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Branded and Partnered Credit Cards
There are several credit cards that can help you earn American miles that can be redeemed for some great award flights.
American Airlines Credit Cards
American Airlines has a credit card partnership with both Citi and Barclaycard. You can earn American miles directly with any one of them. One can even help you earn elite status.
Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card
With the Bilt card, you can earn Bilt Rewards points on rent, dining, travel, and more. You can then transfer your points directly to American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio (a minimum of 2,000 points transferred).
Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards
Several other hotel programs will let you transfer points to American Airlines. However, this is almost always a poor use of hotel points. Unless you are really in a bind, save your hotel points for hotel award stays at your destination.
American Airlines Overview
American’s mileage loyalty program is known as AAdvantage; it is one of the industry’s original loyalty programs and remains the largest with millions of members.
AAdvantage has been acclaimed as one of the more customer-friendly airline mileage programs, with elite status acquired solely via Loyalty Points that can be earned via many different means, including flying.
Miles can be earned by spending with American, Oneworld partners, other select participating airlines, and over 1,000 non-airline partners.
Accrued miles can then be used on any American flight, upgrade, or redemption travel on a partner airline, as well as some vacations, car rentals, hotels, and other retail products.
Enrollment is easy; you do not have to fly American before applying. Simply fill out the form, and you’re on your way!
You will gain the ability to earn miles, redeem awards, and work your way up toward elite status, which we will discuss in the next section.
How To Sign in to Your AAdvantage Account
Sign in on the aa.com homepage. You must enter your last name, AAdvantage account number, and password.
Hot Tip: You can search for award flight availability on the American Airlines website without logging in to your account.
Viewing Your Account Activity
Detailed AAdvantage account activity is limited to 6 months. By visiting the new Account Activity page, you can see some activity as far back as 12 months.
Particularly if you have many partner flights that can have errors in awarding miles, it’s a good idea to print out your account activity every few months for your records.
AAdvantage miles expire after 24 months of inactivity, except for members who are under 21 years of age.
Any miles earning or redeeming activity counts, so you have many options beyond taking flights, such as using an American Airlines credit card, using the AAdvantage shopping portal, or enrolling in AAdvantage Dining to earn a few miles. All these activities reset the 24-month clock!
AAdvantage Elite Status
AAdvantage has 4 elite status levels.
AAdvantage Gold: While other airlines have silver as their first elite status tier, American starts with Gold. Like other airlines, benefits at this level are few, but here are some highlights:
- 1 free checked bag
- Complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats within 24 hours of departure (50% advance purchase discount eliminated)
- Complimentary preferred seats
- Complimentary same-day standby
- Complimentary upgrades on all eligible flights.
- Earn 1 mile per dollar spent at Hyatt with the AAdvantage – World of Hyatt promotion (link accounts here)
- Oneworld Ruby status for priority check-in and security with partners
AAdvantage Platinum (comparable to Gold status with Delta and United):
All Silver benefits plus:
- 2 free checked bags
- Complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats
- Oneworld Sapphire status for access to partner business class lounges (not American Admirals Club)
AAdvantage Platinum Pro (comparable to Platinum status with Delta and United):
All Platinum benefits plus:
- 1 Loyalty Choice Reward
- Complimentary same-day flight changes
- Oneworld Emerald status
AAdvantage Executive Platinum (comparable to Delta Diamond and United 1K):
All Platinum Pro benefits plus:
- 3 free checked bags
- Highest priority on all standby and upgrade lists
- Loyalty Choice Rewards
Check American’s site for the full line-up of elite benefits.
Value of AAdvantage Elite Status
Overall, many travelers perceive that American Airlines’ elite status is losing value, and its Gold and Platinum levels lag behind the competition.
Frequent international travelers may consider their Oneworld Sapphire status among the best benefits of Platinum and Platinum Pro since it grants access to partner business class lounges.
At the top, Executive Platinum has long been respected as one of the highest-value airline status levels. Still, in recent years the primary benefit of systemwide upgrades (SWUs) was cut in half from 8 to 4, assuming the member selects those upgrades as part of their Loyalty Choice Rewards.
Unique among U.S. airline programs, Executive Platinum grants Oneworld Emerald status, which provides access to partner first class lounges even when flying economy. Comparable status with Delta and United only grants business class or similar lounge access, but not first class.
Earning AAdvantage Elite Status
Requirements for reaching elite status were recently revised to a Loyalty Points-based system.
Loyalty Points can be earned in numerous ways, including flying American or partners, staying in a Hyatt hotel, renting a car booked through American, eating at an American dining partner, and so much more. You do not need to fly to earn status on American.
How To Earn AAdvantage Miles
There are a variety of ways to earn miles. From flying on American or its partners to utilizing other services, you will always be able to find ways to earn AAdvantage miles.
