Buy AAdvantage Miles From 1.78 Cents Each (A Low Price)


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American Airlines is selling its currency at a discount once again and, while that should surprise absolutely no one, the slightly odd thing about this sale is that it looks as if the deals on offer vary (slightly) from person to person and there doesn’t appear to be a published end date for the sale either.

American Airlines 767 Business Class

My Offer

  • Buy 15,000 – 69,000 and get 35% bonus miles
  • Buy 70,000 – 99,000 and get 50% bonus miles
  • Buy 100,000 – 149,000 and get 70% bonus miles
  • Buy 150,000 – 150,000 and get 80% bonus miles

Other offers that I’ve seen or read about aren’t altogether different from what I see in my account but there are definitely variations in how the price bands have been set out.

Headline Terms & Conditions

  • Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible.
  • The miles successfully purchased usually post to the designated account right away, but please allow up to 8 hours for processing.
  • Prices are in U.S. dollars and do not include taxes or the applicable per transaction processing charge.
  • Miles purchased, transferred or received as a gift do not count toward elite-status qualification.
  • Members may purchase for themselves or receive as a gift, a maximum combined total of 150,000 AAdvantage miles in a calendar year.
  • Bonus miles do not count towards the annual limit.
  • The miles purchased with the Buy Miles program and received with the Gift Miles program do not count towards AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Executive Platinum or AAdvantage Million MilerSM status qualification.

Please refer to the promotion page to see the full terms and conditions

The Math

To buy AAdvantage Miles at the cheapest available rate you’ll have to buy the full allowance of 150,000 miles at a cost of $4,794.50.

At this price, an AAdvantage member would be buying miles at ~1.78 cents each which is one of the best rates at which we’ve seen AAdvantage miles sold for some time.

It’s also worth noting that it’s possible to buy 100,000 miles for ~1.89 cents each which, while not as good as the best rate on offer, is still a relatively low rate at which to see AAdvantage miles on sale.

Thoughts

Let’s get an important disclaimer out of the way right away: No one should be buying AAdvantage miles speculatively. If you think you’d like to book an award and need to buy miles to do so you should first check that the award you’ll looking for is available on dates that you can travel.

If award availability isn’t there you should recognize that by buying miles and sitting on them you risk watching them devalue before you get a chance to use them. You have been warned.

Warnings of doom aside, it’s definitely worth noting that at ~1.78 cents/mile this is very close to as cheap as we see AAdvantage miles on sale so, if you genuinely are in need of some miles, this is probably going to be one of the better opportunities you get this year.

If you can find the unicorns that are American Airlines Business Class saver awards, this is how much some of those one-way awards will cost you if you buy miles at 1.78 cents each:

  • Los Angeles – New York – 25,000 miles = $445
  • New York – Hawaii – 55,000 miles = $979
  • Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Sao Paulo = 57,500 miles = $1,024
  • Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Europe = 57,500 miles = $1,024
  • Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Tokyo = 60,000 miles = $1,068
  • Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Hong Kong = 70,000 miles = $1,246
  • Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Australia = 80,000 miles = $1,424

Note: American Airlines awards do not attract surcharges and, for the majority of bookings, taxes and fees will be low.

You’ll probably have more luck finding good (sometimes great) partner awards and, assuming you buy miles at 1.78 cents each, this is how much some of those awards will cost:

One-Way Business Class:

  • Qatar Airways – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Doha = 70,000 miles = $1,246
  • Japan Airlines  – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Tokyo = 60,000 miles = $1,068
  • Cathay Pacific – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Hong Kong = 70,000 miles = $1,246
  • Etihad – Europe – Middle East = 42,500 miles = $757
Etihad Business Class -Image courtesy of Etihad

One-Way First Class:

  • Japan Airlines  – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Tokyo = 80,000 miles = $1,424
  • Cathay Pacific – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Hong Kong = 110,000 miles = $1,958
  • Cathay Pacific – Europe – Hong Kong = 90,000 miles = $1,602
  • Etihad – Europe – Middle East = 62,500 miles = $1,113
  • Qatar Airways – Europe – Australia = 115,000 miles = $2,046

Note: Some partner awards will attract surcharges and the taxes and fees added on will vary (often significantly) depending on your route.

A Small Bonus

Unlike a lot of airlines, American Airlines process its own mileage sales and this means that buying miles in this sale will trigger the airline/travel bonuses that some credit cards offer.

My preferred cards for buying miles are…

…but if you’re a fan of Citi’s ThankYou Rewards these will probably be the cards for you:

  • Citi Prestige Card – 5 ThankYou points/dollar
  • Citi Premier Card – 3 ThankYou points/dollar

Using the right card to buy miles can significantly decrease the amount you’re effectively paying in this sale so make sure you choose carefully.

Bottom Line

Assuming that you’re not looking to buy miles to hoard this is probably going to be one of the better deals of the year for American Airlines AAdvantage miles. No one should be buying miles speculatively but if you can find a good premium cabin saver award (or partner award) that you can book right away then buying miles in this sale could make a lot of sense.