American Airlines Is Selling Miles Again….But It’s Next Promotion Will Be Much Better


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Paying attention to small details sometimes pays off and the fact that I write this blog means that I have to keep a reasonably close eye on what the various mileage sales look like….and that helps me spot trends.

Whoever is in charge of releasing American Airlines mileage deals is clearly too busy with other matters to put any effort into these sales as they’ve become incredibly predictable.

Back in early November 2017 I advised readers not to buy miles in the sale that was running at the time as I predicted that American would offer miles at 1.77 cents each in its next promotion (because that’s what it had done in 2016).

A little over 3 weeks later American Airlines was selling miles at 1.77 cents each.

In November last year I made the same prediction and, just two days later, out came the sale at 1.77 cents/mile.

In January 2018 American Airlines offered it’s miles for sale at 2.1 cents each and, to give the airline credit, it changed things a little in January 2019 when it offered them at 2.14 cents each….but I think we can agree that the deals weren’t exactly poles apart.

American Airlines has now launched its February 2019 mileage sale and this is what it looks like:

This is one of the slightly more convoluted mileage sales that we see from American Airlines because it involves bonus miles, a discount and, to cap it all off, buying the maximum number of miles doesn’t get you the cheapest cost/mile.

Buying 150,000 AAdvantage miles in this sale will cost $4,316.19 and will net the purchaser 192,500 miles after the bonus has been accounted for.

That works out to a cost/mile of ~2.24 cents

If you were to buy 100,000 miles in this sale they’ll set you back $2,889.12 and you’ll net 142,500 miles after the bonus has been accounted for.

That works out to a cost/mile of ~2.03 cents

The funny thing is that I didn’t actually need to do any of that math to know what this sale looks like because it’s exactly the same sale that American Airlines ran in February 2018.

With all this repetition going on it’s not that much of a stretch to believe that the next few promotions we see from American Airlines will be similar (or even exactly the same) as the promotion we saw at a similar time in 2018.

Clearly there’s no guarantee that the past will repeat itself but, considering the number of times it has done exactly that over the last 24 months (I haven’t listed every occasion this has happened), I feel reasonably confident in predicting that we’ll see AAdvantage Miles on sale at around 1.8 cents in the next few months.

Even if you don’t value my soothsayer powers (and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t!) 2.03 cents is a lot to pay for a currency I value at no higher than 1.25 cents.

Premium cabin saver award availability is low, mileage upgrades are very hard to confirm at the time of booking and none of this shows any sign of changing…so why pay over 2.0 cents/mile when we can be almost 100% sure that American will sell its miles for less than this at some point in the year (probably in March)?

Bottom Line

If you desperately need to top up your AAdvantage account to book an award that’s available to book right now then clearly it’s ok to buy a few thousand miles in this sale…but otherwise I think you should stay away.

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