35th Anniversary Discount: American Selling Miles for 1.89 Cents Each

American AAdvantage is giving away free miles to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

They’re also selling miles at a discount for their anniversary as well.

It’s the AAdvantage® program’s 35th anniversary, and we’re celebrating by offering you 35% off when you buy or gift miles.

From May 4 through June 1, save up to 35% when you buy or gift 15,000 or more American Airlines AAdvantage® miles. Plus, you’ll earn bonus miles when you buy at least 135,000 miles for yourself or gift at least 135,000 miles to a friend or loved one. Use the miles to get away or make that next milestone trip.

If you buy 150,000 miles you’re going to receive 165,000 and with this offer you also get 35% off.

Add in tax and ‘processing’ (seriously — you’re spending $3000 on their proprietary currency and they hit you with a junk fee for agreeing to take your money) and you’re at $3122.02.

That works out to 1.89 cents per mile. The thing is that 1.8 – 2.1 cents a mile is “the new normal” with the airline running discounts on the sale of miles more often than not. They’ve imported the US Airways approach to selling miles, and even settled close to the US Airways price.

So while it’s a good discount on miles, and if you’re going to buy miles to top off an account towards an award it’s better to do it at a discount than at full price, there’s no need to ‘jump’ on this pricing. It hardly strikes me as reaching the level of 35th anniversary special but then they hyped their mileage sale in November as a Cyber Monday deal.

This can be useful though — especially to top off an account, but in some cases to buy premium cabin flights at a discount. American lets you put awards on hold for 5 days under most circumstances. So you can secure awards, then buy the miles, then go back to ticket.

Business class between the US and Europe is still just 115,000 miles roundtrip. Focus on Iberia or airberlin availability to avoid fuel surcharges, or American’s own flights on 787s, 777-300ERs, and reconfigured 777-200s for the best experience. It can make sense to buy miles for an award that’s currently available (although substantial advance purchase business class to Europe during off peak times can be less than $2000 paid).

American Boeing 787 Business Class

One change since the merger is that unlike US Airways, American processes these transactions themselves. As a result purchases count as bonusable spend for credit cards that give extra miles for airline purchases. (US Airways sold miles via Points.com, who processed the transactions.)

This isn’t something everyone should jump on. But some people will find it a worthwhile bonus.
I believe the current Alaska Airlines sale on miles and the LifeMiles deal at 1.47 cents apiece are better than this AAdvantage offer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. AA vacations might be a better bet. You earn miles on those tickets and you get a free hotel

  2. Seems like another AA gimmick. Good luck getting the reduced mileage awards for international travel.

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