Key takeaways

  • The American Airlines AAdvantage rewards program offers access to a large number of flights and destinations on its own, and as a part of the oneworld alliance.
  • You can maximize your AAdvantage mile and Loyalty Point earnings by opening a co-branded credit card, booking travel through American, shopping through the carrier's e-commerce portals, joining its dining club and making charitable donations.
  • AAdvantage miles are valued slightly less than competing carriers' rewards offerings, but since the program is free to join, there's no downside to signing up.

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If you’re looking for an airline that can take you where you want to go, there’s a good chance American Airlines or one of its partners offers the itinerary you’re looking for. American Airlines offers an average of nearly 6,700 daily flights, making it one of the largest airlines in the world. It’s also a founding member of the oneworld Alliance, which allows you to seamlessly fly to more than 900 destinations and 170 territories around the world with top airlines.

Flying with American Airlines can be improved by joining its loyalty program, AAdvantage. Joining the AAdvantage program — and even applying for an American Airlines credit card — can help you score frequent flyer benefits and rack up airline miles for every trip you take.

Who is American Airlines AAdvantage best for?

AAdvantage is best for whoever prefers to fly with American Airlines or any of its partners. Although those who travel frequently will benefit more from the program and have the chance to qualify for elite status, those who travel infrequently can still benefit from the program since it’s free to join.

How to join American Airlines AAdvantage

If you sign up for AAdvantage, you’ll earn miles or Loyalty Points whenever you travel or shop with American Airlines and its partners. Miles can be used for flights to nearly 1,100 global destinations, premium cabin upgrades and other types of travel like vacation packages, car rentals and hotels. Loyalty Points will help you to reach AAdvantage elite status, which comes with more travel perks.

To join and use this program, you’ll need to:

  1. Create an account: You’ll do this by providing basic information like your name, date of birth, address, email and phone number.
  2. Find your frequent flyer number: This ID is made up of a combination of letters and numbers and will be assigned to you after you verify your account.
  3. Use it when booking flights: When you book flights with American Airlines or its partners, you’ll be able to input your frequent flyer number, which will then allow you to earn rewards for that flight.

How much are American Airlines miles worth?

American AAdvantage miles are worth about 1.0 cents each, according to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations. But, they may be worth more or less depending on how you redeem them.

How do AAdvantage miles compare to other programs?

AAdvantage mile valuations are roughly comparable to those from other airline loyalty programs. For example, take a look at how AAdvantage compares to programs from other major airlines:

Airline loyalty program Value*
*Valuations provided by Bankrate
American AAdvantage 1.0 cents
Delta SkyMiles 1.2 cents
JetBlue TrueBlue 1.3 cents
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1.5 cents
United MileagePlus 0.9 cents

How to earn American Airlines miles

Earning miles with the American Airlines AAdvantage program is easy. Here are all the ways you can rack up miles with this frequent flyer program:

Fly with American Airlines or its partners

You’ll earn miles whenever you fly with American or with partner airlines like British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Iberia.

Earn miles when you book other travel

You can also earn miles by booking other travel — such as hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises — through American or with American Airlines partners.

Use American Airlines credit cards

If you sign up for a co-branded credit card from American Airlines, you can earn a generous welcome bonus, as well as miles for each dollar you spend on your card.

Shop online or with partner merchants

You can also earn miles on everyday shopping. You can earn miles through partner merchant offers, which you can get by shopping with programs like SimplyMiles. This program for Mastercard users sends you personalized offers from partner merchants like Petco, Amazon and Best Buy. You can also use the AAdvantage eShopping portal, which lets you earn miles when you shop with participating retailers.

Join the dining club

Another option is using AAdvantage Dining, which lets you earn airline miles when you dine with participating restaurants in your area and pay with a linked credit or debit card. The program currently offers a promotion of 500 bonus miles in your first 30 days.

Earn miles when you donate to charity

You can also earn miles whenever you make a donation to an eligible charity. For example, you can earn 10 AAdvantage miles per dollar on any donation of $25 or more to Stand Up To Cancer.

How to redeem American Airlines miles

There are plenty of ways to redeem AAdvantage miles, including for:

  • Flights with American Airlines, oneworld airlines and partner airlines
  • Flight upgrades with American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia
  • Main Cabin seat reservations
  • Rental cars, hotel stays and vacation packages
  • Purchasing or renewing an Admirals Club membership
  • Exclusive travel experiences and services (like an airport escort)
  • Charitable donations

Best ways to redeem miles

Generally, the best way to redeem American Airlines miles is for flights. You’ll usually get roughly 1.0 cents in value when you redeem miles for flights, though redemption values can vary depending on demand, travel dates and other factors.

