American Airlines is offering up to a 45% discount when buying AAdvantage miles —this equates to around 1.76 US cents per mile at the best-value tier.

These offers run almost monthly (see Offer history for details of past points value). The lowest price is usually offered in the middle of the year, followed by the end/start of the year.

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.

The current AAdvantage purchase miles promotion

  • Discount: 10% – 45% off (tiered)
  • Valid until: 30 July
  • 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
  • Link: buy AAdvantage miles

This promotion yields the cheapest per mile price of ~1.76 US cents per mile when buying exactly 150,000 miles for US$2,636.97.

Qantas A330 Business Class
Qantas A330 Business Class

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?

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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 redemptionAAdvantage miles requiredCost (USD) with latest promotion at highest bonus tier*
Any Qantas domestic Business Class flight20000$352
To New Zealand in Qantas Business Class25000$440
To Fiji in Qantas or Fiji Airways Business Class30000$528
To Asia in Qantas/Cathay Pacific/Japan Airlines Business Class40000$704
To Asia in Qantas/Japan Airlines First Class60000$1056
To the US in Qantas/AA Business Class80000$1408
To Europe in oneworld/Etihad Business Class85000$1496

*All redemption prices are in USD, one-way, and do not include booking fees, taxes, and other charges

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

Offer history

The simplest way to track historical AAdvantage offers is with the US-cents-per-mile cost for the best offer tier for that period:

DateCost per mile
(US cents)
July 20201.76
April-May 20201.84
March-April 20201.6Lowest
March 20201.86
February 20201.86
January 20201.78
December 20191.89
November 20192.01
October 20192.03
September 20192.08
August 20191.84
June-August 20191.73
May 20191.92
March-April 20191.92
February 20192.03
January 20192.10
December 20181.77
November 20181.92
September 20182.08
August 20181.84
June-August 20181.72
May 20182.08
March 20181.81
February 20182.02
January 20182.13
December 20171.77
November 20171.91
October 20172.10
September 20172.02
August 20171.83
June-July 20171.72
May 20171.77
March 20171.80
February 20172.24Highest
January 20172.13
December 20161.77
November 20161.90
September 20162.02
August 20162.00
June 20161.72
May 20161.89
March 20161.81
February 20162.02
January 20162.13
December 20151.81
November 20151.98
October 20152.10
August 20152.09
July 20152.00
May-June 20152.06
May 20152.09
April 20152.00
February 20152.07
January 20152.14

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 Bonvoy 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.

Summing up

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.

You can purchase AAdvantage miles here.

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.

Buy AAdvantage miles at their best price since March was last modified: August 28th, 2020 by Daniel Kinnoch

You can also access more comprehensive guides for buying points in each individual frequent flyer program below.

Buy AAdvantage miles at their best price since March was last modified: August 28th, 2020 by Daniel Kinnoch
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Buy AAdvantage miles at their best price since March was last modified: August 28th, 2020 by Daniel Kinnoch
Buy AAdvantage miles at their best price since March was last modified: August 28th, 2020 by Daniel Kinnoch