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Earning airline miles using the traditional method (actually flying) is just one way to boost your account balance. Fortunately, airlines make it relatively easy to accrue miles without flying, whether through top credit card offers or by utilizing shopping portals. You can also purchase miles directly from an airline.
With its most recent mileage purchase offer ending last week, American Airlines has announced a new offer, and — good news — it’s even better! But, you’ve got to act fast to get the best offer.
Here’s how it works: Now through February 8, you can earn up to 42,500 bonus miles and save 10% when you buy or gift AAdvantage miles. You’ll earn the maximum bonus of 42.5% (42,500 miles) when you purchase at least 100,000 miles. However, you can also earn a 40% bonus when buying 75,000 miles or a 37.5% bonus when purchasing as little as 40,000 miles.
After February 8, you can still get the mileage bonus, but the 10% off offer goes away. So, be sure to jump on this offer quickly if you need miles!
The regular price of buying miles from American is about 3.17 cents per mile ($29.50 per 1,000 miles plus a 7.5% Federal Excise Tax) — before a $30 Processing Charge per purchase — but with the maximum bonus offer, it’ll actually drop your price down to just 2.02 cents per mile!
Here are the sweet spots of the bonus chart:
- 20,000 + 7,000 bonus miles for $601 total (2.22 cents per mile)
- 40,000 + 15,000 bonus miles for $1,172 total (2.13 cents per mile)
- 60,000 + 22,500 bonus miles for $1,742 total (2.11 cents per mile)
- 75,000 + 30,000 bonus miles for $2,171 total (2.07 cents per mile)
- 100,000 + 42,500 bonus miles for $2,884 total (2.02 cents per mile)
Here’s how to take advantage of the promotion:
- Visit American’s Buy, Gift and Share Miles page
- Select “Buy Miles” or “Gift Miles”
- Log in to your AAdvantage account
- Add your credit card details and click Continue
- Review the information, check the box to agree to the Terms and Conditions and click Pay Now to finalize the purchase
- Your miles should “post to the designated account immediately”
Keep in mind that the usual restrictions for purchasing American miles apply to this promotion, including the following:
- Miles may be purchased in increments of 1,000 miles up to a maximum of 125,000 miles per year.
- Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible.
- Purchased miles don’t count toward elite status or Million Miler status.
The best part: American Airlines processes mileage transfers and purchases directly — rather than going through Points.com — so this spending counts as airfare! That means you can earn bonus points if you use a card with a travel or airfare category bonus, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred with 2x points on travel; the Citi ThankYou Premier and the Citi Prestige‘s 3x points on travel; or the American Express Premier Rewards Gold’s 3x points on airfare.
Is This Worth It?
In TPG’s most recent valuations, he pegs American AAdvantage miles at 1.7 cents apiece. The maximum bonus could bring your price down to just 2.02 cents per mile, so this promo wouldn’t seem worth it at first. However, if you have specific redemptions in mind — such as a first-class flight on Cathay Pacific — it could make sense to purchase specific amounts to top off your account.
At the 2.02-cents-per-mile rate, redeeming for a round-trip domestic economy award at 25,000 miles would be equivalent to paying about $500 for the flight. While this is a bit steep, using the AAdvantage Off Peak awards, a 40,000-mile round-trip to Europe in economy would cost just about $800 before taxes and fees.
On the high end of the spectrum, you could redeem 110,000 American AAdvantage miles before March 22 to fly American Airlines’ signature 777-300ER reverse herringbone business-class product round-trip between the US and Hong Kong. Considering that American Airlines’ business class is currently running $7,714 round-trip from Dallas (DFW) to Hong Kong (HKG), you’d be getting about 7 cents of value per mile!
Keep in mind, however, that the AAdvantage devaluation is coming this March, which will shift the value proposition of this deal. Consequently, it’s in your best interest to redeem miles before the redemption, which will allow you to find a much more valuable redemption.
If you’re looking for other ways to boost your AAdvantage account, you could also consider applying for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard. The card is currently offering 50,000 bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Even at the optimal purchase price of 2.02 cents per mile, you’d save more than $1,000 by earning 50,000 miles through the credit card sign-up bonus rather than purchasing them!
While this promotion isn’t good for purchasing miles speculatively, it could be great if you need miles for a specific redemption — especially if you’re looking to book a business- or first-class award before March 22. American Airlines has some incredible redemption opportunities in its program, and you may be able to snag some great deals using this promotion.
What do you think of this new promotion? Will you be purchasing miles?
While Citi announced some negative changes to this card back in July — including a lower sign-up bonus, the elimination of Admirals Club access and the end of the free rounds of golf benefit — one of its most valuable perks still remains, which is the 4th Night Free perk. This benefit alone can save you thousands of dollars a year if you use it to its full advantage.