Up to a 43% Bonus and 10% Off When You Purchase AAdvantage Miles

Feb 2, 2017

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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 and dining reward programs. You can also purchase miles directly from an airline.

Today, American Airlines launched a new buy miles promotion. Now through February 16, you’ll earn up to 42,500 bonus miles when you purchase AAdvantage miles. In addition, if you buy miles now through February 8, you’ll also receive a 10% discount off the purchase.

Get up to 42,500 bonus miles when you buy AA miles. Image courtesy of American Airlines.

You’ll earn the maximum 42.5% bonus (42,500 miles) when you purchase exactly 100,000 miles. Or, you can earn up to a 37.5% bonus (15,000 miles) for buying 40,000 miles. You can even earn a 35% bonus (7,000 miles) for buying as few as 20,000 miles.

The regular price for buying miles from American is 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. With this promotion, your price will drop to 2.02 cents per mile if you purchase 100,000 AAdvantage miles.

Here are the sweet spots of this promotion’s bonus chart:

  • 20,000 + 7,000 bonus miles for $601 total (2.23 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)
Get the best purchase rate when you buy 100,000 AAdvantage miles.

Here’s how to take advantage of the promotion:

  1. Visit American’s Buy, Gift, and Share Miles page.
  2. Log in to your AAdvantage account.
  3. Select the number of miles you would like to purchase.
  4. Add your credit card details and click Continue.
  5. Review the information, check the box to agree to the Terms and Conditions and click Pay Now to finalize the purchase.
  6. 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 150,000 miles per year.
  • Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible.
  • Purchased miles don’t count toward elite status or Million Miler status.

American Airlines processes mileage transfers and purchases directly — rather than going through Points.com — so this spending should count as airfare. So, you’ll earn bonus points if you use a card with a travel or airfare category bonus. By far, the best option in this category is The Platinum Card from American Express, which now earns 5x on airfare. We have a data point from one reader that the purchase qualified for 5x points.

Other top credit cards to consider include the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s 3x Ultimate Rewards points on general travel; the Citi Premier® Card and the Citi Prestige’s 3x ThankYou points on air travel; and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with 2x Ultimate Reward points on general travel.

Is it worth it?

This isn’t a great promotion for stocking up on miles. The best rate is just 2.02 cents per mile — which is well over TPG’s valuation of 1.5 cents per AAdvantage mile and significantly more than the 1.77 cents per mile rate in AA’s recent promotion. However, if you need to top off your account, this promotion offers a solid 35% bonus miles and a 10% discount starting at just 20,000 purchased miles.

Besides that, there are a few other situations that could justify buying at this rate: first/business-class international flyers, one-way international flyers and expensive flights under 500 miles. Plus, it could make sense for flyers based outside of the US who can take advantage of partner availability.

Are you going to buy miles through this promotion?

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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