Buy American Airlines AAdvantage Miles For 2.02 Cents

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This is the first of two delayed “points for sale” posts so, apologies for being late with the news but it couldn’t be helped.

American Airlines has started to make a habit of making their “buy AAdvantage Miles” promotions more complicated than they really need to be…and this promotion just goes to prove that point. If you purchase AAdvantage Miles between now and 1 March 2016 American Airlines will sweeten the pot with up to 42,500 bonus miles.

That’s the simple bit.

It get’s more complicated when you realise that the promotion is tiered:

  • Buy 20,000 – 39,000 AAdvantage Miles and receive 7,000 Bonus Miles
  • Buy 40,000 – 59,000 AAdvantage Miles and receive 15,000 Bonus Miles
  • Buy 60,000 – 74,000 AAdvantage Miles and receive 22,500 Bonus Miles
  • Buy 75,000 – 99,000 AAdvantage Miles and receive 30,000 Bonus Miles
  • Buy 100,000 – 150,000 AAdvantage Miles and receive 42,500 Bonus Miles

And it get even more complicate when you factor in that American Airlines is offering a 10% Discount for purchases made by 8 February 2016.

Buy AAdvantage Miles Feb 2016

Best Case Scenario

As with most of American Airlines’ “Buy AAdvantage Miles” promotions the sweet spot is at the lowest point of the top-tier:

If you purchase 100,000 AAdvantage Miles you will earn a bonus of 42,500 AAdvantage miles (42.5% bonus) which is a better proposition than if you buy a the top-level (150,000) where the bonus is only 28.3%.

In terms of cold hard cash this means that, if you were to purchase 100,000 AAdvantage Miles before midnight on 8 February you would earn a total of 142,500 miles…..

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 13.12.30

….at a final cost of $2,884.13 (including taxes):Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 13.12.40

That comes to a cost per AAdvantage Mile of 2.02 cents.

How To Buy The Miles

Remember that American Airlines processes its own mileage sales which means that, if you use a credit card that offers a bonus for airline purchases, that bonus will kick in.

  • All the main American Airlines co-branded credit cards will earn 2 miles per dollar spent on an AAdvantage Mile purchase.
  • The Citi Prestige Card will earn 3 ThankYou Points per per dollar spent on an AAdvantage Mile purchase.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred card will earn 2 Ultimate Rewards Points per dollar spent on an AAdvantage Mile purchase.
  • The Premier Rewards Gold Card (Amex) will earn 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on an AAdvantage Mile purchase.

So, if you have a rewards card that earns a bonus for travel/airline purchases, make sure that’s the one you use.

Is This A Good Deal?

On a cost/mile basis this is one of the better deals that American Airlines have offered recently but still not as good as the offer in December when they were on sale for 1.8 cents each.

There are two key questions to take into consideration:

  • Do you have a set plan for the miles?
  • Will you be able to use the miles before 22 March 2016 (when the cost of awards increases)?

I would not be buying AAdvantage Miles if I didn’t have an immediate plan for what to do with them.

If you can use the AAdvantage Miles for some great awards before the devaluation kicks in you could get some very good value out of this promotion. But, if you’re thinking of buying the miles speculatively then that’s a recipe for trouble and I strongly advise you rethink your plans.

AAdvantage Miles are a currency and, after the 22 March 2016 devaluation, that currency is going to be worth a lot less than it is now. So make sure you spend that currency before it goes down in value.

Bottom Line

The best plan would be to search for an award that you’re interested in, place it on hold with American Airlines (5-day holds are allowed) and then purchase enough AAdvantage Miles to pay for the award.

Personally I wouldn’t be buying AAdvantage Miles for travel on American Airlines…there are far too many Business Class sales each year to make that a good idea and their First Class product simply isn’t worth the miles outlay.

However, if you can snag Fist Class awards on some of American’s premium airline partners (Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Qatar etc…) then you should be able to get value out of this offer.

To put it simply – do the math and, only if it works, buy AAdvantage Miles.


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