Buy American AAdvantage Miles For Less Than Two Cents Each

American is running two simultaneous promotions at the moment on the purchase of AAdvantage miles, which together lower the cost of purchased miles to below two cents each.

The first offer is for up to a 30% bonus on the purchase of AAdvantage miles. The bonus is tiered in such a way that you’re only getting a 30% bonus if you purchase at least 60,000 AAdvantage miles. The tiered bonus looks as follows:


This bonus is available through February 28, 2014, and in and of itself is a pretty standard bonus on the purchase of AAdvantage miles.

The second bonus is what makes this promotion better than normal. For four days only (through 11PM CT on Thursday, February 6, 2014), American is offering a further 10% discount on the purchase of AAdvantage miles. That means if you max out this promotion you would receive a total of 78,000 AAdvantage miles for $1,542.69, which is 1.98 cents per mile.


Anyway, this is about as good of a deal as you’ll see on the purchase of AAdvantage miles. It’s normal to see promotions whereby they’re selling them for 2.1-2.2 cents each, but under two cents per mile is somewhat rare.

This still isn’t an offer I’d speculatively take advantage of, though. With a specific use in mind it could definitely make sense to take advantage of this promotion, like if you can snag Cathay Pacific or Qantas first class award seats. Do keep in mind that American allows five day holds on AAdvantage award tickets, so you can always hold the award tickets, then purchase the miles, and then complete the purchase.

Do keep in mind that accounts have to be least 14 days old to take advantage of this promotion, and points purchases are processed by, meaning they don’t qualify as airfare spend for the purposes of your credit card.

PS: Am I going crazy or did American raise their cap on the purchase of AAdvantage miles? I could have sworn it used to be 60,000, but the terms now state that you can purchase no more than 80,000 miles per calendar year.


  1. Lucky – I understand AS is currently running a new promotion for their miles, any idea if there is a limit to the number of miles I can purchase?

  2. Unless you want/need these miles right away, doesn’t it make more sense to buy under the US Air promo they have, considering those miles will be AA miles soon enough.

  3. @ Dan — Yes and no. We don’t know whether US Airways will have a new award chart before they join OneWorld, what kind of redemption rates they’ll have, etc. So there’s definitely some risk, and I wouldn’t necessarily assume you can redeem US Airways miles for travel on OneWorld at the current prices American charges.

  4. Does the 80K mile max a year include the bonus they give you? So if I purchase 60K I get 18K plus if I bought another batch of 20K you get 5K for a total of 80K bought miles plus 23k bonus miles which equals to 103K miles.

  5. You said that they don’t qualify as airfare spend for my credit card, but if I buy miles, will count as a spend in my credit card? So, I can reach faster the minimum amount I have to spend in my credit card to get free bonus miles. It seems I good way for that, as you can get even more miles.

  6. @ Lilian — Yes it absolutely counts as credit card spend, I was just saying that you don’t accrue bonus miles as if it’s airfare spend. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers double points on travel, and this purchase wouldn’t qualify as travel.

  7. Hey Lucky, I’m thinking of buying miles to get to Asia, in order to take advantage of my EY ticket (which I’m sure you saw at FT). Is it better to do AS or AA for redemptions on CX? On AA, I guess I would have to get my girlfriend to buy on her account and book the ticket for herself as well as there is a limit on the amount of points that you can get with AA.

    I’m okay with either J or F, though it would be awesome to be able to try CX F and EY F on the same trip. Not that CX J is anything to sneeze at – and I haven’t tried it before either!

  8. The cap until now was 60,000 base miles. It very much looks like they increased that to 80,000 miles. That’s a nice increase. I’m wondering why US and AA are increasingly determined to selling miles so cheap…

    Are they trying to cash in on miles purchases before a massive AAward devaluations announcement on March 31st?

  9. @ Diondi — Well American would charge 67,500 AAdvantage miles, while Alaska would charge 70,000 miles. You can’t go wrong either way. I might consider doing Alaska so you can book both tickets out of one account, even though it will be marginally more expensive.

  10. My offer says 10% discount, but when I place the order it comes up like this:

    The cost to buy 80,000 + 18,000 Bonus miles is $2,045.25 USD

    This is more than two cents per mile, no?

