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If you’re looking to stock up on AAdvantage miles, now’s a great time to do so. American Airlines just launched its best-ever buy miles promotion, giving AAdvantage members the opportunity to score up to 100,000 bonus miles while saving 10% off now through June 30. When maximized, you can buy miles as low as 1.73 cents apiece.
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 60,000-mile sign-up bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months. You can also score 50,000 AAdvantage miles after your first purchase on the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard.
However, if you’ve tapped out your credit card options for generating AAdvantage miles — like many of us at TPG have — you’ll want to consider buying miles for the right redemptions. What are those redemptions? Generally high-cost domestic flights you can score for cheap on miles, domestic itineraries bookable using reduced mileage awards and business/first class international awards.
Here’s what you can score with this buy miles promotion:
- Domestic nonstop flights less than 500 miles for $130 each way (no basic economy restrictions on award tickets either) when buying at 1.73 cents per mile.
- Domestic reduced mileage awards for $151 each way (again, no basic economy restrictions) when buying at 1.73 cents per mile.
- Qatar Qsuites from Europe to Middle East for $735 each way when buying at 1.73 cents per mile.
- American Airlines business class to Europe for $995 each way when buying at 1.73 cents per mile.
- Cathay Pacific business class to Asia for $1,211 each way when buying at 1.73 cents per mile.
- Qatar business class to Middle East for $1,211 each way when buying at 1.73 cents per mile.
All of these rates are before factoring in the 10% mileage rebate that AAdvantage Platinum Select and Aviator Red cardholders get, up to 10,000 miles each year. This rebate reduces the net price of these award flights, leading to 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 1.73 cents per mile if you max out the offer.
You’ll get the maximum 100,000 bonus miles and 10% discount — netting the 1.23 cents per mile purchase rate — when you purchase 150,000 miles. But, even when buying just 51,000 miles, you’ll get 15,000 bonus miles and a 10% discount, dropping the rate to a reasonable 2.26 cents per mile. That’s a decent rate for such a small purchase of miles.
Here are the sweet spots of this promotion’s bonus chart:
- 11,000 miles + 2,500 bonus miles for $349 (2.58 cents per mile) after 10% discount
- 21,000 miles + 5,000 bonus miles for $634 (2.44 cents per mile) after 10% discount
- 51,000 miles + 15,000 bonus miles for $1,491 (2.26 cents per mile) after 10% discount
- 76,000 miles + 27,500 bonus miles for $2,204 (2.13 cents per mile) after 10% discount
- 101,000 miles + 45,000 bonus miles for $2,918 (2.00 cents per mile) after 10% discount
- 126,000 miles + 70,000 bonus miles for $3,631 (1.85 cents per mile) after 10% discount
- 150,000 miles + 100,000 bonus miles for $4,316 (1.73 cents per mile) after 10% discount
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 now earns 5x on airfare. During last year’s buy miles promotion, several TPG readers reported receiving 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; 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.
LIMITED TIME OFFER: Earn 60,000 miles after $3,000 spent within the first 3 months. The sign-up offer alone is worth up to $840. If you're a frequent American flyer but don't have status, additional perks that come with this card like first free checked bag on domestic AA itineraries, preferred boarding on American flights can be extremely valuable.
- For a limited time, earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- New: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations*
- New: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at restaurants*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases*
- New: Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your cardmembership year and renew your card*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
- Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights*
- Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*