This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
If you’re looking to stock up on AAdvantage miles, now’s a good time to do so. American Airlines just launched a new buy miles promotion, giving AAdvantage members the opportunity to score up to 100,000 bonus miles now through Nov. 26. When maximized, you can buy miles as low as 1.92 cents each.
First, Why Should I Ever Buy Miles?
Let’s get one thing out of the way up front: buying miles makes sense only for certain travelers. It’s obviously much better to earn AA miles for free through credit card sign-up bonuses. If you’re looking for good options, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is offering a 40,000-mile sign-up bonus for spending $2,000 in the first three months — plus 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 total in the first 12 months. Or, if you have a small business, you can apply for the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard to get 70,000 AA miles after spending $4,000 in the first four months after account opening.
However, if you’ve tapped out your credit card options for generating AAdvantage miles — like many of us at TPG have — you might consider buying miles for the right redemptions. What are those redemptions? Generally high-cost domestic flights you can score for cheap with miles, domestic itineraries bookable using reduced mileage awards and business/first class international awards.
Here’s just some examples of the prices you’d effectively be paying for award flights when buying points at 1.92 cents through this buy miles promotion:
- Domestic Economy Web Special awards for $96 each way (no basic economy restrictions on award tickets either) when buying at 1.92 cents per mile.
- Domestic nonstop flights less than 500 miles for $144 each way (again, no basic economy restrictions) when buying at 1.92 cents per mile.
- Domestic reduced mileage awards for $168 each way (still no basic economy restrictions) when buying at 1.92 cents per mile.
- Qatar Qsuites from Europe to Middle East for $816 each way when buying at 1.92 cents per mile.
- American Airlines business class to Europe for $1,104 each way when buying at 1.92 cents per mile.
- Cathay Pacific business class to Asia for $1,344 each way when buying at 1.92 cents per mile.
- Qatar business class to Middle East for $1,344 each way when buying at 1.92 cents per mile.
All of these rates are before factoring in the 10% mileage rebate that AAdvantage Platinum Select and Barclays Aviator Red cardholders get, up to 10,000 miles each year. This rebate reduces the net price of these award flights, leading you with an even better effective purchase rate.
Details of This Promotion
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 the offer.
You’ll get the maximum 100,000 bonus miles — netting the 1.92 cents per mile purchase rate — when you purchase 150,000 miles. Here are the sweet spots of this promotion’s bonus chart:
- 10,000 miles + 2,500 bonus miles for $352 (2.82 cents per mile)
- 25,000 miles + 7,500 bonus miles for $828 (2.55 cents per mile)
- 50,000 miles + 22,500 bonus miles for $1,621 (2.24 cents per mile)
- 75,000 miles + 40,000 bonus miles for $2,413 (2.10 cents per mile)
- 100,000 miles + 60,000 bonus miles for $3,206 (2.00 cents per mile)
- 150,000 miles + 100,000 bonus miles for $4,792 (1.92 cents per mile)
How to Buy AA Miles
To take advantage of the promotion, follow these steps:
- Visit American’s Buy, Gift, and Share Miles page.
- Select the number of miles you’d like to buy.
- 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.
Which Credit Card to Use
American Airlines processes mileage transfers and purchases directly (instead of going through Points.com), so this spending will code as an airfare purchase. 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 earns 5x on airfare, and we have confirmation from several TPG readers who received this category bonus on their purchases.
Other top credit cards to consider include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, with 3x Ultimate Rewards points on general travel (excluding $300 travel credit); the American Express® Gold Card, with 3x Membership Rewards points on airfare booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; the Citi Premier Card and the Citi Prestige, with 3x ThankYou points on air travel; and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with 2x Ultimate Rewards points on general travel.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about American Airlines’ “buy miles” promotions, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for the latest offer. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older deals below.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees