Buying American Airlines AAdvantage miles is a clever way to save money on premium cabin airfares! The idea is to buy miles during special promotions, then to redeem them for flights worth more than what you’ve paid for the miles.
American Airlines runs regular promotions allowing you to save money or earn bonus miles when you buy AAdvantage miles. You can then redeem AAdvantage miles for premium award travel on Oneworld airlines including Qantas and Qatar Airways, as well as other American Airlines partners like Fiji Airways and Etihad Airways.
How to Buy AAdvantage Miles
You can buy AAdvantage miles on the American Airlines website.
American Airlines prices miles dynamically. The minimum purchase amount is 2,000 AAdvantage miles, and the standard price for 2,000 miles is USD64.50. But the cost of miles may be different for different AAdvantage members. The price per thousand generally gets lower as you buy more miles.
A processing charge (previously USD35 per transaction) no longer applies.
There is an annual purchase limit of 150,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles per calendar year, excluding bonus miles. At full price, it currently costs USD4,837.50 to buy 150,0000 AAdvantage miles.
Special Deals on Buying AAdvantage Miles
The current American Airlines promotion offers up to 60% bonus miles on purchases between 5,000 and 150,000 AAdvantage miles. This deal expires on 31 July 2021 (California time).
The discount amount gets larger as you buy more miles:
- Buy 5,000-24,000 AAdvantage miles and get 10% bonus miles
- Buy 25,000-49,000 AAdvantage miles and get 20% bonus miles
- Buy 50,000-99,000 AAdvantage miles and get 30% bonus miles
- Buy 100,000-124,000 AAdvantage miles and get 40% bonus miles
- Buy 125,000-149,000 AAdvantage miles and get 50% bonus miles
- Buy 150,000 AAdvantage miles and get 60% bonus miles
If you were to purchase the maximum of 150,000 miles during this promotion, you would receive 240,000 AAdvantage miles (including 90,000 bonus miles) at a cost of USD4,837.50 (~AUD6,428).
American Airlines offers regular promotions on buying miles. The July 2021 offer isn’t quite as good as the last promotion, which ran during June 2021 and came with a discount of up to 40%. (Note that bonus miles is not the same as a discount.)
See the American Airlines website for more information on the latest promotion.
Redeeming AAdvantage Miles
American Airlines AAdvantage miles are a valuable currency! You can redeem AAdvantage miles – subject to award availability – to fly on any Oneworld airline. This includes Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Finnair and Qatar Airways. American Airlines partners also include Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Etihad Airways, China Southern and Alaska Airlines.
There are many cases where the cost of buying AAdvantage miles is lower than the cost of an equivalent ticket on the flight they’re redeemed for. This is most often the case when redeeming miles for Business or First class flights. To give you an idea of how much AAdvantage miles are worth, a return Business class award booking from Australia to Europe costs just 170,000 AAdvatnage miles and First class costs 230,000 miles. This does not include any taxes payable, but these are usually minimal as American Airlines does not pass on fuel surcharges on award bookings (except when flying British Airways, Iberia or China Southern).
Here are some examples of “sweet spots” where redeeming AAdvantage miles can be good value:
- Qantas First Class flights between Australia and Asia cost 50,000 miles one-way (including Sydney-Hong Kong)
- Flights from Australia to Europe cost 85,000 miles in Business or 115,000 miles in First Class, one-way
- Etihad First Class Apartments from Sydney to Abu Dhabi cost 100,000 miles one-way
- Qantas Business class flights between Australia and New Zealand cost 25,000 miles one-way
- Qantas Business class anywhere within Australia costs 20,000 miles one-way
American Airlines AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for award flights up to 330 days in advance.
You can discuss buying AAdvantage miles on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: New AAdvantage Points Purchase/Transfer Discount+Bonus Offer
Want to learn more about buying points for cheap premium cabin flights?
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