New American Airlines ‘buy miles’ bonus – up to 40%

American Airlines is at it again, offering a generous bonus when you purchase their miles.  This deal offers a bonus of up to 40% (better than recent offers) and is valid until April 30th.

You can buy via this page, click on the AA logo.

American buy miles

The offers looks like this:

Buy 15,000 – 29,000 miles – get a 3,750 mile bonus

Buy 30,000 – 44,000 miles – get a 8,250 mile bonus

Buy 45,000 – 64,000 miles – get a 13,500 mile bonus

Buy 65,000+ miles – get a 26,000 mile bonus

The best value comes when you buy exactly 65,000 miles to receive 26,000 for free. That is 91,000 miles for $1,962 including fees and taxes, or 1.30p each.

It isn’t worth buying all the miles you need for a redemption at this price – although some of the Etihad deals are tempting. It is an OK price if you need to top-off an account, though.

American Airlines ‘sweet spots’

I wrote the following in my last post on buying American Airlines miles, but it is worth repeating – especially with the current 15,000 mile bonus for getting the AA credit card (I will discuss the credit card bonus on Head for Points tomorrow).

The ‘sweet spots’ for AA redemptions for a UK resident are the Middle East and India, where business class (flying on a BA plane) is 60,000 miles return vs 80,000 using Avios. First Class is 80,000 AA miles versus 120,000 Avios. You still pay the same taxes as BA would charge, though.

AA is also partners with Etihad which offers you an alternative route to the region via Abu Dhabi. You will pay under £200 in taxes for Heathrow to Abu Dhabi in Business or First (about £250 less than BA) and the onboard product is meant to be excellent. It is only a short drive from Abu Dhabi airport to Dubai as well (70 minutes) and you get a free transfer included in your Business or First Class ticket. (You will also get a free chauffeur to Heathrow.)

Australia is also an amazing bargain.  You need 300,000 Avios to fly First Class to Australia via British Airways Executive Club.  Using American Airlines miles, you only need 160,000 return for First or 120,000 return for Business.

There are also great deals to Hawaii.  AA treats this as part of America (which of course it is!) and so London to Hawaii in Business Class is only 100,000 AA miles.

Other decent deals are UK-US if you fly on an American plane, as you won’t pay any fuel surcharges. (Unlike using Avios, where booking onto transatlantic AA flights requires the same taxes as an identical BA flight.)

Cape Town is also interesting since AA does not charge by segment, unlike BA. Flying to Cape Town on BA using Avios usually means flying to Johannesburg and using more Avios for a Jo’burg – Cape Town connection (30,000 return in Club Europe). Using AA miles, the Jo’burg – Cape Town connection is included for free.

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Comments

  1. As someone who is super new to frequent flier clubs, and miles redemption tickets (I’ve still never actually redeemed a ticket / upgrade against my miles) I’m really wondering if these ‘deals’ are too good to be true.

    Am I right in thinking that for flying to the middle east, first class I could just buy 80,000 miles and then get a ticket using my miles rather than just paying the £5k or whatever it may be for a first class ticket?

    Surely there must be more to it than that, otherwise why would anyone ever buy a first class ticket using a regular fare price? As I said, I’m very new to this so perhaps there’s a beginners guide that I could be directed to if my understanding of how this works is way off.

    • darrenf says:

      it is true. last year I bought 80k AA miles and spent them plus £44 on a one way QF F flight from Sydney to London. but note you can only buy this amount (bonus notwithstanding) in total over the calendar year, so I couldn’t buy enough for a return trip!

      • Although, presumably, you could have bought some via an account in someone elses name (although I think accounts must be open 2 weeks before they can buy miles) and redeemed them for yourself.

    • No, that is how it works (albeit with a couple of hundred quid of tax on Etihad). You are restricted to dates and flights that Etihad make First Class seats available, though, and AA has annual limits on buying miles. Etihad also refuses to release more than 2 seats per flight in First or Business, so its useless for a family.

      Note also that AA is unusual in letting you buy lots of miles. BA has a cap of 27,000 per year and charges more per mile for them, although there are easy ways of getting around the limit.

    • Incredible! Superb buying advise here. I’d never pay for a first class ticket myself, but thinking somewhat medium term, flights for a honeymoon to somewhere nice would be made even better flying first class and this seems like a great way to do it.

      Even for regular travel, these kinds of ‘tricks’ would allow me to reduce my spending or bump to business class.

      Thanks everyone!

  2. Col A-B says:

    Oh this reminds me of an email received yesterday from Melia Hotels offering up to 35% bonus when buying their points.

    • Yes I got this. I had a look at the airline conversion rates and there was no arbitrage in buying points for airline conversion.

      What I did find odd is being able to convert into Wyndham Rewards!

  3. You rightly mention South Africa as a useful redemption opportunity using AA miles.

    Getting nowhere with BA Avios for F or J awards to Cape Town next year, I was hoping to use AA miles on Qatar flights LON-DOH-CPT. QR flies DOH-CPT 3x weekly in a 787 and ba.com shows award availability. QR is of course a OneWorld member.

