Buy American AAdvantage Miles With Up To 40% Bonus – Worth It?

by on April 2, 2014 · 12 comments

in American, Buy Miles Promotions

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Now through April 30, 2014American is offering tiered bonuses of up to 40% on the purchase of AAdvantage miles. These aren’t going to be American’s greatest deals to date, but they could be worthwhile for the redemption of premium class awards on long-haul international flights.

These AAdvantage tiered bonuses work a bit differently here and are just flat amount depending on how many miles you purchase rather than percentages. Here’s the breakdown:


American will allow you to purchase a maximum of 80,000 AAdvantage miles per year not including bonus miles, but the sweet spot here is exactly 65,000 miles. That’s because you get the highest amount of bonus miles available here – 26,000 – for the lowest purchase that qualifies. Even if you bought your annual 80,000-mile max, you’d still just get 26,000 bonus miles with this promo, so you might as well spend the least amount of miles to get it.

If you purchased 65,000 AAdvantage miles, you’d end up with a total of 91,000 at a cost of about $1,962 for a per-mile cost of 2.15 cents. Not terrible, but not great.

American-Buy-Miles-Bonus-2In February, American was offering a combined mileage bonus and discount that meant you could buy miles for just under 2 cents each, so this is by no means the best deal they’ve ever offered. However, it could still make sense to take advantage of this promotion if you’re able to find  first class awards on AA partners like British Airways or Cathay Pacific. To put this in perspective, a one-way first class award on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to the US requires 67,500 miles. At this price, you’d be paying the equivalent of $1,451.25 – not bad for a ticket that would go for well over $8,000 normally.

Plus, with American’s five-day hold policy on AAdvantage award tickets, you can choose to hold your award tickets, purchase the miles, then complete your purchase, keeping in mind that purchased AAdvantage miles take about 2-3- days to post.

Only accounts that are at least 14 days old can take advantage of this promotion, and the points purchase(s) – which are processed by – won’t qualify as airfare spend on your credit card, so you won’t earn bonus points on card like the Premier Rewards Gold or the Sapphire Preferred.

Now that US Airways has joined the OneWorld alliance but is retaining its very generous routing rules, if you have a trip to Asia or Australia in mind  it might make sense to wait for a 100% bonus on purchased US Airways miles (assuming we see those ever again!). The airline’s redemption costs for travel to these continents is lower than American’s, and the cost to purchase US Airways miles with a 100% bonus is only -1.88 cents per mile. US Airways isn’t running a promotion like this at present, but I’ll certainly keep an eye out for one.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Newbie

    Will buying AA miles (using this promo offer) or a AA Gift Card (say from walmart or grocery store) using an AAExecWE or AA Platinum card, to help meet spend requirements work? I understand its not the ‘best’ way of meeting spend requirement, but since I cannot use BB or VRs, I thought this might be an option since its something I can use anyway (miles or giftcard for future use). Will it show up as a CashAdvance (higher interest) or as a regular purchase?

  • Patrick Folger

    I’ve bought miles before on my Citi Aadvantage card and it did not show up as a cash advance. Just a regular purchase

  • CloseYourEyesandBlow
  • Ut_videam

    Good way to get your account shut down and miles forfeited.

  • [email protected]

    i love the trip

  • David


  • jumus

    How do we know it’s not legit ? Just looked at the site. Anyone have horror stories ?

  • Deborah McKee

    I’m just wondering if this will be the last of the mileage bonus we will see. After the DL/NW merger the bonuses were nil. Prior to the merger we were seeing as much as 100% bonus on transfer miles and 50% on purchase. Now, nothing. Wonder when the best time to act will be.

  • Tim Boyles

    I show the 91,000 miles to be $1787.50, which would be 1.96 cents per mile – to your point, not great, but not terrible either.

  • Agent Provocateur

    If my goal is to purchase the most miles possible, I should buy 65K+26K then 15K+3.75K for a total of 109,750 miles rather than 80K+26K = 106,000 miles right? Even though I would pay an extra $40 transaction fee, looks like 3000 miles cost $80. So it’s a slight advantage to do two transactions?

  • eye of newt

    Which other airlines are partners of American Airlines? I’m looking for a travel rewards card that would do me the most justice purchasing round trip tickets to India from the USA.

  • Kenny

    Can AA gift cards be used to purchase AA miles?

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