Your ultimate guide to American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty program in 2022

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If you fly frequently with American Airlines, it pays to know about its AAdvantage loyalty program. The AAdvantage program makes it easy for travelers to earn and redeem miles as well as earn varying levels of elite status for bonus travel perks and benefits.

As one of the largest airlines in the world, there are plenty of options for travelers when it comes to earning and redeeming miles. Plus, when you’re flying with American with elite status, you can take advantage of bonus perks for a more comfortable and seamless travel experience. Here’s everything you need to know about the program.

Before diving into all the ways to can earn and redeem American AAdvantage miles, it’s important to understand what they’re worth. Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values AAdvantage miles at 1.77 cents each when used for flights.

However, the redemption value varies depending on how you use the miles. For example, you’ll get as few as 0.6 cents per mile in value when redeeming AAdvantage miles for non-flight travel bookings. On the other hand, if you book an international first-class ticket, you can get well over 2 cents per mile in value. Ultimately, the real value of your miles depends on how you redeem them.

There are various ways to earn AAdvantage miles, ranging from flying to credit card spending and banking. The unique thing about American Airlines is that you can earn both redeemable miles and Loyalty Points that count toward elite status on many of these activities.

Here’s a look at some of the ways you can earn AAdvantage miles.

Earn American AAdvantage miles by flying

Flying is the most obvious way to earn American Airlines miles. But you don’t have to fly with American Airlines exclusively — you can credit miles with more than a dozen partner airlines to your AAdvantage account as well. When flying a partner airline, the number of miles you’ll earn depends on the cabin and fare class. Head to AA’s partner airline page and look up the earn rate for your specific partner carrier.

underscored american airlines planes at miami

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However, if you’re flying with American Airlines, there are set earn rates, which are determined by your elite status level:

  • General AAdvantage members: 5 miles per dollar spent
  • AAdvantage Gold: 7 miles per dollar spent
  • AAdvantage Platinum: 8 miles per dollar spent
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro: 9 miles per dollar spent
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum: 11 miles per dollar spent

With each American or partner flight you take, input your AAdvantage number and you’ll earn miles in return for your business at varying rates.

Credit cards are one of the easiest ways to earn American AAdvantage miles quickly. Both Barclays and Citi offer American Airlines-branded credit cards, with welcome bonuses ranging from 10,000 miles to 65,000 miles after meeting the minimum spending requirements.

Here’s a look at how the American Airlines credit cards compare against one another.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Welcome bonus offer

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee within the first 90 days

Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of account opening

Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening

Earn 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first four months of account opening

Earn 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening

Category bonus earning

2s miles on eligible American Airlines purchases; 1x miles on all other purchases

2x miles on American Airlines purchases; 2x miles at restaurants and gas stations; 1x miles on all other purchases

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases; 1x miles on all other purchases

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases; 2x miles on cable and satellite providers, at gas stations, on select telecommunications merchants and on car rentals; 1x miles on all other purchases

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases; 2x miles at grocery stores; 1x miles on all other purchases

Annual fee


$99, waived for the first 12 months


$0 for the first year, then $99


Unfortunately, earning AAdvantage miles through transfer partners isn’t as easy as it is with other airline loyalty programs. That’s because the AAdvantage program isn’t a transfer partner of any of the major transferable currencies, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

However, AAdvantage is a transfer partner of Bilt Rewards at a 1-to-1 rate. Alternatively, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to American Airlines at a less-than-favorable 3-to-1 ratio, with a 5,000-point bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. Ultimately, having a couple of options is better than none at all, but still, it’s more difficult than other programs to earn AAdvantage miles via transfer partners.

American Airlines has several partnerships that allow you to earn miles on travel bookings beyond flights. For example, you can earn bonus points on car rentals, hotel bookings, cruises, vacation packages and more. For example, with Hertz, you can earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on any car rental booking. Or, with Avis and Budget, you can save up to 35% off your car rental and earn bonus AAdvantage miles.

On hotel bookings, you can earn bonus miles too. By booking your hotel stay via American, you can earn up to 10,000 bonus miles and elite status-earning Loyalty Points per night. Alternatively, if you’re booking with World of Hyatt, you’ll earn 1,000 bonus miles for every stay of two nights or more through Sept. 5, 2022. Finally, on stays with Marriott Bonvoy, you’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on qualifying charges.

underscored marriott certificates le meridien maldives lead

Earn bonus AA miles by staying at Marriott properties.

Cruise bookings are very lucrative for earning bonus AAdvantage miles. You can earn up to 10,000 bonus miles per cruise booking via American. Meanwhile, you can earn thousands of bonus miles on vacation packages booked via American. And, for a limited time, you can get a $200 credit on vacation packages at checkout.

Bask Bank’s Mileage Savings Account allows customers to earn AAdvantage miles instead of interest. Account holders earn 1 mile for every dollar saved annually. For example, if you deposit $10,000 in the Bask savings account and maintain those funds for a year, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus AAdvantage miles.

If you’re gearing up to do some shopping, the AAdvantage shopping portal and Simply Miles can help you earn even more miles on your purchases. Both tools are easy to use. With the shopping portal, log in to your AAdvantage eShopping account and click on the merchant you want to shop with. You’ll earn at least 1 mile per dollar spent and sometimes additional bonuses for meeting certain spending thresholds. The great thing about the AAdvantage shopping portal is that you’ll earn Loyalty Points toward elite status (more on that below) in addition to redeemable miles.

