Guide to American Airlines AAdvantage

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With an expansive partner program, plenty of ways to earn and redeem rewards and multiple avenues to earn elite status, the American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty program can be a great fit for frequent business and recreational travelers.

Getting the most out of American Airlines’ frequent flyer program starts with understanding the basics of the program and the nuances of its value.

How to sign up for AAdvantage

To sign up, visit the airline’s dedicated program enrollment page, fill out your name, address, contact information and some security questions, and you’ll be a member of the free program within minutes.

Additionally, you’ll get the option during sign-up to opt in to the company’s email list, where you’ll get priority updates about promotions, vacation picks, flight deals and any changes to the American Airlines miles program.

How to earn American Airlines miles

The mark of a great loyalty program is the flexibility to earn miles and rewards in more places than one. The American Airlines rewards program has several options to earn, including flight bookings, personalized rewards credit card offers and the American Airlines Partners network.

American Airlines credit cards

American Airlines offers one of the more robust sets of offerings for rewards credit cards on the market. The company has four different cards to choose from through a partnership with Citi, giving flyers and buyers the ability to pick the card that best fits their spending and traveling habits. Additionally, Barclays also offers co-branded American Airlines credit cards, including the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card℠

The AAdvantage MileUp card* is a no-annual-fee card that comes with 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit when you spend at least $500 in the first three months.

You’ll earn 2X points on groceries and American Airlines purchases. Additionally, you can add authorized users for free, get 1x points on all other purchases and get 25 percent off in-flight food and beverages. The card comes with no limit on the number of miles you can earn and is the only annual-fee-free option available.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

For those looking for a step up, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard* is a nice option. The card comes with a 50,000-mile bonus when you spend $2,500 in the first three months and a waived annual fee for the first year. After the first year, the card is $99 annually. You’ll earn 2X miles on in-flight purchases and restaurant and gas station spending, and 1 mile for every dollar spent on other purchases.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

The next level up card from American Airlines is the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard*. The card offers the same 50,000 bonus miles as the Platinum Select, but after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Additionally, you’ll get an Admiral’s Club membership, a Global TSA or Precheck credit for up to $100 every five years, priority boarding and VIP check-in. The card comes with an annual fee of $450.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

If you’re a business owner looking for rewards credit card, you may want to check out the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard*. The card gets you 65,000 bonus miles after you make $4,000 in purchases within the first four months.

Additionally, you’ll see some great increases in the mileage earning department. You’ll get 2X on cable and satellite providers, gas, telecommunications merchants and car rentals, as well as 2X on American Airlines purchases. You’ll earn 1x points everywhere else. The card comes with an annual fee of $99, but that fee is waived for the first 12 months.

Earn AAdvantage miles through partner network spending

Earning American Airlines miles doesn’t just happen when you book flights through the company. The American Airlines AAdvantage program allows you to earn miles when you shop, eat and travel through any of the over 1,000 partners of the airlines. As long as you enter your free account number when you buy or access the companies through American Airlines, you’ll rack up more and more miles.

Buy American Airlines miles

Sometimes you need a way to get a few more frequent flyer miles to cash in on a free flight or other rewards you’ve been looking for. Thankfully, American Airlines offers the ability for members to purchase miles.

The program allows you to take advantage of multipliers on eligible flights – instead of a straight dollar-for-miles exchange – which can really turbocharge your earnings.

How to redeem American Airlines miles

There are several ways to redeem frequent flyer miles. You can use your miles for free flights, flight upgrades, vacation booking, getting into the Admiral’s Club, buying newspaper subscriptions and donating. While you can’t use your AAdvantage miles for gift cards or merchandise directly through the airline, there are plenty of third-party companies that will allow you to transfer your miles for gift cards.

What are American Airlines miles worth?

The value of American Airlines miles depends on how you choose to redeem them. American Airlines lays out different point values needed for different types of flights. Depending on what that flight costs, if you were to book it with cash, the exact value of the points will vary.

Bankrate sister site The Points Guy estimates that American Airlines AAdvantage points are worth 1.4 cents per mile on average. As airline travel is significantly cheaper during the COVID-19 pandemic, the value may be slightly lower when you redeem your points for flights.

American Airlines transfer partners

The American Airlines transfer partners network encompasses more than 1,000 companies that you can use to earn or redeem your AAdvantage miles.

Airlines

  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
  • British Airways
  • Cape Air
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • GOL Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Interjet
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • Seaborne Virgin Islands
  • SriLankan Airlines

Hotels

  • American Airlines hotels
  • Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • InterContinental Hotels
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • PointsHound
  • Rocketmiles
  • Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Car rental

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Payless
  • Thrifty

Other partners

  • Retail and dining partners
  • Home and health partners
  • Business and financial partners
  • Vacation partners

Browse all additional partner offers here

American Airlines elite status and memberships

When it comes to getting recognition for loyalty, the American Airlines AAdvantage program spares no expense. The program has four tier levels that can be attained by earning miles on qualifying flights through American Airlines and the company’s transfer partner network. Additionally, status points can be earned through the usage of a rewards credit card.

AAdvantage Gold

The first tier of elite status with American Airlines AAdvantage is the Gold tier. With this tier, you’ll earn benefits like one free checked bag, complimentary preferred seating, 40 percent elite mileage bonus and a 24-hour upgrade window.

AAdvantage Platinum

The next status step in the program is the Platinum level. The benefits you receive are similar to the Gold level, but sweetened just a little. Expect to see two free checked bags, complimentary preferred seating, 60 percent elite mileage bonus and a 48-hour upgrade window.

AAdvantage Platinum Pro

The Platinum Pro level of the American Airlines AAdvantage program keeps the same number of free checked bags and preferred seating as the Platinum level. However, you’ll get an 80 percent elite mileage bonus, a 72-hour upgrade window and complimentary auto-requested upgrades on all flights.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum

The pinnacle of the American Airlines AAdvantage program is the Executive Platinum level. You’ll get three free checked bags, complimentary preferred seating, 120 percent elite mileage bonus, a 100-hour upgrade window, complimentary auto-requested upgrades and four one-way systemwide upgrades. You’ll need to be a frequent traveler or using one of the rewards credit cards to get here, but the recognition and perks are well worth it.

The bottom line

The American Airlines AAdvantage program is the robust offering we would expect from the largest airline in the world. Expect to see lots of ways to earn, redeem and get recognized for your loyalty. The program is completely free and comes with plenty of ways to rack up rewards through flights, credit card offers and through the extensive partner program.

*The information about the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card℠,  Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, the 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.