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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 to 350 different destinations, 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.
American Airlines also offers a loyalty program, AAdvantage. Joining the AAdvantage program — and perhaps applying for an American Airlines credit card — is easy and it can help you score frequent flyer benefits and rack up airline miles for every trip you take.
American Airlines AAdvantage basics
AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines. Whenever you travel or shop with American Airlines and its partners, you’ll earn miles or Loyalty Points. Miles can be used for flights to nearly 1,000 global destinations, premium cabin upgrades and other types of travel like vacations, car rentals and hotels. And earning Loyalty Points will help you to reach AAdvantage elite status, which comes with more travel perks.
Plus, joining AAdvantage is free. To join this program, you’ll need to create an account, providing basic information like your name, date of birth, address, email and phone number. From there, this program will give you a frequent flyer number that is made up of a combination of letters and numbers. You can use your frequent flyer number or username and password to log into your account. You’ll also use your frequent flyer number when booking flights with American Airlines and its partners.
Who is American Airlines AAdvantage best for?
AAdvantage is best for anyone who 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 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 — often worth 50,000 AAdvantage miles or more — 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, by shopping with SimplyMiles and by using the AAdvantage eShopping portal, which lets you earn miles when you shop with participating retailers.
Join the dining club
Another option is 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 1,000 bonus miles if you spend $25 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:
- Flights with American Airlines, oneworld airlines and partner airlines
- Flight upgrades with American, 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, although redemption values can vary. Regardless, you’ll usually get more than 1 cent in value when you redeem miles for flights. Also, even though AAdvantage has an award chart, 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 let you book flights to select destinations for considerably fewer miles than usual. However, it should be noted that promotions change frequently.
Also, be sure to look for great deals within the American award chart. Most domestic flights under 500 miles will only set you back 7,500 AAdvantage miles one way. Round-trip economy flights to Europe (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 can make upgrading with miles not worth it.
How much are American Airlines miles worth?
American AAdvantage miles may be worth more or less depending on how you redeem them. According to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations, AAdvantage miles are worth about 1 cent each. But, as mentioned, the redemption method you choose will ultimately determine the value of your miles.
How do AAdvantage miles compare to other programs?
AAdvantage miles tend to be worth more than miles or points from other airline loyalty programs. For example, take a look at how AAdvantage compares to other major airlines’ programs:
|Airline loyalty program||Value*|
|*Valuations provided by Bankrate|
|American AAdvantage||1 cents|
|Delta SkyMiles||1.3 cents|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||1.4 cents|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1.5 cents|
|United MileagePlus||1.1 cents|
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 5X bonus miles per dollar on top of base flight miles when traveling with American Airlines or any of its partners. AAdvantage elite status members can then earn more bonus miles on top of base flight miles, among many other benefits.
The AAdvantage elite status levels, Loyalty Points needed to earn each status level and elite status benefits are:
|Elite status||Loyalty Points needed||Benefits|
|AAdvantage Platinum Pro||125,000||
|AAdvantage Executive Platinum||200,000||
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.
However, note that any Loyalty Points earned in January and February of this year will count toward 2022 and 2023 membership status. That means you’ll have two more months to earn status in 2022 and 2023.
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*
- Japan Airlines*
- Malaysia Airlines*
- 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*
- Silver Airways*
*Airlines that let you redeem miles on AA.com
American Airlines allows you to earn AAdvantage miles for hotel stays at select hotels:
- 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; Plus, earn 5,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points converted within the same transaction
- 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
Car rental partners
Amerian Airlines has a number of car rental partners that you can earn AAdvantage miles or Loyalty Points with. Partners include:
- Avis: Earn at least 500 base miles per rental
- Budget: Earn at least 500 base miles per rental
- Payless: Earn 500 base miles per rental
- 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
- 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: Best for no annual fee
The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is an excellent option for earning American Airlines miles if you don’t want to pay an annual fee. You can earn a welcome bonus of 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit after spending just $500 within the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 2X miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases and at grocery stores and 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.
However, you won’t get any major frequent flyer perks with this card. The main perk that you’ll get is 25 percent off in-flight food and beverage purchases.
Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: Best for everyday spending
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is a great option for everyday spending since you can earn 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, 2X miles at restaurants and gas stations and 1X miles on other purchases. A generous welcome bonus comes with this card as well — you can earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,500 within three months of account opening.
You’ll also get quite a few frequent flyer perks such as preferred boarding, one free checked bag each for you and up to four companions on the same reservation (domestic flights only), 25 percent off in-flight food and beverage purchases and no foreign transaction fees. Plus, you can earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount each year if you spend $20,000 or more within your cardmember year and renew your card. This card comes with a $99 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: Best for airport lounge access
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is ideal for anyone who wants complimentary access to Admirals Club airport lounges. This certainly makes the card’s $450 annual fee worth it since an Admirals Club membership starts at $650. You’ll start off with a generous welcome bonus of 80,000 miles when you spend $5,500 within three months of account opening. Also for a limited time, earn a total of 4 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases through December 31, 2022. After that, earn 2 miles per $1 on eligible American Airlines purchases.
Frequent flyer benefits include up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, one free checked bag each for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation (domestic flights only), priority boarding, priority check-in and screening for you and up to eight companions, concierge services, no foreign transaction fees and a 25 percent discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases.
CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard: Best for business owners
If you own a business, you should consider the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. This business credit card comes with a $99 annual fee (waived the first year) and one of the most generous welcome bonuses of all American Airlines credit cards — 65,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 within four months of account opening. You’ll also earn 2X miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases, cable and satellite providers, gas station purchases, car rentals and select telecommunications merchants, as well as 1X miles on all other purchases.
Travel benefits include preferred boarding, a 25 percent discount on in-flight food, beverages and Wi-Fi purchases, one free checked bag each for you and up to four companions on the same reservation (domestic flights only) and no foreign transaction fees. Some business perks include a 24/7 personal business assistant and special offers on business products and services (like Microsoft and Intuit). Plus, you can qualify for an American Airlines companion certificate for domestic travel when you spend at least $30,000 within your card membership year and renew your card. Note that it costs $99 (plus taxes and fees) to redeem the certificate.
American Airlines AAdvantage FAQs
The bottom line
American Airlines AAdvantage miles are easy to earn and redeem, transferable to other AAdvantage members and transferable to a wide number of American Airlines partners. Plus, if you sign up for one of their co-branded 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.
The information about the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive 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.