IN BRIEF | American Airlines has quietly increased the cost of buying AAdvantage miles. But as compensation, the airline has removed the pesky per-transaction processing charge that previously applied to purchases of the airline’s frequent flyer currency. In addition, there is now a minimum purchase of 2,000 AAdvantage miles per transaction – up from 1,000 miles.
American Airlines previously sold AAdvantage miles at USD29.50 per thousand, plus a 7.5% US federal excise tax, bringing the cost to USD31.71 for every 1,000 miles. But prices now vary based on the number of miles purchased, starting at USD101.50 for 2,000 miles. AAdvantage miles become cheaper as you purchase more miles, but are still slightly more expensive overall compared to previous rates.
As an example of the new pricing, 10,000 AAdvantage miles would previously have cost USD317.13. They now cost USD354.75. However, the removal of the USD35 processing charge means that the real cost increase is only USD2.62.
The processing charge levied when buying AAdvantage miles had been USD30 until last year, when it was increased to USD35. It’s now gone.
The good news is that none of these changes are particularly drastic – although it wouldn’t have hurt for the AAdvantage program to notify its members about the changes! The changes appear to have been brought in earlier this week.
American Airlines is currently running a promotion where you can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles when buying AAdvantage miles. This offer ends on 30 April 2019.
Buying AAdvantage miles could still be good value when buying in larger quantities – especially when there are discounts and bonus miles on offer.
In related news, American Airlines revealed last Wednesday that AAdvantage members can now earn and redeem miles on China Southern. The Chinese carrier exited the SkyTeam alliance in January. American Airlines is a member of the competing Oneworld alliance.