To get the most bang for your buck, look for American Airlines promotions. These online frequent flyer deals change frequently, but if you catch one at the right time, it’ll let you book flights to select destinations for considerably fewer miles than usual.

Also, be sure to look for great deals within the American award chart, a flight award chart that tells you how many miles you’ll need to cover a specific flight. Most domestic flights under 500 miles will only set you back 7,500 AAdvantage miles one way. Round-trip economy flights to Europe (typically 45,000 miles) can also be a good deal if you can find MileSAAver off-peak award availability.

Redemption options to avoid

Since you’ll get the most value out of AAdvantage miles that are redeemed for flights, you’ll want to strongly consider any redemption options that aren’t for airfare. For example, hotel bookings made with American Airlines miles will usually net you less than 1 cent per mile in value. The same is true for car rentals and vacation packages.

Also, while redeeming airline miles for upgrades to a premium cabin is worth considering, you’ll usually have to supply a cash copay to do so, which lessens the value of the miles used to make the upgrade.

American Airlines elite status and memberships

At the start of 2022, AAdvantage replaced its previous status-earning system — made up of Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs), Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) — with a single status metric called Loyalty Points. Under the new system, 1X qualifying AAdvantage mile earns 1X Loyalty Point.

Like other frequent flyer programs, the American AAdvantage program offers several status tiers with varying benefits for frequent flyers. As a regular AAdvantage member, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage mile. AAdvantage elite status members can then earn more bonus miles on top of base flight miles, among many other benefits. Additional Loyalty Point Rewards are also available for reaching specific reward levels outside of the four designated Elite status levels.

Loyalty Points needed to earn each status level and elite status benefits are:

Elite status Loyalty Points needed Benefits
AAdvantage Gold 40,000
  • 40% status mileage bonus
  • 24-hour upgrade window
  • Priority check-in, security and Group 4 boarding
  • Same-day standby priority
  • Unlimited, auto-requested complimentary upgrades on select American marketing and operated flights
  • Complimentary upgrade for you and 1 companion on American and Alaska Airlines flights
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra Seats at check-in, when available
  • Complimentary Preferred Seats, when available
  • 1 free checked bag
  • oneworld® Ruby status
  • Discounted Admirals Club® membership
  • Access to an exclusive Gold service desk and exclusive partner offers
AAdvantage Platinum 75,000
  • 60% status mileage bonus
  • 48-hour upgrade window
  • Priority check-in, security, Group 3 boarding and bag delivery
  • Same-day standby priority
  • Unlimited, auto-requested complimentary upgrades on select American marketing and operated flights
  • Complimentary upgrade for you and 1 companion on American and Alaska Airlines flights
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats, when available
  • 2 free checked bags
  • oneworld® Sapphire status
  • Discounted Admirals Club® membership
  • Access to an exclusive Platinum service desk and exclusive partner offers
AAdvantage Platinum Pro 125,000
  • 80% status mileage bonus
  • 72-hour upgrade window
  • Priority check-in, security, Group 2 boarding and bag delivery
  • Same-day standby priority
  • Unlimited, auto-requested complimentary upgrades on select American marketing and operated flights
  • Complimentary upgrade for you and 1 companion on American and Alaska Airlines flights
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats, when available
  • Complimentary same-day flight changes
  • Access to an exclusive Platinum service desk and exclusive partner offers
  • 3 free checked bags
  • oneworld® Emerald status
  • 1 Loyalty Choice Reward (after flying at least 30 eligible segments)
AAdvantage Executive Platinum 200,000
  • All of the benefits of AAdvantage Platinum Pro
  • 120% status mileage bonus
  • 100-hour upgrade window
  • Priority check-in, security, Group 1 boarding and bag delivery
  • Complimentary upgrades on award tickets
  • Guaranteed availability in the Main Cabin
  • Waitlist priority for purchased First or Business Class
  • Complimentary alcoholic beverage and snack in the Main Cabin
  • oneworld® Emerald status
  • Access to an exclusive Executive Platinum service desk and exclusive partner offers
  • 2 Loyalty Choice Rewards (after flying at least 30 eligible segments)

What are Loyalty Choice Rewards?

