How to Buy & Redeem American AAdvantage Miles

American Airlines and Qantas planes in Sydney
Buy American Airlines AAdvantage miles to redeem for Qantas & Oneworld flights. Photo: Qantas.

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 USD75.25. 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 normally an annual purchase limit of 150,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles per calendar year, excluding bonus miles.

Special Deals on Buying AAdvantage Miles

The current American Airlines promotion, at the time of writing, offers a 35% discount on purchases of 150,000 AAdvantage miles, with smaller discounts available on smaller quantities when you buy at least 15,000 miles. Keep in mind that a 35% discount is roughly equivalent to a 70% bonus. There is no expiry date listed for this promotion.

These are the discounts available in the current promotion:

  • Buy 15,000-29,000 AAdvantage miles to get 10% off
  • Buy 30,000-104,000 AAdvantage miles to get 20% off
  • Buy 105,000-149,000 AAdvantage miles to get 25% off
  • Buy 150,000 AAdvantage miles to get 35% off

If you were to purchase the maximum of 150,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles during this promotion, this would cost USD3,668.44 (~AU$5,135).

American Airlines offers regular promotions on buying AAdvantage miles. This offer is not quite as good as previous ones, so it may be worth waiting for an even better one to come around if you don’t need miles urgently.

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.

You’ll also need to pay any applicable taxes when redeeming AAdvantage miles for an award booking, 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:

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: AAdvantage Miles Purchase/Transfer Discounts & Bonus Offers

 

Want to learn more about buying points for cheap premium cabin flights?

Frequent Flyer Solutions offers a comprehensive training program which includes an entire course on buying and redeeming points for discounted premium travel! This course covers 8 frequent flyer programs in detail, including American Airlines AAdvantage. View course →

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

Community Comments

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Not a bad deal.

I see that the processing charge has increased since last month by $5 to $35.

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It looks good ,especially the one way first class in Qantas, and I know a friend who has done this, and loved every minute of it. However ,the biggest issue is getting availability on the dates you prefer, and getting seats for two on the same flight. Does anyone know how hard or simple this is if you are booking 11+ months in advance?

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It looks good ,especially the one way first class in Qantas, and I know a friend who has done this, and loved every minute of it. However ,the biggest issue is getting availability on the dates you prefer, and getting seats for two on the same flight. Does anyone know how hard or simple this is if you are booking 11+ months in advance?

You cannot book AAdvantage awards more than 11 months in advance. They simply do not release any seats until 330 days out. For QF premium awards, you'll have to wait until even closer to departure and there's no guarantee of seats being available - although first class availability is usually decent on routes like MEL-SIN.

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I note that the number of points SYD/HKG First Class is exactly the same a Business TSV/SYD + SYD/HKG First C;cough which makes the spend of 50,000 points per person even better. I had a look and availability for 2 people is good around Dec/Jan but when is it likely AA will do a better deal with 150,000 bonus points available instead of the current 100,000 ?

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I note that the number of points SYD/HKG First Class is exactly the same a Business TSV/SYD + SYD/HKG First C;cough which makes the spend of 50,000 points per person even better. I had a look and availability for 2 people is good around Dec/Jan but when is it likely AA will do a better deal with 150,000 bonus points available instead of the current 100,000 ?

With the seasonal SYD-HKG A380 offering First cabin this a a great deal if you can find availability. Alaska MP business class at 30K one-way is still the best value IMHO, if you can find availability. Alas, they don’t allow First awards on points with any other carrier than CX to HKG (not that CX flies F to Oz though).

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I struggle to find good value with AA these days :( (nice when it was $1.10 US to the ozzie)

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I note that the number of points SYD/HKG First Class is exactly the same a Business TSV/SYD + SYD/HKG First C;cough which makes the spend of 50,000 points per person even better. I had a look and availability for 2 people is good around Dec/Jan but when is it likely AA will do a better deal with 150,000 bonus points available instead of the current 100,000 ?

Looks like midyr June and Dec/Jan they’re down to USD1.72-7c. They have the offer history over on point hacks. I don’t think the current offer has been written up.

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With the seasonal SYD-HKG A380 offering First cabin this a a great deal if you can find availability.

Hmm, well its shows availability but cant book as the seat suddenly becomes unavailable!

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Hmm, well its shows availability but cant book as the seat suddenly becomes unavailable!

AA is renowned for their QF First phantom availability :(

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Indeed. Good idea to check via JAL (hoping their new search engine is as accurate as the old one!)

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