see them open some availability on their own flights.

  3. I have about 400,000 AA miles. I am trying to use them before they are devalued further. So I won’t be purchasing at any price for the time being.

    Well, maybe if they were 1 cent a mile, I would consider. But then, I would not even buy Delta miles at 1 cent a mile.

    To show how bad it is, I belong to AA Restaurants and I am VIP, so I get 5 AA miles per dollar spent. I am thinking about switching to Alaska Airline version on the same, as I am thinking that 3 Alaska miles while I build up to VIP might be worth as much as 5 AA miles.

  4. Are you kidding? How about AA offer to buy my AA miles from me for 1.72 cents? I’d jump on that. AA miles are worthless now.

  5. @Greg. I did notice some AA international FC seats available from HKG to LAX recently. The real problem with AA right now is domestic business or first availability. It used to be, if I wanted to fly premium from Asia (say HKG) to New York, I would search NYC, SAN, LAX, SFO, ORD, BOS, and SEA for first or business class. Once I would find that seat, I would then book the connector to NYC when it became available. Now, such availability is problematic.

  6. @Flyer Fun … that makes sense. I’m based out of ORD and forget that I’m generally lucky in that I often don’t need connecting flights within the US to Asia. I guess if there’s economy saver availability domestic to the city you need that may work? (less desirable, I know)

  7. The sweet spot is at 126k miles, not 150k miles.

    Going for 126k(+70k) comes out to 1.706 cents per mile, at a cost of $3,345.30.

  8. Yeah, in December I used AAdvantage for business award travel booked well before the last devaluation, two seats, and flew ATL-DOH-SIN (QR), HKG-JFK (CX), then LGA-ATL (AA). That meant redeeming for three separate awards! Six months from now I’m going from ATL to FCO, two seats, but had to use DL via JFK at the old saver rate of 70K. (That is actually remarkable). Return is BCN-ATL. American kept trying to push me to BA with its mediocre business class and high fees. But I did get BCN-MAD-MIA with Iberia, MIA-ATL on AA. That’s just OK as IB still has junk fees-just not as ridiculous as American. With 800,000+ AADvantage miles left, I won’t bite on this offer as no matter how many miles I have I can’t get two award seats to Australia or New Zealand within the range of dates that would be acceptable. Alas.

  9. @Greg. I can more often find saver business than saver economy. I would not swear by it since I don’t remember if I have tried personally, but I do not think American will allow you to use a standard economy award with a saver business award.

    I should say my last saver award HKG (CX First)-Ord (AA First)-EWR in March of this year, so it is still possible. Also, I have a FC ticket scheduled from BKK (Bus)-HKG (First)-JFK in September, so awards are still available.

  10. Great deal, definitely will consider, since roundtrip business class tix from south america can run up to 7K

  11. I still have miles I bought from NWA before the merger. Northwest had the best deal on purchasing miles; wasn’t it like 50/50??? I still have 320k AA miles and my husband has 285K miles. So I guess I need to use them first before I buy any more.

  12. Not interested in buying AA miles at this price . I might bite @ 1cent/mile. 3 big reasons:

    1) recent devaluation, for example huge increase in F to asia1
    2) poor availability
    3) decent paid J fares out there (sse FT thread)

  13. If I were ever going to do this, it would be for targeted trips. Otherwise, I find it hard to justify buying miles at this cost, for reasons you and the community have echoed:

    1) Saver award availability is poor
    2) Devaluation

    Lucky, are you sure you can’t use your ‘blogging influence’ and convince the Powers That Be at AA to open up availability? 🙂

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