Buy American Miles at Promo Rate [July 2017]

American Airlines has announced a promotional rate for buying American AAdvantage miles through July 31, 2017. You can buy between 11,000 miles and 150,000 miles and receive a 10% discount.

In addition to the discount, you will receive bonus miles when you purchase at least 11,000 American miles. The number of bonus miles awarded is determined by the number of miles you purchase.

To purchase miles (during a promo or otherwise) your account must be at least 30 days old. If you haven’t created an AAdvantage account already and want to be eligible the next time American runs a promo rate for buying miles, make sure you create an account today.

Details of the American Miles Promo

Assuming your account is at least 30 days old, here’s a breakdown of the bonus miles you will receive based on how many miles you buy:

AAdvantage Miles PurchasedBonus Miles Earned
11,000-20,000 miles2,500 bonus miles
21,000-50,000 miles5,000 bonus miles
51,000-75,000 miles15,000 bonus miles
76,000-100,000 miles27,5000 bonus miles
101,000-125,000 miles45,000 bonus miles
126,000-149,000 miles70,000 bonus miles
150,000 miles100,000 bonus miles

If you buy the minimum of 11,000 miles to receive bonus miles, your total cost (including taxes and the processing fee charged by American Airlines) will come out to $343.95. Since we want to consider both the cost of the miles plus their value when redeemed, it’s smart to consider the cost per mile here.

With this small purchase, the cost is about 2.55 cents per mile. However, if you buy the maximum 150,000 miles and receive 100,000 bonus miles, the cost per mile is about 1.72 cents. The total cost for those 250,000 miles would be $4,311.19, though, which is a much bigger price tag!

Another important point to remember is that you can only purchase 150,000 American miles per year. If you have already purchased any miles this year, you won’t be eligible to purchase the maximum of 150,000 miles during this promo.

Should You Buy American Miles During This Promo?

Now that we have the nuts and bolts of the promo out of the way, you’re probably wondering if this is even worth it.

We currently value American AAdvantage miles at about 1.4 cents per mile. The exact value you can get out of your American miles will vary, though. If you book a domestic economy award, your value could be below 1.4 cents per mile. If you book an international business or first class award ticket, the value of your miles could be significantly higher.

Cathay Pacific First Class Ticket Price
Cathay Pacific has one of the best first class products in the world.

For example, if you wanted to book a round-trip first class ticket on American’s partner Cathay Pacific, that could cost around $30,000 if you bought a cash ticket. If you booked this ticket with American miles, it would cost 220,000 miles round-trip. (You could also book a one-way ticket for 110,000 miles.)

cathay pacific first class
Enjoy a glass of champagne (or 2) while enjoying Cathay Pacific first class.

If you’ve wanted to book Cathay Pacific first class to experience true luxury travel, spending just over $4,000 might be worth it when you consider that you could save nearly $26,000 on these flights.

American will let you put award tickets on hold for up to 5 days, so make sure you put the ticket on hold to ensure you have the seat locked in before you buy miles. Imagine the frustration you’d feel if you bought miles only to see the award space you needed had disappeared!

If you can earn American miles through one of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards or one of American’s co-branded credit cards, you might not need to buy that many miles if any at all.

Assuming you have the ability to earn miles with your credit card spending, leave buying miles for the times when you find award space for the dates you want, but need a few more miles to make the booking happen.

You might wonder why we didn’t use a flight on American Airlines as an example. Unfortunately, American rarely releases saver level award space on their own flights, so at this point we can’t recommend buying miles to book an award on American.

Bottom Line: You will get the most value out of your miles when booking international premium cabin award seats.

Buying Miles? Make the Most of It!

If you decide that buying American miles during this promo is right for you, make sure you get the most out of it. When you buy miles from American Airlines, the purchase actually codes as airfare, which means it falls into the travel category of many credit cards. This means you can earn some bonus points on top of the miles you are buying.

The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar. This is easily the most points you can earn when buying miles from American.

You could also earn 3 points per dollar with any of the following: the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, and the Citi Prestige® Card.

Finally, you can earn 2 points per dollar with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Using these cards, you can earn Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, or ThankYou Points for future travel when you buy miles. In a sense, using these cards provides a small rebate on your purchase in the form of transferable points that can help you book flights or hotel stays.

Final Thoughts

The most important things to consider in all of this are whether you can earn the necessary miles without buying them, and whether you can get a ton of value out of your miles if you do decide to buy them.

If you’re booking a first class award flight (or even a business class award flight), it might make sense to purchase some miles to top off your account depending on your situation.

In the end, it comes down to how many miles you need and whether you can earn them with your regular credit card spending. If you can, stick to that method. If not, be strategic about buying miles to guarantee that you get maximum value for every dollar you spend.

Following these guidelines, you should be able to decide what is right for you!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 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.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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