American Airlines Black Friday AAdvantage Sale – Buy Miles From 1.77 Cents

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American Airlines is running a special Black Friday promotion alongside the “buy miles and get a bonus promotion” it launched earlier this month. Anyone buying AAdvantage miles between now and 11:59:59pm CT on 28 November 2016 will get an additional 20% bonus on the miles that they purchase.

The original promotion offered miles from 1.91 cents each and I cautioned against  jumping in to buy at that value. At 1.77 cents each, however, the offer just got a lot more interesting.

Headline T&Cs

  • AAdvantage members must purchase at least 10,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction
  • Promotion runs from 12:00:00am CT November 25, 2016 to 11:59:59pm CT November 28, 2016
  • Each AAdvantage member is limited to purchasing or receiving in a calendar year, a combined total of no more than 150,000 AAdvantage miles.
  • Bonus miles earned do not count toward the annual purchase limits.
  • Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible.

The Math

This is what the promotion now looks like……..screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-15-16-43

….and, as before, to get the best cost/mile you’re better off buying the minimum number of miles in each band. I.e don’t buy 99,000 miles, buy 100,000 miles….you’ll be paying less per mile.

To get the cheapest price/mile you’ll need to buy the maximum amount allowable – 150,000 miles – which will cost you $4,786.88:screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-15-15-27

$4,786.88 will get you 270,000 AAdvantage miles and brings the cost out to 1.77 cents per mile.


Should You Buy AAdvantage Miles At This Level

This is one of the cheapest prices we’ve seen for AAdvantage miles so, if you’re ever going to buy miles, now is as good a time as any….but that’s doesn’t mean that I think you should.

The biggest issue I have with purchasing AAdvantage miles is that you’re unlikely to be able to use them on American Airlines (economically) with any ease – the airline simply doesn’t release SAAver award inventory very often and this has been the silent devaluation we’ve had foisted upon us.

Even if you could get SAAver awards I’m not sure they’re that great of a deal any more.

American offers Business Class SAAver awards between the US and Europe at 115,000 roundtrip and those miles would cost around $2,035 in this promotion. That’s hardly spectacular when Business Class cash fares can often be found for under $2,000.

The value to/from Asia would be better as those routes tend to see fewer good Business Class sales…but you still have the issue of finding award space in the first place.

You may be able to get value from some of American’s partner awards….but that’s a lot harder to do since Parker & Co. decided to decimate the award chart back in March.

One of the better value propositions is probably a roundtrip Qatar Airways Business Class award from the US to the Middle East for 140,000 miles. In this promotion that would set you back $2,478 and that’s not a bad price at all.

Other awards that could be considered worthwhile are JAL Business Class and First Class awards to Tokyo (120,000 and 180,000 miles respectively for a roundtrip). $2,124 isn’t bad for a Business Class roundtrip and $3,186 is pretty good for JAL’s First Class product too.

Something That May Make This Deal Better

If you have the Amex Platinum personal card you may be able to earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar you spend on AAdvantage Miles.american-express-platinum-card-personal

As I noted on Wednesday, Amex appears to be awarding 5x points on a variety of purchases from airlines (not just airfare) and, as American Airlines processes its own mileage sales (most airlines use, there’s a very good chance that a purchase of AAdvantage Miles will trigger the extra points.

Note: I have not tested this myself – this is just a theory.

Bottom Line

Despite the fact that this is one of the cheapest rates we’ve seen American sell miles recently I still wouldn’t buy any miles speculatively – there’s no guarantee that SAAver awards will be released and there’s no guarantee that American won’t reprice the award charts before you get to use the miles.

If you can see that an award you want to book is actually available and if the math shows the price you’re paying for the miles makes it a good deal, then by all means buy what you need….but don’t go buying miles in the hope that you’ll find some great way to use them down the line.

Having cash in your pocket is almost always better than having miles in your AAdvantage account.

Link to the latest promotion