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American Airlines has launched a new mileage sale in which it is offering a discount of 40% on the regular price of miles. There’s nothing majorly complicated about this sale as for once, this is an AAdvantage sale in which it doesn’t matter how many or how few miles you buy, the cost per miles doesn’t vary.
When you buy or gift at least 10,000 miles receive 40% off.
The key terms are as follows:
- The sale runs through to 30 April 2021
- The miles don’t count towards elite status
- Members may purchase, or receive as a gift, a maximum combined total of 150,000 AAdvantage miles in a calendar year.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the promotion page (here)
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the cost per miles doesn’t vary in this sale. Here’s the cost to buy 10,000 miles…
…and here’s the cost to buy 150,000 miles:
In both cases the cost per mile comes to 1.935 cents.
To put this sale in a bit of context, ordinarily 1.76 cents/mile would be one of the lowest prices we see so this isn’t one of American’s chepeast sales.
Ordinarily, 1.76 cents/mile would be the price of offered by one of the better American Airlines mileage sales so it’s hard to make a strong argument for people to dive in this time around.
What makes it harder to recommend this sale is that if you’re considering buying all the AAdvantage miles you need to book an award for travel on American Airlines, you’ll do a lot better by buying miles in the sale that Etihad is currently running (Etihad Miles can be used to book AAdvantage awards). Why pay 1.935 cents/mile when you can pay just 1.43 cents/mile and use fewer miles too.
Yes, if you can see an amazing partner award available to be booked with AAdvantage Miles (ironically, it’s cheaper to book Etihad awards with AAdvantage Miles than it is to book them with Etihad Miles) and you can see that by buying miles in this sale (and using them to make the booking) you’ll be making a considerable saving over paying for the trip with cash, then buying miles in this sale would be fine. If, however, you’re not making plans right now, my hard and fast rule about miles & points purchases comes into play.
We already know that American’s better sales see it selling miles at around 1.8 cents each so apart from the fact that no one should be buying miles if they have no immediate use for them, why would you choose to pay 7.5% above the price we know American is willing to drop to if you don’t have a trip on which to spend those miles right now? Why not wait for American to bring back a better deal?
Which Credit Cards To Use
American Airlines sells its own miles (the transactions code as travel/airline purchases) so, if you can see a good reason for buying AAdvantage Miles in this promotion, make sure you use a credit card that will earn you a travel/airline category bonus like the Amex Platinum Card (review) which will earn you 5 points/dollar.
For a lot of people, buying miles in this sale won’t make too much sense (the Etihad sale is better for award bookings on American Airlines), but for anyone looking to book a partner award this may be a sale to consider…just make sure you stick to these simple rules:
- Work out how much the miles would cost to buy
- Find the cash fare for the same route and the same dates
- Compare the two
That should give you an indication of how good or bad the deal is.
If the math works in your favor you should buy as many miles as you need but, if it doesn’t, don’t try to persuade yourself that the deal is a good one anyway (math doesn’t lie) – keep your money in your pocket and move on.