American Tries Upping the Price of Miles to 1.83 Cents for August

American has been consistently lowering the price that they will sell miles for. After the merger with US Airways they took the Dividend Miles approach of putting miles on sale three fourths of the year. The only purpose that ‘regular price’ serves is to be a reference point that allows them to announce a huge (always on) sale.

Ben Schlappig once wrote that US Airways sold miles the same way Jos A Bank sold suits.

When American moved to the US Airways model they first hovered a little over 2 cents a mile, then the price point fell to 2 and then below 2 cents. Each promotion would vary a bit but the trend has been downward.

For June and July the price hit a new low of 1.72 cents.

For August they’re trying to bump the price
Buy exactly 150,000 miles and you’ll get receive 235,000 miles for 1.83 cents apiece. (This price is still more than AAdvantage miles are worth.)

The deal is “10% off” and a bonus of ‘up to’ 85,000 miles through August 31.

Here’s the offer table:

Buying 150,000 miles and receiving 235,000 works out to a price of $4311.19 or $0.0183 apiece.

Terms and conditions:

To be eligible for a the bonus miles and discount AAdvantage members must purchase 15,000 AAdvantage miles or more in a single transaction from the Buy or Gift Miles program beginning 12:00:00am CT on August 2, 2017 to 11:59:59pm CT on August 31, 2017. The prices shown include the discount. The discount applies to the AAdvantage miles purchased and does not apply towards taxes or the $30 transaction processing fee. The bonus miles earned are calculated based on each individual purchase amount and the corresponding bonus award. Bonus miles earned do not count toward the annual purchase limits. The applicable bonus miles are awarded to the recipient for Gift Miles transactions.

The miles purchased with the Buy Miles program and received with the Gift Miles program do not count towards AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Executive Platinum or AAdvantage Million MilerSM status qualification. Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible. The miles successfully purchased or transferred usually post to the designated account right away, but please allow up to 8 hours for processing. Each AAdvantage member is limited to purchasing or receiving in a calendar year, a combined total of no more than 150,000 AAdvantage miles. Miles purchased through the Buy Miles program or received as a gift through the Gift Miles program count against this total. A confirmation email will be sent to the primary buyer/gifter and/or recipient, using the email address(es) associated with the AAdvantage account(s) and any additional email address provided. AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old are not permitted to Buy or Gift Miles. The price of your purchase is in U.S. dollars. Your credit card company may add a currency conversion fee.

At 1.83 cents I still can’t recommend buying unless it is for a specific award where the paid ticket you would otherwise buy is more expensive and you can find the availability and put space on hold before purchasing.

In fact with more frequent premium cabin sales than in the past it isn’t even always cheaper than buying the ticket.

It is not at all surprising to see the price of American AAdvantage miles falling over with the value of those miles falling, but clearly they’re testing to see what bottom looks like and whether 1.72 (or lower) drives more purchases than 1.83. And of course they need to switch things up if only to make “Buy 1 Suit Get 7 Free” look like a limited time offer!

On average across all customers American sells miles for about 1.3 cents apiece. They make good money doing so. I wouldn’t call this cheap, but it’s better to buy at a lower price than a higher price.

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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Comments

  1. No way in h*ll I’d buy these at that price, which is way above redemption value assuming you can find award space at all. The wife and I are sitting on about 400,000 of AA miles and have been struggling for the last year or more to find either domestic or international award space at a decent redemption price. 100,000 miles for a round trip economy ticket between PHI and MSY? No thank you.

  2. People love to constantly bash Delta(deservedly sometimes) but their TATL availability on their OWN metal far surpasses AA. We’ve been to Europe 4 times in 36 months, all upfront without onerous fuel surcharges(I’m looking at you BA). And starting all 4 trips in a tiny airport with ONE connection. And their service and reliability are superior to their legacy counterparts.
    AA is so far from anything even remotely close that their miles are borderline useless. Gift cards maybe?
    And they are attempting to sell them for $1.82 each with no saver awards in sight? Bwaaaa Haaaaa Haaaaaa.
    Maybe I can burn the 160,000 AA “miles” I have left on Qatar.

  3. The price of anything is the price a fool with money will pay for it. Clearly American Airlines thinks people are more foolish now. Well the people dI’d elect , so. ….

  4. Oh, that US Airways cancer just keeps on giving, doesn’t it?

    I’m sitting on a small bunch of miles that I can’t use. Why would anyone purchase or earn Aadvantage miles if you can’t even blow your nose with them?

  5. Plenty of non-US based fliers love AA miles. Those of us based in Australia always look out for the “sales”. As an example, a business class flight MEL > PER >MEL on QF (with the new A330 lie flats) normally prices out around US$2100. This route is rarely on sale. Even buying Flex Economy is US$1000
    On AA you need 40k miles for each of those QF flights in J.
    With the current “sale” the price to buy the 80k miles for those same flights would be US$832. So 38% of the cash price
    There’s always availability. It’s a great deal for us.

  6. I know that we keep hearing that awards on AA are hard to come by, but I was able to book PHL-LAX last week for 25K (and $86 since I no longer have status), round-trip in coach. Both nonstop flights. And with my AA card, I get 10% of the miles back at the end of the year. So in reality it cost me 22.5K miles.

    Not sure if I got really lucky.

  7. @Matt~ shhh………. that’s our little secret isn’t it. I read recently that about 96% of AA and other US airlines award miles are redeemed for internal economy travel, the worst possible value for miles if you happen to have paid cash for them. That percentage doesn’t even take into account miles simply left to expire either. Sad, as the fake US president would say.

  8. My last flight with AA was DFW to GRU, first, for 85K miles. That prices out to about $6000, or 7 cents a mile. If you’re choosy, and lucky, these miles can be valuable.

  9. I remember paying 1.2 cent when USairways was selling them 10 yrs ago.Was worth it then to buy and use on F in the Star Alliance but One world on AA puts you on bA with fuel charges. wish AA would go back to Star.

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