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American Airlines is offering up to 100,000 bonus miles and 10% off on the purchase of miles through July 8, 2016. You can now buy 250,000 American Airlines miles including bonus for $4,311 or 1.72 cents each. That’s the cheapest I’ve ever seen American Airlines miles for sale.

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The discount is fixed, but the bonus miles are tiered, based on how many miles you purchase. The best deal is to buy 150,000.

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American Airlines miles cost 2.95 cents each plus a 7.5% excise tax, and every purchase has a $30 processing fee. The cheapest per-mile price comes from purchasing 150,000 American Airlines miles + 100,000 bonus miles for $3,122.

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That works out to getting 250,000 miles for 1.72 cents each. The most recent sale was for 1.89 cents each, and the cheapest one this year cost 1.81 cents each.

Math

The cheapest miles cost 1.72 cents each during this promotion, and that requires shelling out $4,300+. I value American Airlines miles around 1.5 cents each, so there is no way I would buy these miles speculatively for 1.72 cents. The only way it could possibly make sense to buy miles at these prices is if you had an immediate high value use for them.

Possible high value uses are off peak international awards like 22,500 miles one way to Europe and partner Business Class awards like Japan Airlines Business Class to Japan or Korea for 60,000 miles.

To figure out if you have a high value use, use this simple expression:

(A – B) / (C + D)

  • A: Value of the award. Important: this is the lesser of the cash price and your subjective value.
  • B: Taxes on the award
  • C: Miles used on the award
  • D: Miles you would earn if you purchased the award ticket with cash

This will spit out the dollar value you are getting for your miles. If that number is greater than 0.0172, put your dream award on a free five day hold with American Airlines, then buy American Airlines miles.

Otherwise, don’t buy.

Buy AAdvantage Miles with These Credit Cards

AAdvantage miles purchases are processed directly by American Airlines. That’s great news!

It means you can buy them with your Citi Prestige® Card, and its $250 Air Travel Credit will refund you the first $250 of the purchase price of the miles (plus you’ll earn 4x ThankYou Points on the first $250 of the miles purchase.)

It means you can purchase American Airlines miles with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, then use your Arrival miles for an offsetting statement credit.

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Bottom Line

You can buy 165,000 American Airlines for $3,122 or 1.89 cents each. That’s too high to buy speculatively. Hopefully cheaper sales come along.

The American Airlines miles sales are processed by American Airlines itself, so you can get category bonuses on cards that bonus airline or travel purchases like my latest card, the Citi Prestige® Card which offers 3x on purchases from airlines, or you can use your Arrival Plus to get American Airlines miles for zero cash.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


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