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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 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 ~1.72 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:
|Card||Points earned on airfare spend|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve℠||3x Ultimate 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 Preferred® Card||2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||2x AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases|
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®||2x AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases|
Redeem American miles for JAL business class
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?