The American Airlines AAdvantage rewards program allows you to earn miles from flying, credit card spending, eligible shopping and more, which you can then redeem for rewards like free flights, flight upgrades, vacation packages, travel experiences and more.

Although you can’t redeem these miles directly for cash, you may be wondering what these miles are actually worth. Read on to learn more about the value of American Airlines miles, how this value compares to similar programs and what you can get for your miles.

How much are American Airlines miles worth?

According to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations, American AAdvantage miles are worth about 1 cent apiece on average. However, the actual value you’ll get out of your American Airlines miles depends on how you use them.

For example, a one-way, Main Cabin flight from Las Vegas to Orlando in March might set you back about $224 if you paid in cash. If you paid in miles, that flight might cost 24,500 miles. With that flight, your American Airlines miles are worth about 0.9 cents per mile ($224 / 24,500 = $0.009).

However, a one-way, Main Cabin flight from Portland to New York in March might cost you $147 in cash and about 12,000 miles ($147 / 12,000 = $0.012). With this flight, each mile would be worth about 1.2 cents.

American Airlines miles vs. other airlines

Compared to other airline rewards programs, the average value of American Airlines miles is on the lower end. You may be able to get more value if you travel in a specific geographical area through a smaller carrier, but you will forgo the expansiveness that comes with a rewards program from one of the largest airlines in the world.

Airline rewards program Bankrate value
American Airlines AAdvantage 1 cent
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1.1 cents
Delta SkyMiles 1.3 cents
Frontier Miles 1.3 cents
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles 1 cent
JetBlue TrueBlue 1.4 cents
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1.5 cents
Spirit Airlines Free Spirit 1 cent
United MileagePlus 1.1 cents
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 2.6 cents

Source: Bankrate

How to redeem American Airlines miles

AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for American Airlines flights, flights on partner airlines, flight upgrades, an Admiral’s Club membership, travel experiences, rental cars, hotel bookings, vacation packages and charitable donations. To redeem your miles, head to the American Airlines website and log in to your account. It should be noted that instructions will differ depending on your redemption method.

When is the best time to redeem American Airlines miles?

Although redemption values will vary no matter the method you choose, you may get more value from your miles when you redeem them for flights during off-peak seasons or to off-peak destinations. You may also get more value from your miles by redeeming them with American’s partner airlines. Otherwise, pay attention to American Airlines’ MileSAAver, AAnytime and Web Special awards to get flights for fewer miles.

Best credit cards for earning American Airlines miles

If you want to boost your ability to earn miles with the airline, you should consider getting one of American Airlines’ rewards credit cards. The airline has several credit cards to choose from, all of which are currently issued by Citi. Here are a few cards to consider:

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card* is the airline’s no-annual-fee credit card option. You’ll earn 2X miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases and grocery store purchases, along with 1X miles on all other purchases. Plus, as a new cardholder, you’ll score 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®* comes with a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 within the first three months of account opening. Additionally, the card earns 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, 2X miles at restaurants and gas stations and 1X miles on all other purchases. The annual fee is $99 per year, but it’s waived for the first year.

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

Business owners who travel a lot with American may want to consider the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®*. This card offers an introductory bonus of 65,000 miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months of account opening. On top of this, the card offers 2X miles on eligible purchases made with American Airlines, gas stations, cable and satellite providers, select telecommunications merchants and car rental companies. You’ll earn 1X miles on everything else. Plus, the card’s $99 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Additional ways to earn American Airlines miles

You can earn frequent flyer miles through more than just booking flights or spending on a co-branded credit card. One of the most attractive components of the American AAdvantage program is that there are numerous ways to earn miles. For instance, you can earn AAdvantage miles with a partner airline or with any other company in the partner network. The network is expansive and includes hotels, car rental companies, retail stores, cruises, vacation spots and more.

The bottom line

You’ll have a lot of flexibility with this program when it comes to earning and redeeming miles, but the value of your American Airlines miles will vary based on what you’re looking to redeem your miles for. Still, for the most part, the program’s value, perks and rewards compare favorably to many other airlines’ offerings.

*The information about the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.