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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.
American Airlines’ latest buy miles promotion just ended April 28, but the airline is back already with a new promotion. Now through May 31, you’ll save up to 40% off when you purchase AAdvantage miles. If you maximize this promotion, you’ll get miles for as cheap as 1.92 cents apiece.
You’ll get the maximum 40% off when you purchase 150,000 miles. But, you can get 30% off when buying between 51,000 and 100,000 miles.
The benefit of this promotion over typical offers is that you’ll get the savings when buying any amount of miles inside the range. Typically, the bonus is only “maximized” when you buy at the sweet spots — leaving you with a sub-optimal bonus if you’re buying a specific amount of miles needed to complete a redemption. However, you’re still going to get a better rate the more miles you purchase due to the $30 processing charge per purchase.
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). With this promotion, your price will drop to 1.92 cents per mile if you max out this offer.
Here are the discount ranges for this promotion:
- 11,000 – 25,000 miles at 2.97-3.13 cents per mile (10% off)
- 26,000 – 50,000 miles at 2.60-2.65 cents per mile (20% off)
- 51,000 – 100,000 miles at 2.25-2.28 cents per mile (30% off)
- 101,000 – 149,000 miles at 2.08-2.09 cents per mile (35% off)
- 150,000 miles at 1.92 cents per mile (40% off)
To take advantage of the promotion, follow these steps:
- Visit American’s Buy, Gift, and Share Miles page.
- Select Buy Miles or Gift Miles (the promotion is not valid on sharing 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 150,000 miles per year.
- Transactions are nonrefundable and non-reversible.
- Purchased miles don’t count toward elite status or Million Miler status.
American Airlines processes mileage transfers and purchases directly (instead of going through Points.com), so this spending should count as airfare. That means 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, and during American’s December miles promotion, several TPG readers reported receiving this category bonus on their purchases. So that could make this a really great deal.
Other top credit cards to consider include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, with 3x Ultimate Rewards points on general travel; the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, with 3x Membership Rewards points on airfare; the Citi ThankYou Premier Card and the Citi Prestige, with 3x ThankYou points on air travel; and the Chase Sapphire Preferred with 2x Ultimate Rewards points on general travel.
Should you buy AAdvantage Miles?
Generally, no. Recently, American Airlines has had especially AAtrocious AAward AAvailability. It’s hard to find a redemption on American Airlines flights that justifies buying miles at 1.92 cents each. However, buying miles definitely makes sense in certain situations.
Need just a few more miles to complete an award booking? This is a good chance to top off your account for that redemption without having to transfer valuable Starpoints to American Airlines or put significant spend on an American Airlines co-branded card.
Or, you might be eyeing a valuable AAdvantage partner redemption — such as Qatar business class from the US to the Middle East (or beyond) starting at 70,000 miles one-way. At 1.92 cents per mile, that’s like “buying” these Qatar flights for $1,344 each — rather than the $5,000+ revenue cost . Granted, you won’t earn elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) or elite-qualifying dollars (EQDs) from these award flights.
There might be cheaper ways to top off your AAdvantage account. If you haven’t opened or closed an Citi AAdvantage card in the last 24 months, you can get a 60,000-mile sign-up bonus from either the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard or the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
Given the current state of the AAdvantage program, it’s hard to justify buying AAdvantage miles — even at just 1.92 cents each. However, if you’re able to find premium cabin award availability, this is a good chance to snag a pile of miles for cheap.
Are you going to take AAdvantage of this buy miles promo?
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards