Buying points from airline loyalty programs can be a good way to top up your balance for a premium redemption, or to provide access to points programs that are otherwise difficult to acquire.
From now through to November 27, 2023, American Airlines is offering up to a 50% discount when you buy AAdvantage miles.
While many airlines offer frequent sales on their currencies, this is a comparatively rare occurrence for American Airlines AAdvantage these days, which makes this sale particularly noteworthy.
Buy AAdvantage Miles with a 50% Discount
As a Black Friday sale, American Airlines AAdvantage members can purchase miles with up to a 50% discount.
The sale is on until November 27, 2023, which leaves a relatively short window to take advantage of the offer.
This offer has a tiered structure, giving you an increasing percentage off the price as you purchase more miles. The discounts for the current sale are structured as follows:
- Buy 5,000–54,000 miles and receive a 25% discount
- Buy 55,000–149,000 miles and receive a 35% discount
- Buy 150,000–350,000 miles and receive a 50% discount
American Airlines AAdvantage typically sells miles at 3.5 cents per mile (USD), before taxes.
By taking advantage of the sale, you’ll be able to acquire AAdvantage miles for as low as 1.88 cents (USD) apiece, assuming you purchase 150,000–350,000 points.
It’s worth noting that this is the best deal we’ve seen on AAdvantage miles this year, and there’s no telling as to when the next sale will be, since the program doesn’t put on promotions as frequently as it used to.
How many AAdvantage Miles can you buy?
Generally speaking, AAdvantage members are limited to a maximum of 150,000 purchased miles each calendar year.
During this promotion, American Airlines has upped the limit to 350,000 miles, which allows members to purchase more than twice as many miles as usual.
Therefore, if you were to max out the promotion, you’d wind up with 350,000 miles at a cost of $6,584.38 (USD), including the federal excise tax.
However, if you only recently signed up to be a member of the AAdvantage program, you may not qualify for this sale. Membership accounts need to be at least 30 days old before they’re allowed to purchase miles.
Which credit card should you use to buy AAdvantage Miles?
When purchasing AAdvantage miles, the transaction is completed directly on the American Airlines website, which means the purchase is considered travel spending.
Therefore, when buying AAdvantage miles, you should use a credit card that offers a bonus for travel purchases.
The best options are with US-issued credit cards, which tend to offer better category multipliers for travel purchases than Canadian credit cards.
For example, you’ll earn 5 American Express US Membership Rewards points per US dollar spent directly with airlines on the American Express US Platinum Card, or 3 Amex US MR points per US dollar spent directly with airlines on the American Express US Gold Card or the American Express US Green Card.
If you have either the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per US dollar spent or 2 Ultimate Rewards points per US dollar spent on purchased AAdvantage miles, respectively.
Furthermore, the Citi Premier Card earns 3 ThankYou Rewards points per US dollar spent on airfares, which could also be a great option.
Keep in mind that AAdvantage miles are sold in US dollars. This means that if you’re using a Canadian-issued credit card, you’ll want to use one with no foreign transaction fees to avoid being charged a 2.5% fee.
You’ll also incur GST/HST if you have a Canadian address, which eats away at the value of the purchase.
Therefore, your best bet is to use a US address and a US-issued credit card for the purchase.
If you’re stuck with Canadian credit cards, then you may want to use the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card or the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, which both come with no foreign transaction fees and earn Scene+ points.
When Should You Buy AAdvantage Miles?
For example, if you’re short by a few miles for an upcoming redemption, you can simply top up your account by purchasing miles, which are then added to your account.
With enough AAdvantage Miles available for a redemption, you can then proceed with the booking as per usual.
In other cases, you may be able to score a flight in a premium cabin at a significant discount versus paying cash for the same flight.
No matter what you choose to do, as long as you’re redeeming your points at a greater value than what you paid to acquire them, you’ll come out ahead.
American Airlines AAdvantage provides access to a number of Oneworld and independent partner airlines, including some of the best aspirational products in the game.
Better yet, it uses a fixed-price award chart for travel on partner airlines, which means you can reliably predict how much a flight will cost.
Here are some great redemptions with AAdvantage miles, assuming you can find award availability:
- Fly from Canada or the US to Japan or South Korea in Japan Airlines business class for 60,000 miles
- Fly Etihad Airways First Class from Abu Dhabi to London for 62,500 miles
- Fly from Canada or the US to the Indian subcontinent in Qatar Airways Qsuites for 70,000 miles
- Fly from Canada or the US to Asia via Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific business class for 70,000 miles
- Fly from Canada or the US to South Africa via Doha in Qatar Airways Qsuites for 75,000 miles
- Fly between Australia and the US West Coast in Qantas First Class for 110,000 miles
For any of these redemptions, it’d cost between $1,467–2,690 (USD) with this sale, which is almost certainly a steep discount compared to the cash price.
Fortunately, there’s a calendar search function available on the AAdvantage website, which makes finding award availability much easier than with other programs.
If you find something you’d like to book, you’ll also want to make sure it’s not “phantom” award space before you make the purchase.
Other Ways to Earn AAdvantage Miles
Buying miles tends to be one of the easier, albeit more expensive, ways to boost your balance.
However, unless you have an immediate need to boost your AAdvantage balance, it’s worth considering the other ways to come across miles.
Compared to other programs that have many transfer partners, AAdvantage miles are relatively difficult to come by.
In Canada, American Airlines AAdvantage is a transfer partner with RBC Avion at a 1:0.7 ratio.
Up to 55,000 RBC Avion points†
Up to 55,000 RBC Avion points†
55,000 RBC Avion points†
35,000 RBC Avion points
35,000 RBC Avion points
You can also earn AAdvantage miles by transferring points from several hotel loyalty programs.
World of Hyatt points can also be transferred to AAdvantage miles, and at a slightly better ratio of 2.5:1. However, it’s worth noting that you can likely get better value by redeeming Hyatt points for hotel stays, instead of transferring them out to AAdvantage.
While there aren’t any Canadian-issued credit cards that directly earn AAdvantage miles, there are a fair number of US-issued credit cards offered by CitiBank and Barclays.
Depending on the card, you can earn between 10,000–80,000 AAdvantage miles as a welcome bonus, with the ability to earn more AAdvantage miles by using your credit card for daily spending.
Most cards earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on American Airlines, as well as on card-specific categories, though some offer earning rates as high as 4 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent.
Otherwise, you’ll generally earn a base rate of 1 mile per dollar spent.
All of these cards, along with their earn rates and current welcome bonuses, can be found on the American Airlines website.
American Airlines is offering up to a 50% discount on purchased AAdvantage miles.
If you’ve got your eye on an aspirational flight, and you’re only a handful of miles short, this sale can be a good opportunity to top up your balance.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of the American Airlines Black Friday sale, be sure to check your account and make the purchase by November 27, 2023.