Score up to 40% bonus points through American Airlines new buy miles promotion
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with the latest promotion.
American Airlines just released its second buy miles offer of the year, offering members a chance to purchase miles with up to a 40% bonus. But, is it worth it for you to buy miles? It depends.
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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 and spending.
If you’re looking for good options, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is currently offering a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
While it doesn’t offer as great of a sign-up bonus, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card offers 2x American Airline miles at grocery stores — including grocery delivery services — as well as 2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases. Plus, you’ll get 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending just $500 on purchases in the first three months.
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. But you should only do so 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, Web Special deals and business or first-class international awards on partners.
Here are just a few examples of the prices you’d effectively be paying for award flights when buying points at the cheapest 2.28 cents per mile rate through this buy-miles promotion:
- Domestic Economy Web Special awards starting at just $114 each way (no basic economy restrictions on award tickets either).
- Domestic nonstop flights less than 500 miles for $171 each way (again, no basic economy restrictions).
- Domestic reduced mileage awards for $200 each way (still no basic economy restrictions).
- Qatar Qsuite from Europe to the Middle East for $969 each way.
- American Airlines business class to Europe for $1,311 each way.
- American Airlines business class to Japan for $1,368 each way.
- Cathay Pacific business class to Asia for $1,596 each way.
- Qatar business class to the Middle East for $1,596 each way.
- Qatar business class to Africa for $1,710 each way.
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 bonus, your purchase price drops to 2.28 cents per mile.
There are two tiers of bonuses for this promotion:
- Buy 15,000 to 49,000 miles: 30% bonus miles
- Buy 50,000 to 150,000 miles: 40% bonus miles
However, the purchase rate varies based on how many miles you buy. Let’s take a look at some examples:
|Buy||Bonus||Price||Cents per mile|
The purchase rate on this promotion isn’t great. TPG values AAdvantage miles at 1.4 cents each, so a purchase rate of no better than 2.28 cents is a steep premium to pay. AA regularly runs these buy miles promotions, so it’s probably going to make sense for you to wait until a better one comes around — unless you need miles immediately for a high-value redemption.
How to buy AA miles
If you still want to buy miles during this promotion, follow these steps:
- Visit American’s Buy, Gift, and Share Miles page.
- Enter your AAdvantage number, last name and password to log in to your AAdvantage account.
- Select the number of miles you’d like to buy.
- 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 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 travel or airfare category bonus.— so this spending will code as an airfare purchase. That means you’ll earn bonus points if you use a card with a
The best two options in this category are:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — which earns 5x points on airfare when booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com. Several TPG readers have confirmed received this category bonus on their purchases)
- Citi Prestige® Card — which also offers 5x points on airfare
Related: The best cards for airfare purchases
Other top credit cards to consider include the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on general travel excluding $300 travel credit); the American Express® Gold Card (3x American Express Membership Rewards points on airfare booked directly with airlines or the Citi Premier℠ Card (3x ThankYou points on air travel); and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x Ultimate Rewards points on general travel).
The information for the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier have been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Featured photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy.
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.
- 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.