Buy American Airlines Miles for cheap business & first class flights


Immanuel Debeer | 01/10/2021

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Right now American Airlines are offering up 35% discount on miles purchased through Sunday, October 31, 2021. The discount applies in tiers:

  • Buy 15,000-49,000 miles, get 15% off
  • Buy 50,000-99,000 miles, get 25% off
  • Buy 100,000-150,000 miles, get 35% off

You can buy miles here:

As Lucky from OMAAT pointed out, at 35% there seems to be… a slight miscalculation. It appears the miles were put on sale with the 35% discount already applied before users apply it again when purchasing over 100k miles. As you will see, it’s more expensive to buy 99k miles compared to buying 100k. No doubt this error will be fixed soon so don’t sleep on it.

Update: looks like the special saving rate has now been corrected! 

Why Should Australian Travellers Buy American Airlines AAdvantage Miles?

Let’s face it; no one likes paying full price for business or first class tickets! Buying miles can open up opportunities to fly business or first class for a fraction of the cost.

Since American Airlines is a One World airline, you can redeem your points for flights on all the One World partner airlines. The notable ones are Qantas, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines (obviously) etc.

American Airlines awards system is very user-friendly, most awards are easily booked online, and they have a nice calendar view which shows you a full month of award space.

Want to research availability before you buy miles? No problem! American Airlines allows you to place a hold on an award seat for up to 5 days as long as the flight is more than 2 weeks before departure.

Note: by redeeming I DO NOT mean transferring. This might be obvious to most, but since I get asked this question all the time, I will try to clarify it here. Redeeming means you book a flight with any One World airline through American Airlines’s AAdvantage frequent flyer program. So if you think buying AAdvantage miles will allow you to transfer those to Qantas for example; it does not work this way.

I recently wrote about how I redeemed 50,000 AAdvantage miles to fly Malaysia Airlines in first class from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur. If you’re interested in experiencing first class for around $932, you can find out more here.

Price History:

  • October 2021: 1.36 US cents per mile
  • July 2019: 1.72 US cents per mile
  • June 2019: 1.72 US cents per mile
  • March 2019: 1.78 US cents per mile
  • February 2019: 2.03 US cents per mile
  • January 2019: 2.1 US cents per mile
  • December 2018: 1.77 US cents per mile
  • November 2018: 1.92 US cents per mile

Best AAdvantage Redemptions For Australia / New Zealand

AAdvantage Award Chart

Although over the years American Airlines has devalued their award chart multiple times, there are still some great itineraries up for grabs for Aussies and Kiwis (note that all pricing is for one way tickets). Here are a few of my favourites:

Business Class Within Australia

This one is perfect for those looking to fly business class on the cheap within Australia. Obviously, longer routes such as Sydney to Perth or Perth to Melbourne are the better choice considering the price is fixed at 20,000 points for a one-way ticket with Qantas.

Points required: 20,000 AAdvantage

Price: US$ 345 + taxes

Australia or New Zealand to Asia Business or First

American Airlines has a handy award chart which defines the zones and miles required. Asia 2 includes the following countries and only costs 30,000 points in business or 50,000 points in first class. Of course, you can maximise your trip by connecting so you could fly Sydney – Kuala Lumpur – Hong Kong for the same price as Sydney to Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Airlines First Class

Countries listed in Asia 2 are: (Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam).

Points required business: 40,000 + taxes

Price: US$ 691

Points Required first class: 50,000 + taxes

Price: US$ 863

Australia or New Zealand to Japan or Korea Business or First

Japan and Korea aren’t part of the Asia 2 zone, but for the same amount of miles you can fly to Asia 1 via Asia 2, or direct if you fly with Qantas or Japan Airlines.

The price for business class remains the same, but for first class, an extra 10k miles are required.

Japan Airlines Sky Suite Business Class

Points required business: 40,000 + taxes

Price: US$ 691

Points Required first class: 50,000 + taxes

Price: US$ 863

Business Class to Fiji

Luckily Fiji Airways is also a One World partner, and for only 30,000 miles you can fly to Fiji in business class.

Points required business: 30,000 + taxes

Price: US$ 518

Etihad First Class Sydney to Abu Dhabi

Etihad isn’t part of any alliance, but they do have an interesting partnership with American Airlines which allows you to use your AAdvantage points to book Etihad award seats. It’s not cheap but for those looking to splurge on a luxury flight; it’s a good option. You can try their A380 from Sydney to Abu Dhabi for 100,000 AAdvantage points, one way. Or go all the way to Europe for a crazy 115,000 AAdvantage miles. I’ve written a full guide on how you can book these seats online here.

You can check out my review of the Etihad A380 first class experience here.

Etihad First Class A380

Points required first class: 115,000 + taxes

Price: US$ 1986

Want to see more options? Check out the award chart right here.

AAdvantage Conclusion

Long-haul flights to the US and Europe with AAdvantage have devalued overtime bringing them too close with retail business class pricing these days. However, for those looking to score cheap business or first class flights within Asia, there are some great redemptions to be had and the airline taxes are reasonable.

I wouldn’t recommend buying miles speculatively since sales continue throughout the year but having a small stash on hand is always good for a last minute impromptu redemption.


Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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