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American Airlines has launched a flash sale on AAdvantage Miles in which it’s offering a 10% discount and bonus miles to flyers buying 15,000 miles or more through 16 February 2020. The offers that American Airlines AAdvantage members will see in their accounts are targeted and will vary from person to person.
The Headline Terms
- AAdvantage members must purchase at least 15,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction to be eligible for a discount.
- Sale runs to 11:59:59pm CT February 16, 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 sale page.
Joanna and I are seeing different offers.
Here’s my targeted offer:
- Buy 15,000 – 49,000 miles and get 30% bonus miles + 10% off
- Buy 50,000 – 69,000 miles and get 35% bonus miles + 10% off
- Buy 70,000 – 150,000 miles and get 55% bonus miles + 10% off
And here’s Joanna’s targeted offer:
- Buy 15,000 – 69,000 miles and get 30% bonus miles + 10% off
- Buy 50,000 – 149,000 miles and get 50% bonus miles + 10% off
- Buy 150,000 miles and get 55% bonus miles + 10% off
Ultimately, both of us can buy miles at the same price point but, as I’ll show in a moment, my offer is slightly better.
Everyone should be able to buy AAdvantage miles at the cheapest rate that they’re being sold for in this sale by purchasing 150,000 miles.
232,500 miles at a cost of $4,315.05 would see an AAdvantage member buying miles at around 1.86 cents each.
Where my deal eclipses the deal that Joanna has been offered is that I can buy AAdvantage miles at almost the same rate if I buy just 70,000 miles.
108,500 miles at a cost of $2,031.75 would see an AAdvantage member buying miles at around 1.87 cents each. That’s the advantage of being offered a broader tier band at the top-end of this sale.
Firstly, let me make one thing very clear: 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.
Secondly, American Airlines was selling miles from around 1.78 cents each in its last sale so this deal isn’t the best deal that the airline offers.
Ok, now that those two things are out of the way here’s what I think of this sale:
If you’ll looking to buy under 100,000 miles (and have been targeted for an offer similar to mine) this is a good sale in which to buy AAdvantage miles. I can currently buy as few as 70,000 AAdvantage miles for 1.87 cents each and that’s cheaper than the cost per mile of 100,000 miles in American’s last sale.
Also, despite the fact that the cheapest cost/mile in this sale is higher than the cheapest cost/mile in the last (and good) sale, there are still good deals to be had…assuming you can find award availability.
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 1.86 cents each:
- Los Angeles – New York – 25,000 miles = $465
- Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Sao Paulo = 57,500 miles = $1,070
- Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Europe = 57,500 miles = $1,070
- Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Tokyo = 60,000 miles = $1,116
- Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Hong Kong = 70,000 miles = $1,302
- Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Australia = 80,000 miles = $1,488
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 1.86 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 = $1,302
- Japan Airlines – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Tokyo = 60,000 miles = $1,116
- Cathay Pacific – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Hong Kong = 70,000 miles = $1,302
- Etihad – Europe – Middle East = 42,500 miles = $791
One-Way First Class:
- Japan Airlines – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Tokyo = 80,000 miles = $1,488
- Cathay Pacific – Contiguous 48 U.S. states – Hong Kong = 110,000 miles = $2,026
- Cathay Pacific – Europe – Hong Kong = 90,000 miles = $1,674
- Etihad – Europe – Middle East = 62,500 miles = $1,163
- Qatar Airways – Europe – Australia = 115,000 miles = $2,139
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…
- The Platinum Card from American Express – 5 MR points/dollar
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express – 5 MR points/dollar
- The Amex Green Card – 3 MR points/dollar
- The Amex Gold Card – 3 MR points/dollar
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – 3 UR point/dollar
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – 2 UR point/dollar
…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.
This isn’t the best deal we’ve seen so far this year but it wouldn’t surprise me if it still turns out to be one of the better ones….especially if you don’t need to buy over 100,000 miles.
Please don’t forget that no one should be buying miles speculatively so make plans and do your research before you hand over your credit card details.
Overall, if you can find a good premium cabin saver award (or partner award) that’s bookable right away then buying miles in this sale could make a lot of sense…just do the math to be sure.