American Airlines is offering up to 100,000 bonus miles when buying AAdvantage miles when you purchase by 11:59pm on 2 August US Central time—this equates to around 1.73 US cents per mile at the best-value tier.
These offers run almost monthly (see Offer history for details of past points value). The current offer is the best we’ve seen in 12 months. In fact, AAdvantage seems to offer miles at their lowest price in the middle of the year. This is the fourth year in a row that this has occurred.
Buying AAdvantage miles makes the most sense when topping up your balance for a specific Business or First Class redemption on American Airlines, a oneworld partner like Qantas or Qatar Airways, or Alaska Airlines.
As of March 2019, AA miles can now redeemed for China Southern flights too. They fly to all five major Australian airports (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide).
The current AAdvantage purchase miles promotion
- Bonus: 4,000 to 100,000 miles (tiered)
- Valid until: 2 August (US Central Time)
- Best-value redemptions: domestic Qantas Business Class, Fiji Airways Business to Fiji, Qantas/Cathay Pacific/Japan Airlines Business & First within/to/from Asia, and Qatar Business Class to Europe
- Book awards online: for AA, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Etihad, British Airways and some others—full list
- Book awards over the phone: for other partners, you can only book over the phone and may be charged a US$30-40 fee, but ask the phone agent to waive it if you weren’t able to book online
- Close-in ticketing fee: if you are making a booking less than 21 days prior to departure, a $75 fee will be charged, both online and over the phone
- Link: buy AAdvantage miles
This promotion yields the cheapest per mile price of ~1.73 US cents per mile when buying exactly 150,000 miles (250,000 miles total including the bonus) for US$4,315.05.
Note: AAdvantage miles expire after 18 months of inactivity in your account, so make sure to keep your account active by earning/redeeming miles regularly.
Why purchase AAdvantage miles?
- For oneworld partner redemptions: American Airlines is a member of the oneworld alliance, so you can redeem AAdvantage miles across any oneworld airline, including Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Qatar Airways, as well as for Alaska Airlines
- Very helpful award hold policy: with AA, it is possible to hold award bookings for up to five days (if booking more than two weeks from departure) or 24 hours (if booking closer), allowing you to pencil in plans and then confirm the ticket once you’ve bought or transferred the miles into your account. This policy makes it really easy to make risk-free redemption holds while you re-confirm total costs of making your booking and buying the points
- More generous point promotions than Qantas and Velocity: AAdvantage offers the option of purchasing miles outright at a fixed value, unlike Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity, where points purchases are both expensive and limited in the amount you can buy
The best value AAdvantage redemptions for Australian and NZ travellers
Here are some of the better-priced and more readily-available awards for travellers from Australia and NZ:
|Example Redemption||AAdvantage miles required||Cost (USD) with latest promotion at highest bonus tier*|
|*All redemption prices are in USD, one-way, and do not include booking fees, taxes and other charges|
|Any Business Class domestic Australia flight with Qantas||20000||$346|
|Australia to/from New Zealand in Business Class with Qantas||25000||$432.5|
|Australia or New Zealand to Fiji on Fiji Airways Business Class||30000||$519|
|Australia / New Zealand Business Class to Asia Zone 1 (Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam)||40000||$692|
|Australia / New Zealand Business Class to Asia Zone 2 (Japan and Korea)||40000||$692|
|Australia / New Zealand First Class to Asia Zone 1||60000||$1038|
|Australia / New Zealand Business Class to Europe on oneworld airlines and Etihad||85000||$1470.5|
Factors to consider when purchasing AAdvantage miles
Just like any miles purchase deal, you’ll need to take into consideration the following factors:
- The cost of the miles required for your intended route
- The US$30-40 phone booking fee for some partners
- The USD:AUD exchange rate
- The taxes that come along with the booking, which are most easily confirmed by American over the phone
- The time taken to research award availability and make the booking
- AAdvantage accounts less than 30 days old are not permitted to buy or gift miles, so register for an account now so you can take advantage of future promotions
- AAdvantage usually lets you purchase or gift 100,000-150,000 miles (not including the bonus miles on offer) per year per account receiving the miles, so ensure you are buying into a deal when you have a redemption in mind or you think it’s a really good one
- Be sure to get to the checkout page to see the full cost of your purchase including all USD fees and taxes
The simplest way to track historical AAdvantage offers is with the US-cents-per-mile cost for the best offer tier for that period:
|Date||Cost per mile|
Why purchasing AAdvantage miles is easier than earning them
The most common way to acquire AAdvantage miles for Australian and NZ travellers outside of flights would be to either:
- purchase them (the purpose of this guide)
- earn them through hotel stays, car rental or the AAdvantage online shopping mall for purchases from US retailers
Marriott Rewards is also a points transfer partner.
Purchasing miles directly from American Airlines is usually the most cost-effective method if you have a specific flight you are targeting.
With most of these promotions I am usually quite risk-averse, and would only recommend purchasing miles for topping up an account or buying the full chunk of miles if you have a specific redemption in mind, but not to purchase speculatively. Your preferences may differ though!
Making your booking
Bookings using your miles can be made online if looking to fly American, British Airways, Qantas, Etihad or a few other airline partners.
If not, they’ll have to be made over the phone with the (usually excellent) call centre for the region, which happens to be in Fiji.
From Australia, you can contact them on (02) 9101 1948, selecting option 2 for award travel.
Be sure to check the taxes and fees that will be incurred with your booking as well. I find the easiest way to do this is simply to research availability online on the Qantas website and call AAdvantage to price up the booking.
The appeal of AAdvantage has declined since their devaluation in March 2016, but Australia and New Zealand still do have some well-priced redemption opportunities available to use for cheaper premium cabin flights by buying miles and immediately redeeming them.
AAdvantage’s generous award hold policy makes the process much less risky, allowing you to hold an award, buy the miles and then call back to get it ticketed once they are added to your account.
Buying miles to redeem for flights in this way is still time-consuming, requiring you to research availability to death before you can book.
Whilst there aren’t many valuable deals for Economy travellers here, if you are keen for a Business or First Class bargain, you can still pick one up when buying AAdvantage miles.
Are you new to the purchasing points game?
If you’re new to the world of buying points/miles, we’ve written a full intro guide.
You can also access more comprehensive guides for buying points in each individual frequent flyer program below.