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American Airlines has come up with another promotion for anyone interesting in buying its currency and in this promotion the airline is selling miles at approximately 1.82 cents each. The promotion runs through the end of the month so there’s no big hurry to dive in (do your research) but it’s worth noting this is one of the cheaper rates at which the airline offers AAdvantage Miles.
Headline Terms & Conditions
- AAdvantage members must purchase at least 15,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction to be eligible for bonus miles.
- The promotion runs from 12:00:00am CT on 1 September 2020 to 11:59:59pm CT on 30 September 2020.
- 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.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the promotion page.
As is usual with American’s mileage sales, this promotion is tiered and, as the terms and conditions say, the minimum number of miles that must be purchased to trigger a bonus is 15,000.
- Buy 15,000 – 25,000 miles and get 5,000 bonus miles
- Buy 26,000 – 39,000 miles and get 10,000 bonus miles
- Buy 40,000 – 59,000 miles and get 15,000 bonus miles
- Buy 60,000 – 74,000 miles and get 25,000 bonus miles
- Buy 75,000 – 89,000 miles and get 35,000 bonus miles
- Buy 90,000 – 99,000 miles and get 50,000 bonus miles
- Buy 100,000 – 124,000 miles and get 60,000 bonus miles
- Buy 125,000 – 149,000 miles and get 80,000 bonus miles
- Buy 150,000 miles and get 100,000 bonus miles
Note: The bandings may vary slightly from person to person as American Airlines sometimes makes these offers targeted
The best price per mile purchased is to be found at the top band where you can buy a total of 250,000 miles (including the 100,000 bonus) for $4,554.77 which equates to ~1.82 cents/mile.
If you’re looking to purchase AAdvantage Miles but aren’t inclined to buy quite that many it’s worth remembering that, because of the way the promotion is tiered, the better value is to be had by purchasing the lowest number of miles in each tier.
If you were to buy 149,000 miles, you would receive 229,000 miles (when the 80,000 bonus is added in) at a total cost of $4,524.64. That equates to ~1.98 cents/mile.
If, on the other hand, you were to purchase just 125,000 miles, you would receive 205,000 miles (when the 80,000 bonus is added in) at a total cost of $3,801.60. That equates to ~1.85 cents/mile.
That’s the effect a tiered promotion with a fixed bonus for each tier has – purchasing at the bottom of a tier is considerably better value than purchasing at the top of a tier.
Ordinarily, 1.82 cents/mile would be the price of offered by one of the better American Airlines mileage sales but it’s hard to make a strong argument for people to dive in this time around.
Sure, if you somehow missed the great sale earlier this year in which miles were on offer at 1.6 cents each and can see an amazing award available for travel in 2021, then an argument could be made for buying miles in this sale (assuming that you’d be saving money by buying miles), but if you’re not making plans right now, my hard and fast rule about miles & points purchases comes into play.
We already know that American is happy to sell its miles at just 1.6 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 22% 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 and see if American’s need for cash forces it to bring back a sale in which miles cost just 1.6 cents each (e.g. around Black Friday)?
Even under normal conditions (when the travel world isn’t at a standstill), American Airlines runs mileage sale after mileage sale so there’s no doubt whatsoever that the airline will be back with another “deal” in October, so why not wait to see what that sale looks like if you have no pressing need for AAdvantage miles?
American Airlines sells its own miles (the transactions code as trave/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 (e.g. the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card which earns 3 points/dollar for all travel spending)
If miles & points aren’t what you’re looking to collect right now, a good cash back card like the Citi Double Cash Card is a very good alternative.
No one should be buying miles speculatively in this sale…but then that goes for any mileage sale and isn’t just because of the situation we’re currently in.
For a lot of people, buying miles in this sale won’t make too much sense but for anyone looking to book high-end First Class awards, this sale may offer very good value…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.