Simply Miles is limited to AAdvantage members with a MasterCard. You can sign up, register your card and add offers to your account from popular merchants. When you make a qualifying purchase with a registered card, you’ll automatically earn bonus miles (and Loyalty Points).

The AAdvantage Dining program is a great way to earn miles every time you eat out. Once you sign up, register your credit card and dine at a participating restaurant, you’ll earn up to 5 bonus miles per dollar spent. AAdvantage Dining even offers 1,000 bonus miles to new members who spend $25 in the first 30 days and complete a review.

The program offers additional bonuses to frequent diners, helping you earn even more miles. Paired with the AAdvantage Platinum Select card, you can earn up to 7 miles per dollar spent while dining at participating restaurants.

Earn bonus miles when eating out.

If you want to earn AAdvantage miles and support a great cause, consider donating to Stand Up to Cancer. The organization partners with American Airlines to offer 10 miles per dollar spent on donations of $25 or more. These tax-deductible donations are a great way to boost your AAdvantage balance and keep your miles from expiring.

When it comes to redeeming AAdvantage miles, it’s best to plan ahead. Award space can be limited, especially if you’re traveling during peak season. However, there is definitely value to be had. If you’ve got a ton of AAdvantage miles, you can redeem them in a number of ways, but you’ll get the most value from your miles by redeeming them for travel.

Redeeming AAdvantage miles for travel is the best way to get maximum value from your miles. It’s worth noting that American Airlines has a vast network of partner airlines, allowing you to redeem miles for both domestic and international flights.

Here’s a look at some sweet spot awards on the AAdvantage award chart that are worth considering:

  • Etihad business-class award between the US and India or the Middle East: 70,000 miles one way
  • First-class award between the US and Japan or Korea: 80,000 miles one way
  • Off-peak economy award between the US and Europe: 22,000 miles one way
  • Off-peak economy award between the US and the Caribbean: 12,500 miles one way

Of course, this is only a small selection of sweet spots that are out there. If you’re looking to travel with the sole goal of saving cash, American AAdvantage miles are a great tool to have in your back pocket.

Fly to the Caribbean with your AAdvantage miles.

AAdvantage members aren’t limited to redeeming miles for flights. You can use American miles for various travel bookings, including rental cars, hotel stays and vacation packages. You’ll get around 0.6 cents per mile on these bookings in most cases. That’s significantly less than what you can expect when redeeming miles for flights.

Remember that AAdvantage miles expire after 24 months of inactivity. Donating a small number of miles is an excellent way to keep your AAdvantage miles from expiring; however, you won’t get much value out of your miles by doing so. Through American’s partnership with Stand Up to Cancer, you can earn up to 10 miles per dollar spent on donations of $25 or higher.

Earlier this year, American Airlines switched to a revenue-based model for earning elite status. Loyalty Points are the new metric for achieving elite status, expanding how members can earn elite status beyond flying.

American Airlines recognizes that loyalty comes in many forms. A customer flying thousands of miles per year can be just as valuable as a customer who puts large amounts of spending on their American-branded credit card. So, if you achieve elite status by flying or staying closer to the ground, there are plenty of benefits to be had.

You can earn AA elite status the traditional way — by flying.

AAdvantage members now earn points toward elite status for every dollar spent through the AAdvantage credit cards, AAdvantage shopping portal, dining rewards and more. For those who don’t travel often but want benefits when they do, this is great news because you can earn top-tier AAdvantage Executive Platinum status without stepping on a plane.

It’s worth noting that credit card welcome bonuses don’t count toward elite status requirements, and you’ll earn one Loyalty Point per dollar spent on these cards. If you do fly American Airlines, you’ll earn Loyalty Points based on your elite status level:

  • AAdvantage member: 5 Loyalty Points per dollar spent
  • AAdvantage Gold: 7 Loyalty Points per dollar spent
  • AAdvantage Platinum: 8 Loyalty Points per dollar spent
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro: 9 Loyalty Points per dollar spent
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum: 11 Loyalty Points per dollar spent

If you’re looking to earn AAdvantage elite status, you’ll need to earn between 30,000 and 200,000 Loyalty Points per year. The qualification period starts on March 1 and ends on Feb. 28 each year. Once you earn elite status, it’s valid through March 31 of the following year. Here’s how many Loyalty Points you’ll need to earn for each level of elite status:

  • AAdvantage Gold: 30,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum: 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum Pro: 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • Executive Platinum: 200,000 Loyalty Points

American Airlines has four elite status tiers, all of which offer perks to improve your travel experience. All elite members qualify for seat upgrades, bonus miles and free checked bags. If you’re a frequent traveler, these benefits can add up in value.

Here’s a look at all the AAdvantage elite status benefits:

  • Complimentary upgrades on American Airlines
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats within 24 hours of departure
  • 24-hour upgrade window
  • 40% bonus miles
  • Complimentary preferred seats
  • One free checked bag
  • Complimentary upgrades on American Airlines
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats
  • 48-hour upgrade window
  • 60% bonus miles
  • Two free checked bags
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats
  • One Loyalty Choice Reward
  • 72-hour upgrade window
  • 80% bonus miles
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats
  • Three free checked bags
  • Complimentary upgrades on American and Alaska Airlines
  • 100-hour upgrade window
  • Two Loyalty Choice Rewards
  • 120% bonus miles
  • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats
  • Three free checked bags

Overall, American Airlines offers a comprehensive loyalty program. Earning miles is easy through flying and the airline’s number of partners. In addition, there are plenty of options for redeeming those miles, and frequent travelers — and high spenders — can take advantage of several benefits to make flying more comfortable.

Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.

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