  11. @lucky – I don’t doubt at all that the lower pricing is still profitable for the airline. I’m more concerned that it’s a strategy to get people to load up on miles thinking that they’ll be able to redeem them for X-number of business-class flights. Then once people have loaded up their accounts, they devalue the award redemption rates.

    Buying AA points at 1.98cpm is a way better value than buying DL points at 1.98cpm because the redemption rates are better at AA. I’ll get more value out of spending $1600 with AA for points than I would with DL. But if after luring thousands of people in to loading up their AAdvantage accounts at low prices AA turns around and spikes redemption rates, then what today looks like a great value may no longer look like a good value after a massive award change.

    I guess in other words, if you buy the miles make sure to book soon!

  12. @ Kalboz — Correct, the “sweet spot” is to purchase exactly 60,000 miles plus the bonus. That’s because the tiered bonus of 18,000 miles applies if you purchase 60,000 or more miles. So you’d be maximizing the cent per mile ratio by purchasing exactly 60,000 miles.

  13. Can you break up the 80k to 60k (+18k) and 20k (+5k), to get extra 5k bonus? granted the 2nd $35 fee will kick in, but $35 for 5k is not bad in my opinion. did I get this right?

    @Jon, i am worrying about the same thing.

  14. @ Jon — Yep, good point, though I think that almost always applies. I mean, US Airways has been selling miles for cheap for a long time, and every time they do so some people say “watch out, a devaluation is coming soon.” And there hasn’t really been a major one in several years. I’m sure it’s coming soon *now* due to the merger, but I think ultimately this is just a way for them to make more money without deeper intentions than that.

  15. I’ve still not been credited with the 20% bonus from the sale in December. Were supposed to arrive by end of Jan. Anyone else got them yet?

  16. Lucky – I have a stupid or crazy idea… is it worth it to pay extra to route thru SE Asia but using Etihad and paying 2 seperate award tix for F?

  17. Not too sure if this is a good deal, I mean the AA executive Card is offering 100K, for less then $350, this includes the $200 statement credit, and the 10K of VR you have to buy…

  18. @Lucky, they might be making money, but not necessarily as much money. I live in Iowa and if I fly to Rio its about $1200. During off peak I can fly round trip for 40k miles. This pretty much allows me 2 trips down there for $1400.

  19. @Lucky, I tried to place a hold on a booking from Sydney to Istanbul via Doha on QF-QR and the agent said this would be priced at 75k miles. There weren’t any stopovers, just transits less than 6 hours each, but they seemed to price it as South Pacific to Middle East then Middle East to Europe (45k + 30k). Any idea why?

  20. Thanks Lucky. That’s such a terrible policy, as there are virtually no premium award seats between Australia and BKK/SIN/HKG! Qantas routed all of their Europe business through DUB.

  21. I am thinking of using this offer for issuing a ticket with CX from HKG to LAX at the end of this year. I want to add a leg from LAX to Chicago. However, I do not have any concrete plan at the moment and might finally give up the idea of going east coast. Should I first issue a ticket HKG-LAX-ORD, and call reservations center to make changes to drop the leg LAX-ORD if I cancel the plan? How much would that cost for making such changes to AA award tickets?

  22. @ Happy — You can always change the date of travel later for travel between Los Angeles and Chicago, and there would be no fee for doing so. The only catch is that travel has to be complete within a year of the date the ticket is issued.

    If ultimately you decide you don’t want to take the last segment you can always just skip it without paying a fee.

  23. @ Tobias — The terms seem to suggest that the bonus miles post with the “base” miles, within 72 hours of when the purchase is made.

  24. Why the total cost of 60000 + 18000 turns out to be $1,631.38 USD? Is that because my registered address is outside U.S.?

  25. Hello – question: I am trying to book a one way ticket from EZE to JFK using American Miles. Will the miles still the same even if airlines is LAN? American Airlines is 50,000 miles from EZE to JFK on business class but LAN is 62,500 miles. Using the American miles, will I pay the 50,000 miles? Thanks in advance!

  26. @ Pedro — Yes, it would also cost 50,000 miles in business class to fly LAN. You’re always charged based on the award chart of the airline with which you’re redeeming miles.

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