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If it seems that American Airlines always has a mileage sale, you aren't wrong. American Airlines has virtually stopped doing periodic buy miles promotions — only offering one actual sale all year. Instead, it now offers an ongoing base discount of up to 35%. Along with this, American Airlines also increased the base price of buying AAdvantage miles. So, this discount only drops the purchase rate as low as 2.45¢ 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 — since AA isn't a transfer partner of any major bank program.
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.
Read more: How to Earn American Airlines Miles
AA Buy Miles Offer Details
- Unknown ending date for this promotion
- You must buy at least 5,000 miles to receive any bonus (10% discount in this tier)
- Buy at least 150,000 miles to receive the maximum 35% discount
- You can buy up to a maximum of 150,000 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
Where to Find the Best Value
American Airlines buy miles promotions aren't known for their transparent pricing. And this promotion is another example of this. You'll need to enter a mileage amount to see the discount and calculate the effective purchase rate.
AA tends to rotate between offering either a discount or a bonus. The current promotion falls into the first category. In this case, the cheapest rate is found when you buy at least 150,000 miles. Purchases of 150,000 miles cost 2.45¢ 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 one way
- Typical Cash Price: $5,920
- Redemption Rate: 7.9 cents per mile
- Cost of Buying 75,000 AA Miles at 3.2¢ per mile (15% discount tier): $2,399 one way
- Cost of Buying 150,000 AA Miles at 2.45¢ per mile (35% discount tier): $3,668 round-trip
New York — Sydney in Qantas Business Class
- Mileage Rate: 80,000 miles one way
- Typical Cash Price: $6,228
- Redemption Rate: 7.74 cents per mile
- Cost of Buying 80,000 AA Miles at 3.01¢ per mile (20% discount tier): $2,408 one way
Abu Dhabi — Singapore in Etihad First Class
- Mileage Rate: 50,000 miles one way
- Typical Cash Price: $4,089
- Redemption Rate: 8.2 cents per mile
- Cost of Buying 50,000 AA Miles at 3.2¢ per mile (15% discount tier): $1,599 one way
- Cost of Buying 100,000 AA Miles at 3.01¢ per mile (20% discount tier): $3,010 round-trip
Boston — Sao Paulo in AA First Class (an AA Web Special)
- Mileage Rate: 60,500 miles*
- Typical Cash Price: $2,167
- Redemption Rate: 3.57 cents per mile
- Cost of Buying 60,500 AA Miles at 3.2¢ per mile (15% discount tier): $1,951 one way
- Cost of Buying 121,000 AA Miles at 2.82¢ per mile (25% discount tier): $3,414 round-trip
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 (on $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year booked directly with airlines)
- 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 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- 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.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
- 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
- 5X points on travel purchased through Chase
- 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide
- 3X points on eligible streaming services
- 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
- 2X points on all other travel
- 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Other Ways to Earn AA Miles
For those who have Bilt Rewards points, you can transfer these to American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers should be instant.
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® World Elite Business Mastercard® is currently offering the chance to earn up to 80,000 bonus AAdvantage miles: Earn 80,000 miles and a $95 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days. Some of the other options include:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite 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
- 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
Despite the 35% discount, this sale's 2.45¢ per mile purchase rate is a pretty miserable price for buying American Airlines miles. We always recommend that you wait until you have an immediate need before buying AA miles — especially since it's been a while since AA has not run a buy miles promotion.
Do you see any reason to buy AA miles at 2.45¢ a piece?
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