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American Airlines offers a promotion for purchasing miles almost every month, and this month is no different. The latest sale includes the ability to buy AAdvantage miles for as little as 1.8¢ each and receive up to 120,000 bonus miles through June 30, 2020. Additionally, AA has raised the annual limit on purchasing miles from the typical 150,000 to 200,000 miles.
A Note on Buying Miles
At AwardWallet, we never recommend buying miles speculatively. Award programs can devalue at with little notice, so you are almost always better off holding cash.
With that said, there are a couple of cases where buying miles can make sense. For instance, if you only need a few more miles to complete a specific redemption, buying miles might be the fastest and most cost-effective route. Additionally, if you're going to consider paying cash for a premium ticket, you may want to consider buying miles instead, since the cost for the required mileage could be considerably cheaper than paying for the product outright.
- Promo valid through 11:59 p.m CT June 30, 2020
- Receive a 5% discount and 120,000 bonus miles when purchasing 200,000 miles
- You can buy up to a maximum of 200,000 miles
- AA accounts must be older than 30 days to purchase miles
- Purchased miles are non-refundable and non-reversible
- Miles purchased, transferred, or received as a gift do not count towards elite-status qualification or AAdvantage Million Miler status
This promotion operates on a tiered system, with a different bonus offered depending on how many points you plan to purchase.
Where to Find the Best Value
AA has opted to go with more opaque pricing schemes for its recent buy miles promotions. While you can easily reverse the math of each tier's offer to figure out how many miles you'll receive, you're required to use a price ‘calculator' to see the actual price.
Unlike the May 2020 promotion, AA has returned to a structure that offers increasingly better value for higher mileage purchases, with the price bottoming out at 1.8¢ per mile when you buy 200,000.
When Does Buying Miles Make Sense?
We've posted about some of the best sweet spots in the AAdvantage program and the recent surge in AA “Web Special” offerings. Let's pick a few of these redemptions and compare the typical cash price with the cost to purchase the necessary miles under the terms of this promotion.
Los Angeles — Johannesburg in Qatar QSuite
- Mileage Rate: 75,000 miles
- Typical Cash Price: $5,920
- Redemption Rate: 7.9 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles: $1,542
Dallas — Sydney in Qantas First Class
- Mileage Rate: 110,000 miles
- Typical Cash Price: $11,700
- Redemption Rate: 10.6 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles (at 1.8¢ per mile): $1,980
Abu Dhabi — Seoul in Etihad First Class
- Mileage Rate: 50,000 miles
- Typical Cash Price: $5,722
- Redemption Rate: 11.4 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles: $1,147
Jacksonville — Tokyo in AA First Class (a recent AA Web Special)
- Mileage Rate: 55,000 miles*
- Typical Cash Price: $6,800
- Redemption Rate: 12.4 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles: $1,306
Maximizing you Purchase
Unlike most airlines, AA processes point purchases directly. This is great news because it means that point purchases will code as airfare, and are eligible for the travel category bonus on many credit cards. Some of the best cards to use would be:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — 5X Membership Rewards Points
- Citi Prestige® Card — 5X ThankYou Points
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® — 3X Ultimate Rewards Points
- Citi Premier℠ Card — 3X ThankYou Points
- American Express® Gold Card — 3X Membership Rewards Points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2X Ultimate Rewards Points
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
- 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Other Ways to Earn AA Miles
If you're not in a hurry, another way to beef up your AAdvantage stash is through a sign-up bonus on a co-branded credit card. For example, the AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® is currently offering the chance to earn up to 75,000 bonus AAdvantage miles: Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Earn 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card. Some of the other options include:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
- Free checked bags for you and up to 4 companions on domestic itineraries
- Priority boarding to help you win the race for overhead bin space
- A 25% discount on inflight food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases
- Reduced Mileage Awards can save you 7,500 miles on roundtrip MileSAAver Awards
- Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on cable and satellite providers
- Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent at gas stations
- Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on select telecommunications merchants
- Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on car rentals
- Earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn 1X mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
This sale isn't quite as lucrative as the last one we saw. While 1.8¢ per mile isn't far from the previous sale's best rate of 1.79¢, you're required to spend a lot more—close to $6,000—to achieve it. To AA's credit, with a raised maximum purchase amount of 200,000 miles before the bonus, at least you'll get a ton of miles for this price.
Although this isn't the best promotion we've ever seen, if you have a specific redemption in mind, this could still present a terrific opportunity.
Are you buying AA miles at 1.8¢ a piece?
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