Some links to products and partners on this website will earn an affiliate commission.
American AAdvantage Miles aren’t as valuable as they once were, but they can still offer excellent value – if you can get hold of them cheaply/easily enough.
How to buy cheap American AAdvantage Miles
Starpoints can be transferred to a vast array of airline partners at a generous 1:1 rate – with an additional 5,000 Miles bonus when you transfer in blocks of 20,000. This means you can effectively buy 25,000 Miles in (more or less) any airline loyalty programme for ~£324, which works out at about 1.3p per Mile.
That can be an excellent deal in itself, particularly for high-value options like Alaska Miles, but with American right now we can do even better!
As you can see above, AA has done a pretty shoddy job of explaining the offer in terms of SPG transfers, but if it works in the same way as all the previous AA transfer bonuses we’ve seen (and there’s no reason to think it doesn’t, as far as I can tell), then the real situation is this:
- Transfer 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 American Miles
- AA then applies the 25% transfer bonus to the full 25,000 Miles, which means you should receive 31,250 AA Miles.
As mentioned earlier, you can currently buy 20,000 Starpoints for ~£324, which therefore means you can also indirectly purchase 31,250 AA Miles for £324. Per Mile, that works out at about 1.03p each.
What would have made this a truly spectacular deal is if Marriott’s ‘Flight and Hotel’ package were included in the AA bonus offer, but unfortunately it’s exempted. 270,000 Marriott Points (90,000 SPG Starpoints) gets you 120,000 AA Miles + a 7 night stay in a Category 1-5 Marriott hotel. If the bonus did apply, you would have received 150,000 AA Miles + the 7 night stay, for 90,000 SPG Starpoints, which would cost~£1460. In other words, you’d have been paying less than 1p per Mile. and would have received a 7-night stay on top!
Even though the bonus doesn’t apply to the Flight and Hotel Package, it could still make sense to opt for that route rather than transferring direct from SPG anyway, depending on how you value the 7-night stay. ~£1460 worth of Starpoints (as Marriott Rewards Points) would get you 120,000 AA Miles + 7 nights at a Cat 1-5 hotel, so if you valued the hotel stay at zero, that would be like paying ~1.216p per Mile, rather than 1.03p per Mile via SPG direct.
What this means is that if you value the 7-night hotel stay at ~£200, you’d basically be paying the same per AA Mile as via SPG direct (because £1460- £200 = £1260 and £1260/120,000 = 1.05p per Mile). So, if you value the hotel stay at more than £200, it’s worth having a think about the best approach.
You’re rarely going to come off too badly buying AA Miles for ~1p each (unless you redeem them for BA flights perhaps!), but there are some potentially very good redemption options, which I’ll write about in detail a little later.
Remember that you must register for the offer in order to get the AA transfer bonus, so don’t forget!