Buy as Many as 200,000 American Miles for 2 Cents Apiece Through November 30

Through November 30 American is selling miles for as little as 2 cent apiece. That’s cheaper than they usually sell miles. But they’re definitely over-hyping the sale by linking it with ‘Cyber Monday’.

Start your Cyber Monday shopping early with our best offer of the year.

It’s not a Cyber Monday offer. It’s the ‘November offer’ which lasts about two weeks. But by invoking ‘online deal day’ they make it seem like a once a year shot. In fact they regularly now run purchase miles bonuses, and the price is only marginally more. (Here was their offer from May, from July, and from October.)

Nonetheless, here’s how the offer works: Buying exactly 100,000 or 125,000 miles earns a 60% bonus. The bonuses are awarded in tiers based on ranges of miles that you purchase. Any amount other than 100,000 or 125,000 earns what amounts to a lower percentage offer.

Buying 200,000 miles costs $3994.06 (though you may be able to get the tax refunded).

That’s 1.99703 cents per mile. Let’s call it 2 cents a mile. That’s a good deal on American AAdvantage miles as far as it goes, most mileage sales that AAdvantage offer ~ 2.1 cents a mile at best. US Airways stopped selling miles at 1.88 cents apiece last fall. But American has been more aggressive selling miles than they were pre-merger.

One change though since the merger is that unlike US Airways, American processes these transactions themselves. As a result purchases count as bonusable spend for credit cards that give extra miles for airline purchases. (US Airways sold miles via Points.com, who processed the transactions.)

Noentheless, this is not a price at which I’m a buyer of miles. On average I value American miles at 1.7 cents.

They’re worth more if they put you over the top for a specific award. And they’re worth more if you redeem them for something you’d be willing to pay full or close to full price for otherwise.

American miles are worth less to me because I have a large 7 figure balance of AAdvantage miles already. More miles are worth less at the margin because I won’t likely use any that I add to my account any time in the near future.

Real value is possible though:

  • American allows you to put awards on hold for 5 days. So you can secure award space before buying miles.

  • Business class between the US and Southeast Asia is just 110,000 miles roundtrip. Business class between the US and Europe is just 100,000 miles roundtrip (with fuel surcharges if you fly British Airways, so focus on Iberia or airberlin availability). It can make sense to buy miles for an award that’s currently available (although substantial advance purchase business class to Europe during off peak times can be less than $2000 paid).


    Cathay Pacific first class is 67,500 miles one-way between the US and South Asia

This isn’t something everyone should jump on. But some people will find it a worthwhile bonus.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. After listening to a bunch of angry American flyers over the last week (at a dinner in SoCal), they’re all complaining that they can’t find saver awards for booking far into the future. A ‘buy’ on AA miles seems like a waste of money. This may have been a good deal pre us/AA, but not today. YMMV.

    Seems like Doug Parker and his gang are playing their members for ‘suckers’. Buyer beware.

  2. Hi Gary,

    Can you help me with my thinking? If one buys the miles with the Aviator Silver card (3X on AA) …

    Spend $3994 and get 211,982 miles (200,000 purchased plus 3×3994 earned on card), it reduces com to $1.88

    Is that something to be considered, or it is not generally in the equation when discussing such purchases?

    I’m trying to learn.

    Thank you.

    If I use my Aviator Silver, I get 3X on AA purchases …

  3. Gary….do you think the AA deal is worth it if I purchase the miles with my MasterCard Advantage card which generates additi9nal miles per purchase? I pay the card off monthly.

  4. @Bruce

    Haven’t seen any NYC-AUH lately other than cancellations returning to inventory. LHR-AUH is out there and SYD-AUH can be had for just a few dates- search the next couple months.

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