American AAdvantage Buy Miles Bonus: Too Expensive But Still Strategically Useful

American AAdvantage is offering a bonus on purchased miles through the end of October. The amount of bonus miles you’ll receive depends on the range of miles you purchase.

The sweet spot here is 36,000 miles purchased — to maximize your bonus, your bonus as a percent of miles bought, and also to amortize the $30 fee per transaction over the greatest number of miles.

Even still, once you factor in that $30 fee and also the 7.5% tax on the sale you’re looking at $1094.25 to buy 36,000 miles and receive a total of 46,000. That’s $0.0238 per mile.

This is strategically useful if you need to top off 46,000 to 50,000 miles in your account, or for instance if you need 7500 miles.

But at about 2.4 cents a mile I’m not a buyer to hold and use later. The price would have to be under 2 cents a mile for that for sure (and probably closer to 1.8 cents – and I do highly value my American miles relative to most other currencies though not quite as much as I value Starwood points, Chase points, or American Express points which transfer to a litany of frequent flyer and frequent guest programs).

So while I’m not buying, some of you will find this useful.

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, 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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  1. watch for better deals during spring. i paid $1,035 for 40k+13k miles in Apr this year.

    also, in the past when near end of year they will allow you to buy 60k miles (usually 40k cap) for the year, also with bonus. last Dec i paid $1,803.75 for 60k+20k miles (my only purchase for that year). if this continues, I will buy additional 20k miles, hopefully with 30% bonus vs 25% on this one.

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