Score up to 100,000 bonus miles with American Airlines’ new buy-miles promotion

Nov 5, 2019

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It’s been a while since American Airlines has run an attractive buy-miles promotion, but it’s back with an incredible headline offer: Get up to 100,000 bonus miles when buying AA miles now through Nov. 28.

But, even with this enticing offer, is it worth it for you to buy miles? It depends.

Why would you 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® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is offering a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Or, if you have a small business, you can apply for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® to earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of 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, Economy Web Special deals and business or first-class international awards.

Qatar is waiting to launch its Doha to Las Vegas route until it
… such as Qatar’s Qsuite (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

Here are just a few examples of the prices you’d effectively be paying for award flights when buying points at the cheapest 2.01 cent per mile rate through this buy-miles promotion:

Details of this American Airlines promotion

The regular price for buying miles from American starts as high as 4 cents per mile ($80 for 2,000 miles). But, if you max out this 100,000 bonus by buying 150,000 miles, your purchase price will drop to just 2.01 cents per mile.

Long-time followers of AA buy-miles promotions should note that American Airlines has adjusted the per-mile buying rate on the low and high end. The price to buy the smallest packages of miles has gotten a little cheaper (down from 5.05 cents to 4 cents), but AA has raised the per mile cost to buy the maximum package of 150,000 miles (up from a base of 3.2 cents to 3.36 cents).

The promotion is set up to give bonuses for ranges of points purchases — which creates sweet spots for buying the least amount of miles in the bonus band. Let’s look at a few examples:

Total Bonus Total Miles Cost Cents per mile
2,000 n/a 2,000 $80 4.00
10,000 2,500 12,500 $355 2.84
25,000 7,500 32,500 $830 2.56
50,000 22,500 72,500 $1,623 2.24
75,000 40,000 115,000 $2,416 2.10
100,000 60,000 160,000 $3,209 2.01
150,000 100,000 250,000 $5,036 2.01

How to buy AA miles

To take advantage of the promotion, follow these steps:

  1. Visit American’s Buy, Gift, and Share Miles page.
  2. Enter your AAdvantage number, last name and password to log in to your AAdvantage account.
  3. Select the number of miles you’d like to buy.
  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.

Which credit card should you use?

American Airlines processes mileage transfers and purchases directly — instead of processing purchases through — 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.

The best two options in this category are The Platinum Card® from American Express — which earns 5x on airfare when booked directly with airlines or (we have confirmation from several TPG readers who received this category bonus on their purchases) — and the Citi Prestige® Card which also offers 5x on airfare.

Other top credit cards to consider include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, with 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on general travel (excluding $300 travel credit); the American Express® Gold Card, with 3x American Express Membership Rewards points on airfare booked directly with airlines or; the Citi Premier℠ Card with 3x ThankYou points on air travel; and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with 2x Ultimate Rewards points on general travel.

Featured photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

The information for the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you.  Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 17.24% - 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Recommended Credit

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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