    QR awards cannot be booked at aa.com, just by phone. I called yesterday and was told that LON-DOH-CPT was not an authorised route. Can this be true? Mind you, the lady didn’t have a clue where Doha was, so perhaps it’s just a case of hang up and call again.

    • It’s because of the transmitting through regions rule. Doha is in Middle East region and therefore it’s not permitted to fly europe -Africa via Middle East.

    • Wow. Did not know of this restriction.
      Please can someone provide a more detailed explanation that Juan has posted.
      Is this an AAdvantage rule (forbidding LHR-DOH-JNB/CPT)? or would it also apply using BAEC, or AS Mileage Plan? or even Qmiles?
      Would this also rule out LHR-AUH-JNB on Etihad, using AAdvantage? (in spite of Raffles saying you can!)
      Confused!!

      • It is not a problem with BA, since BA prices by segment so does not have rules like this.

        You can do Cape Town via Doha or Abu Dhabi, but AA may want to price it as two separate awards rather than the direct price. I am not an expert on AA routing rules to be honest, which in any event tend to depend on the agent you deal with.

        • In my experience, AA do not relax the rather complicated routing rules they have. They are effectively in place to avoid people taking advantage of being allowed to fly from one region to another (and not having segment based redemptions like BA) by routing Europe to Africa via Asia, South America, Australia, etc. If you feel like it, you can have a crack at trying to understand the rules here http://www.flyerguide.com/Award_Rules_(AA)#NOTE:_Travel_via_a_third_region

          I was specifically looking to use AA miles to get to Seychelles with Etihad or Qatar (no longer fly there), but as it’s part of Africa, it was a no go. The Maldives on the other hand would be an excellent redemption in Etihad/Qatar Business or First.

      • AAdvantage have specific routing rules for travel between different regions. For example, I believe that for travel from Europe to South Pacific you can only go via SIN, BKK, HKG, NRT, KIX, so not via the Middle East (so no Qatar or Etihad), not via other SE Asian countries (so no Malaysian), nor via the USA. To be charitable, it may be that they have not updated their rules for new entrants to OneWorld or new partner airlines, but whatever the reason, it is a pain and can make award travel a lot more expensive if you have to use two awards instead, Roger’s route being a good example. Hopefully this will change if and when other changes are made to their scheme as a result of the US Airways merger.

        It would not be relevant to BAEC as they price per leg. I don’t know about the other schemes you mention.

        • Actually, you can route through the Middle East. You Certainly can flying qantas as I have done the exact thing – SYD-DXB-LHR for a total of $44(approx) in tax flying business. I assume you can do the same via AUH or DOH but not tried. The beauty of doing it on qantas is that it can be booked online so no need to call the less the helpful AA call centre!!

          • ……actually, thinking back, it may well have been a multi stop booking. Ready to be corrected.

          • Award travel between Europe and the South Pacific will allow for connections in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Narita, Osaka or Singapore only. Source: FT

        • pauldb says:

          I’ve have been caught out by the same thing: SYD-AUH-LHR on EY prices as 2 awards. QF is an exception via DXB as it’s a direct flight (aa.com always shows the journey as two flights when BA/QF.com have it as one flight).
          However I am holding a 60k booking BNE-KUL-LHR so within Asia they appear to be flexible: the written rules seem to be out of date.

          • Just been having a play on the AA website and it is definitely showing availability for Melbourne – Heathrow via Dubai as a viable option for a 60,000 miles business redemption.

          • louie-m says:

            Excellent news.

          • I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and wonder if I’ve been blinded by the Amex 2-4-1. My focus is on UK to Australia and vv for the two of us as we are (semi-)emigrating next year. Using AA it seems I can get a return in business for 2 x 2 x 60,000 = 240,000 AAdvantage miles + not much in taxes or 2 x 2 x 80,000 = 320,000 in first. Availability on QF via Doha seems reasonable from a quick look and we should be able to be flexible.

            Or I can use the Amex 2-4-1 on BA. It’ll probably cost 220,000 Avios return in business or 330,000 in first as availability on the through flight is virtually non-existent (of course, finding anything at all is still a challenge). Plus much, much higher taxes and surcharges. Even with a 2-4-1, you are effectively paying more and you have to deal with the stress of obtaining the flights.

            I appreciate Avios are a lot easier to find from non-flying activities if you are in the UK (e.g. Tesco and last year’s Lloyds Avios card bonanza) but I am right in thinking that for someone with my focus, I should really be concentrating on AA (once I have a 2-4-1 as I need to use my Avios somehow!)?

  4. Hi
    Raffles mentioned that in order to get more than the annual 80 000 miles we can purchase the extra with someone else’s account . Is there a charge to then merge the miles together? I was hoping to purchase a return business Lon to Melbourne for 2 but didn’t have enough miles. Thanks!

    • You cannot merge them. You would book a one way from one account and the return from the other account, ticketed in your name. Don’t think AA has any odd rules on oneway tickets but do read their rules first.

  5. I’m sure as hell not going to be the one to tell the Egyptians they’re Europeans now !

  6. Anyway I can transfer my 350,000 Avios (BA Exec) points to the AA scheme ? 120,000 for business class LHR-SYD is pretty badass. 160K for first is just ridiculously good value !!