Lesson From The Deal Of The Year, Don’t Neglect Other SimplyMiles

The deal of the year allowed you to buy American AAdvantage miles for less than half a cent apiece, which is unprecedented – taking advantage of an opportunity to earn 40 miles per dollar on a donation to Conservation International through Mastercard, combined with an end of year quintuple miles bonus – together that meant earning 240 miles per dollar spent. See this post for full details.

The offer was through SimplyMiles, an often-stackable way to earn American AAdvantage miles while paying for purchases with a Mastercard. And many people haven’t paid enough attention to it until this offer. There are two reasons it’s been under-covered.

  • SimplyMiles rolled out fully shortly before the pandemic. That may have caused it to gain less traction.

  • It seems the best offers don’t populate when you first sign up for the program. It can take a day or two. Sign up, link a Mastercard (or three), and you may see twice as many offers a day or two later. This is the opposite of best practice since you want customers to see the best offers and encourage engagement right away, when they’re first paying attention to a program, in order to excite them when they’re paying attention. Most people won’t come back otherwise.

So the 5 times the usual miles as a bonus on top of regular mileage earning is actually smart. For American it’s even smarter because they were getting money from Mastercard to run it. This deal makes the site and its offers really focal.

It’s easy to skip over other offers on the site because this one was so good. Against a baseline of earning up to millions of miles at an unprecedentedly low price, it’s hard to get excited about the rest of the offers on the site. But that’s probably a mistake because there are some really great offers for things you might do anyway and why leave free miles on the table?

Here are some of other things that were available, insane with the bonus:

  • Under this promotion you actually earned 9000 miles (1500 x 6)
  • I value that at $117, a 260% return on your money (plus getting whatever you’re buying at CVS)
  • This worked online, even, you don’t even need to go to a CVS store
  • You could even buy a $50 gift card at CVS! to use later
  • The offer could be used twice on two separate transactions

Some other worthwhile offers I saw,

  • 12,500 miles (with bonus) on Best Buy purchase of $200+
  • 8370 miles (with bonus) on Shiseido purchase of $150+
  • 6000 miles (with bonus) on Winc purchase of $30+
  • 18 miles per dollar (with bonus) on American Airlines Vacations $1000+ purchase, which itself earns miles
  • 138 miles per dollar (with bonus) on MovieClub purchase of $8.99+ ($0.0072 per mile)
  • 2790 miles (with bonus) on Barnes & Noble purchase of $30 (miles that may be worth more than the spend)
  • 30 miles per dollar (with bonus) on GoPuff – link a Chase Mastercard that includes statement credits and this could be free miles
  • 12,500 miles (with bonus) on Vinesse purchase of $41+ (miles that may be worth well more than the spend)
  • 8400 miles (with bonus) on Wine.com purchase of $100+

That just names a few. If you were going to buy from Wine.com or CVS anyway these are incredible deals, and maybe worth doing even if you weren’t going to. MovieClub was profitable on its own, but the charity offer if you had it was more lucrative and you probably didn’t want the MovieClub product. Vinesse wines are terrible (in my experience) but again miles worth more than the purchase price. Barnes & Noble effectively got you a rebate of the full value of a book (or other) purchase in the form of miles. And this isn’t the first time they ran a sextuple miles offer, they did it at the end of 2019 also.

All of which is to say this bonus highlights SimplyMiles and makes it something worth checking more often than I would have before.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I’m guessing Conservation International will file some quarterly report eventually and we can see how much money was directed their way due to this promotion.

  2. I know the 5x deal is over, but Is the 40 miles per dollar on a donation to Conservation International still available ?

  3. Has there been any updates since yesterday on whether the transactions from Monday (and Tuesday morning) will be honored?

  4. I heard Conservation International just announced that they were starting construction next year on a new larger headquarters in Arlington, VA. They’re going to name it the “Leff Building”. 😀

  5. @Jonathan: from the humble bragging over at One Conversion at a Time, I’d think Conservation Intl would call their new HQ “The House of Conversions”…

  6. Interesting as I had some of those targeted offers but for different bonus totals. For example, I have the CVS $45 offer but for only 250 bonus points per transaction, very odd.

    I did hear that Conservation International just bought a new corporate jet so they can more effectively check on the rainforest. They are going to name it “Simply Priceless” 🙂

  7. @DaninMCI I was in the same boat as you. Mine was a newly created account and I only had the CVS 250 for $45 deal whereas others had it for 1,500. Just this morning (when the 5X promotion had ended), I saw the 1,500 for $45 deal appear, but I still don’t see the Conservation International deal (not that it matters).

    @Mo Maybe–see above.

  8. I have the 1000 miles for $45 spend. I activated it before the 5X promo ended. Now that it has reached its cap, I am wondering if I will get 5X for CVS shopping

  9. This doesn’t even come close to pudding miles though I guess you get the tax writeoff for the donation, too.

  10. Made a $100 donation to Conservation International yesterday which should yield 20,000 AADV miles. I know it will take awhile for the points to post to AA but the SimplyMiles site doesn’t even show the purchase. Anyone else see their points posted on the SimplyMiles website?

  11. @James Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I believe the 5X bonus points offer was already expired as of yesterday. The planet thanks you though!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *