Buying American Airlines AAdvantage miles is a clever way to save money on premium cabin airfares! The idea is to buy AAdvantage 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 American Airlines partners including Qantas and Etihad Airways.
How to Buy AAdvantage Miles
You can buy AAdvantage miles on the American Airlines website. It costs USD29.50 (~$39) per thousand to buy AAdvantage miles. This does not include a 7.5% US federal excise tax and USD30 (~$40) processing charge per transaction. There is an annual purchase limit of 150,000 AAdvantage miles per calendar year, excluding bonus miles.
To buy AAdvantage miles, you must have been a member of American Airlines’ frequent flyer program for at least 60 days. If you credit at least one flight to AAdvantage, this requirement reduces to 30 days. If you’re not already an AAdvantage member, why not join now (it’s free) so you can take advantage of future promotions?
Special Deals on Buying AAdvantage Miles
American Airlines’ most recent promotion on buying AAdvantage miles offers 10% off and up to 100,000 bonus AAdvantage miles! This offer expires on 1 August, 2018. The value of the bonus increases as you buy more miles. Here are the latest offers:
- Buy 11,000 to 20,000 miles: 10% discount + 2,500 bonus AAdvantage miles
- Buy 21,000 to 50,000 miles: 10% discount + 5,000 bonus AAdvantage miles
- Buy 51,000 to 75,000 miles: 10% discount + 15,000 bonus AAdvantage miles
- Buy 76,000 to 100,000 miles: 10% discount + 27,500 bonus AAdvantage miles
- Buy 101,000 to 125,000 miles: 10% discount + 45,000 bonus AAdvantage miles
- Buy 126,000 to 149,000 miles: 10% discount + 70,000 bonus AAdvantage miles
- Buy 150,000 miles (maximum): 10% discount + 100,000 bonus AAdvantage miles
If you were to purchase the maximum 150,000 AAdvantage miles during this promotion, you would receive 250,000 miles for a total cost of USD4,311.19 (~$5,790).
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 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 or Iberia).
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
- Business Class 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
You can discuss buying AAdvantage miles – or anything else to do with the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program – on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: American Airlines AAdvantage forum