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:
- Qantas First Class flights between Australia and Asia cost 50,000 miles one-way
- 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: AAdvantage Miles Purchase/Transfer Discounts & Bonus Offers
Want to learn more about buying points for cheap premium cabin flights?
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