Summer Special: American Brings Back Lowest-Ever Purchase Price for Miles

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Ever since US Airways management took over at American, AAdvantage sells miles the way that US Airways used to. Regular price only seems to exist to promote discounts against. Miles are usually sold with a bonus, a discount, or both — not regular price.

Frequently they sell miles at around 1.88 cents apiece. Once in awhile they get that down to 1.77. Only twice before that I’ve seen have they sold miles at 1.72 cents each. First in June 2016, then again in 2017, and now the offer is back through June 30, 2018. It’s almost like they’re losing creativity in these sales.

Back before American devalued their miles in March 2016 I’d have considered this a good price. Now their miles are worth less than 1.72 cents each. However I know that some of you find value in buying lots of miles for business class redemptions to Asia. And of course it’s always better to get a better deal on miles than a worse deal if you need to top off an account anyway.

Here’s the bonus and discount chart:

Buying 150,000 miles yields a 100,000 mile bonus and a 10% discount. That means you’re buying 250,000 miles for $4311.19. That’s 1.724476 per mile.

In theory at least if you use your miles for international travel you should be able to get the 7.5% excise tax back.


American Boeing 787-9 Business Class

American lets you put awards on hold for 5 days under most circumstances. So you can secure awards, then buy the miles, then go back to ticket.

American processes these transactions themselves. As a result purchases count as bonusable spend for credit cards that give extra miles for airline purchases. The Platinum Card by American Express earns 5 miles per dollar spent directly with an airline.

Personally I think getting an American Airlines co-brand credit card is a much better deal to rack up miles. I was just approved for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® which offers 70,000 miles after $4000 spend within the first four months of cardmembership. That’s the biggest offer for this card I’ve ever seen.

The personal a href=”http://vftw-links.com/aa60kmay” target=_blank>Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® offers a 60,000 mile initial bonus after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Terms and conditions:

To be eligible for a the bonus miles and discount AAdvantage members must purchase 11,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction from the Buy or Gift Miles program beginning 12:00:00am CT on June 12, 2018 to 11:59:59pm CT on June 30, 2018. The prices shown include the discount. The discount applies to the AAdvantage miles purchased and does not apply towards taxes or the $30 transaction processing fee. The bonus miles earned are calculated based on each individual purchase amount and the corresponding bonus award. Bonus miles earned do not count toward the annual purchase limits. The applicable bonus miles are awarded to the recipient for Gift Miles transactions.

The miles purchased with the Buy Miles program and received with the Gift Miles program do not count towards AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, 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. 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. A confirmation email will be sent to the primary buyer/gifter and/or recipient, using the email address(es) associated with the AAdvantage account(s) and any additional email address provided. AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old are not permitted to Buy or Gift Miles. Prices are in U.S. dollars and do not include applicable taxes or $30 per transaction processing charge. The promotion, pricing and/or fee to Buy, Gift or Share Miles is subject to change without notice. Your credit card company may add a currency conversion fee.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

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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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Does this take into account putting the purchase on the Citi Executive card and earning 3 miles/$ spent on the AA mileage purchase? If not, the ratio is even more favorable.

  2. To @Ritz’s point – if we can use this for the required spend for the welcome bonus for the Business card you mentioned you would get:

    250,000+
    070,000+
    008,622

    Bringing you up to 328,622 for $4,311.19, which is something like 1.31 cents per mile, if I am doing my math right?

  3. Still about twice what they are worth. That’s why they do not allow the sale of customer owned flyer miles! They can stick those miles in their new micro toilets- I’ll pee in a cup first.

  4. To Paul’s point, the price may be the lowest ever, but the delta between price and the value remains as high as ever.

  5. American Airlines…

    Proud to offer shrinking seats, shrinking toilets, and shrinking AAdvantage mileage points.

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