Loyalty Choice Rewards are exclusive perks offered to AAdvantage Platinum Pro and AAdvantage Executive Platinum members who earn at least 125,000 Loyalty Points and fly at least 30 qualifying segments. You can choose from rewards like Admirals Club One Day Passes, award discounts and systemwide upgrades, among others.

How long does AAdvantage status last?

Whenever you qualify for AAdvantage status, the status year will start on March 1 of that year and extend through February of the next year. Your membership year will begin on the date you qualify (or April 1, whichever comes first) and extend through March 31 of each year.

American Airlines partners

    • American Airlines is a part of the oneworld alliance, which means you can earn or redeem miles with many popular airlines around the globe. As you take a closer look at the American Airlines AAdvantage program, consider the airline partners you could fly with depending on your chosen destination. Partners in the oneworld alliance include:
      • American Airlines*
      • Alaska Airlines*
      • British Airways*
      • Cathay Pacific*
      • Finnair*
      • Iberia*
      • Japan Airlines*
      • Malaysia Airlines*
      • Qantas*
      • Qatar Airways*
      • Royal Air Maroc*
      • Royal Jordanian Airlines*
      • SriLankan Airlines*
      Other American Airlines partners include:
      • Air Tahiti Nui*
      • Cape Air*
      • China Southern Airlines
      • Etihad Airways*
      • Fiji Airways*
      • GOL Airlines
      • Hawaiian Airlines*
      • IndiGo
      • JetBlue*
      • Silver Airways*
      *Airlines that let you redeem miles on
    • American Airlines allows you to earn AAdvantage miles for hotel stays at select hotels:
      • American Airlines Hotels: Earn up to 10,000 miles each night
      • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts: Earn 500 miles for each stay with an eligible hotel
      • Marriott International: Earn 2X miles per dollar for eligible hotel stays and charges
      • IHG Hotels & Resorts: Earn 1X to 2X miles per dollar on all qualifying room rates
      • Rocketmiles: Earn up to 10,000 miles each night
      You can also convert points from select hotel loyalty programs to AAdvantage miles:
      • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts: 5,000 World of Hyatt points = 2,000 AAdvantage miles
      • IHG Hotels & Resorts: 10,000 IHG Rewards points = 2,000 AAdvantage miles
      • Marriott Bonvoy: 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 10,000 AAdvantage miles
      • Marriott Vacation Club: 500 Vacation Club points = 8,000 AAdvantage miles; plus, earn 4,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for every 250 Vacation Club points converted within the same transaction
    • American Airlines has a number of car rental partners that you can earn AAdvantage miles or Loyalty Points with. Partners include:
      • Avis: Earn at least 2X base miles per dollar
      • Budget: Earn at least 2X base miles per dollar
      • Payless: Earn 1X base mile per dollar
      • Alamo: Earn 50 base miles per rental day
      • National: Earn 50 base miles per rental day
      • Dollar: Earn 50 base miles per rental day
      • Hertz: Earn 1X base mile per dollar, plus extra benefits
      • Thrifty: Earn 50 base miles per rental day

Top credit cards that earn American Airlines miles

American Airlines credit cards make accumulating airline miles a breeze — regardless of how often you fly with the airline. The following airline cards offer plenty of reasons to sign up, including generous bonuses and frequent flyer benefits.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card*

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard*

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard*

The bottom line

American Airlines AAdvantage miles are easy to earn and redeem, and they can be easily transferred to other AAdvantage members, as well as a large number of American Airlines partners. Plus, if you sign up for one of their co-branded travel credit cards or earn elite status, you can earn bonus miles and receive travel perks or discounts.

If you prefer flying with American Airlines — regardless of how frequently you fly — joining the free AAdvantage program would be worthwhile since you’ll have nothing to lose by signing up.

American Airlines AAdvantage FAQs

  • Yes, American Airlines miles can expire. If you are an AAdvantage member aged 21 or older, simply earn or redeem miles with American Airlines or an American Airlines partner at least once every two years to keep your miles from expiring. However, your miles will not expire if you are under 21 or if you are a primary AAdvantage credit card member with an active account in good standing. See the general AAdvantage program terms and conditions for more details.
  • Yes, you can share miles with friends and family members who are AAdvantage members. You can also gift miles to other AAdvantage members.
  • Yes, American Airlines lets you buy miles. Log in to your AAdvantage account to view current prices and promotions.

Issuer-required disclosure statement
Information about the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card, American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.