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There's a new promotion to buy American Airlines miles almost every month, and this month is no different. The September award sale lets you buy AA miles with up to 100,000 bonus miles now through September 30, 2020. That drops the purchase rate as low as 1.82¢ per mile.
When Should You Buy AA Miles?
As with other loyalty programs, we don’t recommend jumping on every American Airlines buy-miles promotion that comes along. Award programs can devalue with little notice, so you are almost always better off holding cash.
With that said, there are a couple of cases where it does make sense to buy AAdvantage miles. For instance, if you only need a few more miles to complete a specific redemption, purchasing AA 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.
Some travelers may decide to buy AA miles to extend the expiration date. However, there are plenty of other options to extend your AAdvantage account. For example, just by commenting on an AwardWallet post, you'll earn 5 AAdvantage miles and extend your expiration date.
AA Buy Miles Offer Details
- Promo valid through 11:59 p.m CT September 30, 2020
- Receive up to a 100,000 bonus miles
- Must buy or gift at least 15,000 miles to be eligible for a bonus
- You can buy up to a maximum of 150,000 miles (250,000 miles total with the 100,000-mile bonus)
- 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 buy miles promotions aren't known for their transparent pricing, and that's apparent with the current promotion. In order to discern the price you'll pay, you're required to use a mileage calculator that integrates the bonus.
For these sales, AA tends to rotate between offering either a discount or a bonus. The current promotion falls into the latter category. The benefit of this model is that you can acquire a massive sum of points in one swoop. The disadvantage is that you're usually required to make a larger purchase to get the best value.
In this case, the cheapest rate is found when you buy the maximum of 250,000 miles (after bonus) for $4,554.77—equaling 1.82¢ per mile.
Pay Less When You Buy AAdvantage Miles
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 American Airlines 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 Purchasing AA Miles at 1.82¢ per mile: $1,366
New York — Sydney in Qantas Business Class
- Mileage Rate: 80,000 miles
- Typical Cash Price: $6,228
- Redemption Rate: 7.74 cents per mile
- Cost to Buy AA Miles: $1,746
- Cost of Purchasing AA Miles at 1.82¢ per mile: $1,457
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 of Purchasing AA Miles at 1.82¢ per mile: $911
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 of Purchasing AA Miles: $1,175.51
- Cost of Purchasing AA Miles at 1.82¢ per mile: $1,002
Buy AA Miles with the Right Card to Maximize Your Rewards
When you buy American Airlines miles, your purchase will code as airfare because AA processes these transactions directly. This is great news because it means you'll be 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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 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's 1.82¢ per mile rate is slightly worst than August's 1.71¢ per mile purchase rate, and we have seen plenty of recent promotions that have offered a better rate. Considering that it's been a while since AA has not run a buy miles promotion, you should wait for a better option if you don't have an immediate need for miles.
But, while this isn't the best American Airlines buy-miles promotion we've ever seen, this could still present a terrific opportunity if you have a specific redemption in mind.
Are you buying AA miles at 1.82¢ a piece?
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