American Airlines Is Now Selling Miles For 2.1 Cents Each


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American Airlines is back with another offer of a bonus for anyone still willing to buy AAdvantage miles and in keeping with the recent trend the airline is repeating a promotion we’ve seen before – buy miles and get up to 50,000 bonus miles thrown in.

Headline Terms & Conditions

  • Promotion runs through 11:59:59pm CT January 30, 2018.
  • Each AAdvantage member is limited to purchasing or receiving in a calendar year, a combined total of no more than 150,000 AAdvantage miles. Miles purchased through the Buy Miles program or received as a gift through the Gift Miles program count against this total.
  • Bonus miles earned do not count toward the annual purchase limits.
  • The miles purchased with the Buy Miles program and received with the Gift Miles program do not count towards AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Executive Platinum or AAdvantage Million MilerSM status qualification.
  • Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible.
  • The miles successfully purchased or transferred usually post to the designated account right away, but please allow up to 8 hours for processing.

Image: American Airlines

Buying AAdvantage Miles – The Cost

The latest AAdvantage Miles promotion is, as always, a tiered promotion and is exactly the same as the promotion the airline ran back in January 2016.

And, because of the nature of the tiering, the best cost per mile is to be found at the bottom of the top-tier.

Here’s how that works:

Buying the maximum number of miles that the airline is prepared to sell would see you end up with 200,000 AAdvantage Miles (after accounting for the bonus) at a total cost of $4,786.88.

200,000 miles for $4,786.88 comes to ~2.4 cents/mile.

If you choose to buy 100,000 AAdvantage miles (the minimum number of miles you can purchase while still receiving the maximum 50,000 mile bonus) you would end up with 150,000 AAdvantage Miles at a total cost of $3,201.25.

150,000 miles for $3,201.25 comes to ~2.1 cents/mile.

Considering you could have bought AAdvantage Miles at 1.77 cents each as recently as 4 January that’s not looking like such a great deal.

Should You Buy AAdvantage Miles?

Probably not.

I value AAdvantage Miles at around 1.2 cents each so I’d find it hard to recommend you buy miles at 2.1 cents each….but I’ll concede that there could be a time when buying miles in this promotion isn’t a totally ridiculous thing to do.

Here’s what to do:

  • Check that there’s a saver award bookable right now that works for you – if you can’t find an award you can book straight away then ignore the next steps.
  • Work out how many miles you need to book the award
  • Work out the cost to buy the miles you need
  • Find out the total cost of the award you want to book. i.e. make sure you include all the taxes and fees you’ll have to pay on top of the miles you’ll need to book the award.
  • Find out cash price for the tickets you wish to book with miles – there are a lot of good premium cabin fares around so using miles may not be the right thing to do.

Example:

If you’re hoping to use the miles from this promotion to book a Business Class trip between the US and Europe on American Airlines it will cost you 115,000 AAdvantage Miles + taxes (for a round-trip award).

Buying those miles in this promotion will cost you a little over $2,415 and, when you book the award, there will be taxes to pay on top of that too.

It may be the case that this is cheaper than the cash price for the same Business Class flights in which case buying miles in this promotion is a good idea…..but if you can be flexible with your plans you can almost certainly do better.

There are usually occasions throughout the year where round-trip Business Class flights (between the US and Europe) can be picked up for under $2,000 so, if you can hold out for one of those deals, that’s a much better option.

Bottom Line

The last promotion ended on 4 January and now here we are just a few days later with another miles promotion so they’re not exactly rare!

With that in mind you should crunch the numbers, see how the costs work for you and make sure you don’t rush in to any miles purchase – if this promotion doesn’t look great for you then there’s every chance there will be another one along soon after this one ends and that may be better (if history keeps repeating itself the next promotion should offer miles at around 2.02 cents each).