Earning Miles Through Flying
Mileage earning on American Airlines flights is now based on ticket price (base fare plus carrier-imposed fees, excluding government-imposed taxes and fees):
- Base member — 5 miles per dollar spent
- Gold member — 7 miles per dollar spent (40% bonus)
- Platinum member — 8 miles per dollar spent (60% bonus)
- Platinum Pro member — 9 miles per dollar spent (80% bonus)
- Executive Platinum member — 11 miles per dollar spent (120% bonus)
What you earn with airline partners depends on the partner, fare class, and marketing carrier (codeshare).
Earning Bonus Miles in Other Ways
Other partner bonus miles are a great way to earn extra miles for less frequent travelers.
American’s preferred car rental agencies are Avis and Budget, but you can earn miles with other rental car agencies as well.
*Note: If you add your airline loyalty program to other services, you won’t also earn status points with these franchises (unless it’s a preferred car rental agency that has specifically partnered with the airline; this partnership acts as a sort of alliance between airline and rental agency).
How To Redeem American AAdvantage Miles
American Airlines one standard form of awards, simply called Flight Awards. What you see on AA.com is the price you’ll pay. There are no longer “milesAAver” or “AAnytime” awards.
In a 3-cabin aircraft with separate economy, business, and first classes (such as JFK-LAX/SFO transcontinental routes or select international routes), American will charge higher rates for first than for business.
If you’re interested, we’ve dedicated an entire post to the best of the best ways to redeem 100K AAdvantage miles.
Oneworld and Partner Awards
AAdvantage has a separate Oneworld and other airline partner award chart with its own pricing.
American Airlines has many unpublished award routing rules that you learn through trial and error. For instance, a U.S.-Australia route is not allowed to transit via Asia unless you pay the more expensive U.S.-Asia one-way price plus the Asia-Australia one-way price. It is cheaper to fly direct, but award availability on American and partner Qantas is scarce.
Both Etihad and Qatar now have certain transit exceptions providing for single-award pricing to Africa and other areas.
Not all American Airlines partners can be booked online, so don’t give up. Call American Airlines to check for availability.
Only these partners can be booked online: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cape Air, Fiji Airways, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Malaysian, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, S7, SriLankan, and Air Tahiti Nui.
To save time, do research on partner airline websites prior to calling American Airlines:
- Use the British Airways or Qantas website for Oneworld partners
- Use the Etihad website for Etihad flights (look for GuestSeat availability, not OpenSeat)
Hot Tip: To book business or first class awards on Etihad, you need to call AAdvantange in Australia at +61-02-9101-1948. This team can put the award on hold for you; then call AAdvantage in the U.S. to issue the ticket. If you call the U.S. directly, you will be told there are no Etihad award seats.
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The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Bilt World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Frequently Asked Questions
AAdvantage is the loyalty or frequent flyer program for American Airlines. It is a free program, and by signing up you can earn a range of benefits and gain the ability to earn free flights.
Benefits are earned based on elite status. The 4 tiers of elite status in the program are Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum.
Depending on your level, you will get access to free bags, priority check-in and boarding, premium seats, security priority, access to upgrades, and more.
In 2022, AAdvantage moved to a system based on Loyalty Points, taking into account the amount of loyalty you provide to the airline through flying, dining, staying in hotels, and more.
Once you have earned enough miles by flying with American or earning with its partners, you can redeem for travel through AA or any of its Oneworld or other airline partners.
Partners in AAdvantage are many, including travel partners (airlines, hotels, etc.) and shopping partners. You can utilize miles to travel with all Oneworld partners and other partner airlines. However, you can’t directly transfer miles to these partners.
You can use miles to transfer to hotel partners for booking, and you can also use miles to shop at a variety of other partners.
You can find your AAdvantage number by signing in to your account, on your membership card, or through a variety of marketing emails you may be sent.
If you can’t find it there, try using the “forgot my password” tool to reset your account so you can get in. Alternatively, try calling the customer service desk to find your number.
US Airways and American Airlines finalized their merger in 2015. The loyalty program is under American’s AAdvantage name.
It can take up to a week after your flight for miles to post, but sometimes it takes longer. If you are earning miles through partners, wait 6 to 10 weeks to ensure your miles are credited.
Miles will expire after 24 months of inactivity, except for members who are under 21 years of age. Simply earn or redeem once every 24 months to keep your miles active. Any type of mileage earning or redemption activity counts, such as online shopping mile bonuses.
Your status will be good through the next calendar year and February of the following year. For instance, if you earn status in June 2023, your status is good through February 2025.
If you find a reservation you may want to book, you can hold the reservation for 24 hours instead of booking it to decide whether the fare is right for you.
The hold option is available at checkout as an alternative to paying.
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