Promo Extended: Buy American Miles For Less Than Two Cents Each

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One of the best ways to travel in first & business class at huge discounts is by purchasing miles during promotions.

American is one of the most aggressive airlines when it comes to selling miles, and in mid-November they announced a bonus on the purchase of AAdvantage miles, which they marketed as their best offer of the year.


The offer was supposed to be valid through November 30, 2015, though American has now extended their buy miles promotion through January 4, 2016.

As a reminder, the bonus is tiered, meaning the more miles you buy, the bigger the bonus, as follows:

  • Buy 6,000-9,000 miles, get 1,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, get 3,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 20,000-29,000 miles, get 7,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 30,000-39,000 miles, get 15,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 40,000-54,000 miles, get 22,500 bonus miles
  • Buy 55,000-69,000 miles, get 30,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 70,000-84,000 miles, get 40,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 85,000-99,000 miles, get 50,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 100,000-124,000 miles, get 60,000 bonus miles
  • Buy 125,000 miles, get 75,000 bonus miles


If you max out the bonus and purchase 125,000 miles, you’d receive a bonus of 75,000 AAdvantage miles. That’s a total of 200,000 AAdvantage miles for $3994.06, which is ~2.0 cents per mile.


That is indeed their best offer of the year, but only by a little bit.

Is it a good deal?

~2.0 cents per mile isn’t a rate at which I’d speculatively purchase American AAdvantage miles (I value American miles at ~1.8 cents each). That being said, with a specific use in mind, it certainly could be worthwhile.

For example, 67,500 miles is enough for a one-way ticket in Cathay Pacific first class between the US and Asia, so for ~$1,350 out of pocket that’s not half bad.

Cathay Pacific 777 First Class

40,000 miles will get you an award in an Etihad A380 First Class Apartment between Abu Dhabi and London, so for just ~$800 out of pocket, that’s a steal.

Etihad A380 First Class Apartments

There are tons of other similarly excellent redemption opportunities out there.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that American will be devaluing their award chart on March 22, 2016, which will increase the cost of many of my favorite awards.

Which credit card should you buy miles with?

As of earlier this year, American processes mileage purchases directly (rather than through, 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:

CardPoints earned on airfare spend
The Platinum Card® from American Express5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Reserve®3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases

Bottom line

There are definitely circumstances under which this offer can represent a great deal. I wouldn’t buy the miles speculatively, though. In other words, if you have a specific use in mind (like for travel in first & business class on Cathay Pacific, Japan AirlinesEtihadQatar, etc.) and crunch the numbers, then I’d absolutely take advantage of this offer.

Do keep in mind that American is devaluing their award chart for bookings as of March 22, 2016, so ideally you’d want to make your award redemptions before then.

Do you plan on buying American miles using this promotion?

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I’m having a tough time using the miles I have so I don’t think adding to my balance would be smart. I’m checking for three different times and three different regions for 2016 and am running into phantom availability on Finnair and Qantas, and the only available AA seats to Europe seem to be on the old planes (with old J or F). I now know about how to get around the “unavailable” Etihad seats but I’m too late as seats really are gone now for my times. I could fly Qatar but I’ll leave that as a plan of last resort. I didn’t have this much trouble planning last year…

  2. Unless you can find an available award I wouldn’t buy. Availability of J and F is limited at saver award level.

  3. I have way too many American Airlines miles right now. No way to spend them all before the devaluation.

  4. Probably a Rookie Question, but New accounts are inelegible… Whats the requirement for Qualyifing there ?

  5. No, this is an attempt raise cash from people who either don’t know that there is no availability, or who mistakenly believe that there will be availability after the devaluation becomes effective.

  6. I am planning to purchase a round trip ticket to London on BA using points and cash (premium economy + points for business class). Does anyone know if I can use my AA miles to upgrade the seats again from business to first once I buy tickets?

  7. I feel I need to warn others what a VERY BAD IDEA it is right now to “invest” in anything related to AA, much less purchase their miles. You actually can get a better route, service AND price on another carrier for the amount of money you will be literally throwing away by purchasing AA miles. Availability for redemption is terrible right now and I can guarantee after March 22, it’s going to get worse. I am already seeing miles being devalued before the March 22 date (180,000 one way for ORD-PVG for example and NO saver awards EVER). It’s not going to get better.

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