Travel

American AAdvantage Selling Miles With 50% Bonus

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Buying miles & points strategically can be a good value, especially for first & business class travel. American AAdvantage constantly has promotions on purchased miles. The program has just launched its latest promotion on purchased miles, valid through the end of the year — unfortunately it’s not as lucrative as the offer we saw for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Through Friday, December 31, 2021, American AAdvantage is offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased miles. The bonus is tiered, and you get a bigger percentage bonus the more miles you buy, as follows:

  • Buy 5,000-9,000 miles, receive a 5% bonus
  • Buy 1,000-24,000 miles, receive a 10% bonus
  • Buy 25,000-49,000 miles, receive a 15% bonus
  • Buy 50,000-64,000 miles, receive a 20% bonus
  • Buy 65,000-79,000 miles, receive a 25% bonus
  • Buy 80,000-89,000 miles, receive a 30% bonus
  • Buy 90,000-99,000 miles, receive a 40% bonus
  • Buy 100,000-150,000 miles, receive a 50% bonus
Redeem AAdvantage miles for Etihad business class

How much does it cost to purchase American AAdvantage miles?

Ordinarily American sells AAdvantage miles for 2.95 cents each (pre-tax) before factoring in any discounts or bonuses. If you maxed out this promotion and purchased 150,000 AAdvantage miles pre-bonus, you’d receive a total of 225,000 miles at a cost of $4,837.50, which is a rate of 2.15 cents per AAdvantage mile.

As far as American’s bonuses and discounts on purchased miles go, the program usually charges ~1.7-2.3 cents per mile during a promotion. This is among the worse promotions we’ve seen in a while — for example, for Cyber Monday we saw American selling miles for as little as 1.77 cents each.

How many American AAdvantage miles can you purchase?

The American AAdvantage program allows members to purchase at most 150,000 miles per account per calendar year, before factoring in any bonuses. Furthermore, note that AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old aren’t eligible to purchase miles.

Redeem AAdvantage miles for Cathay Pacific business class

Which credit card should you buy American AAdvantage miles with?

American AAdvantage processes mileage purchases directly, which means the purchase of miles does qualify as airfare spending. Therefore you’ll want to consider using one of the following cards for your purchase, since you’d earn bonus points for airfare purchases:


5x Membership Rewards points

per dollar spent directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and then 1x

The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Platinum Card® from American Express


3x Membership Rewards points

per dollar spent directly with airlines

American Express® Gold CardAmerican Express® Gold Card


3x Ultimate Rewards points

per dollar spent on airfare

Chase Sapphire Reserve®Chase Sapphire Reserve®


3x ThankYou points

per dollar spent on airfare

Citi Premier® CardCiti Premier® Card


2x Ultimate Rewards points

per dollar spent on airfare

Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Redeem AAdvantage miles for Japan Airlines business class

For example, I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so by my math The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) offers an 8.5% return on this spending, given the 5x points category.

Is buying American AAdvantage miles worth it?

Unlike Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus, American AAdvantage continues to publish award charts for travel on partner airlines, and redemption rates are largely quite good, especially for travel in premium cabins on partner airlines. Among the “big three” carriers in the US, I tend to think AAdvantage has the best redemption opportunities.

As a reminder, here are the one-way costs of first and business class AAdvantage awards originating in the United States:

Contiguous 48 U.S. To:

Business Class

First Class

Contiguous 48 U.S. States

25,000

50,000

Canada & Alaska

30,000

55,000

Hawaii

40,000

65,000

Caribbean

27,500

52,500

Mexico

27,500

52,500

Central America

27,500

52,500

South America Zone 1

30,000

55,000

South America Zone 2

57,500

85,000

Europe

57,500

85,000

Middle East / India

70,000

115,000

Africa

75,000

120,000

Asia Zone 1

60,000

80,000

Asia Zone 2

70,000

110,000

South Pacific

80,000

110,000

I find the cost of business class redemptions to be excellent in many cases. There are instances where it could make sense to pick up miles during a promotion with a short term use in mind. Just to give a few examples of some of my favorite uses of AAdvantage miles (all redemption rates are one-way):

Redeem AAdvantage miles for Qatar Airways business class

On what airlines can you redeem American AAdvantage miles?

American Airlines belongs to the oneworld alliance, so you can redeem AAdvantage miles on all oneworld airlines.

On top of that, you can redeem miles on some of American’s other partner airlines, including Air Tahiti Nui, China Southern, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, and JetBlue Airways. Soon it should also be possible to redeem miles on GOL Airlines.

Redeem AAdvantage miles for Air Tahiti Nui business class

How much are American AAdvantage miles worth?

Everyone will value mileage currencies differently, but personally I value American AAdvantage miles at ~1.5 cents each. However, I tend to value points pretty conservatively, and there are many ways to get way more value from AAdvantage miles than that.

Do American AAdvantage miles expire?

American AAdvantage miles don’t expire as long as you have at least some account activity once every 18 months. Eligible activity includes earning or redeeming AAdvantage miles in any quantity.

What other ways can you earn American AAdvantage miles?

There are lots of great ways to earn American miles aside from outright buying them:

Redeem AAdvantage miles for Royal Air Maroc business class

Bottom line

American AAdvantage has just launched its latest promotion on purchased miles, valid through the end of the year. The program is offering up to a 50% bonus on purchased miles, which is an opportunity to buy miles for 2.15 cents each. This isn’t nearly as good of a promotion as we recently saw, so I’d only make a purchase if you have an immediate use for miles in mind.

Do you plan on buying American miles with this promotion?

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