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      American Airlines AAdvantage Loyalty Program Benefits & Review – How to Earn Elite Status (November 2022)

      Josh Patoka
      American Airlines AAdvantage Loyalty Program

      Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired.

      If you fly on American Airlines, you most likely have an AAdvantage® program loyalty account. This in-depth guide has many pointers to reach maximum membership benefits by earning travel rewards, getting discounted award flights, and qualifying for elite status sooner.

      American Airlines AAdvantage At A Glance
      Loyalty ProgramAmerican Airlines AAdvantage
      Cost to JoinFree
      Membership TiersMember, Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum
      Fare ClassesBasic Economy, Fully Flexible, Business, First
      Number of Alliance Members23
      Popular Alliance AirlinesAlaska Airlines, British Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia, Qantas
      Average Point Value1.5 cents
      Point Expiration Policy24 months
      Point Redemption OptionsAward Flights, Admirals Club membership, Experiences, Hotels, Car Rentals, Vacations
      Number of Co-Brand Credit Cards (Accepting New Applications)6

      Joining the Program

      You can join AAdvantage for free online and start at the basic Member loyalty tier. The initial requirements are submitting your name, birth date, and mailing address. 

      American Airlines Loyalty Program Levels

      There are four different AAdvantage elite status tiers. Unlike other airline loyalty programs (i.e., Delta SkyMiles) that require logging a minimum number of flight segments, miles, and spent dollars, you only need to earn Loyalty Points by completing flights and making qualifying purchases.

      The qualification period starts March 1 each year and closes on the last day in February. Your status benefits end on March 31 of the next year. 

      AAdvantage Status TierLoyalty Points Requirement
      Gold30,000
      Platinum75,000
      Platinum Pro125,000
      Executive Platinum200,000

      AAdvantage Member

      The entry-level Member tier offers these benefits:

      • Earn miles toward award travel
      • Group 6 boarding
      • Access to exclusive promotions
      • Manage trips and credits

      AAdvantage Gold

      Gold is the first of four AAdvantage status tiers and includes these perks:

      • 40% status mileage bonus
      • Complimentary upgrades on American (when available)
      • 24-hour upgrade window
      • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra (at check-in or 24 hours in advance)
      • Complimentary Preferred Seats
      • Group 4 Priority Boarding
      • 1 free checked bag
      • Oneworld Ruby benefits

      AAdvantage Platinum

      Platinum members have more time to upgrade and have two free checked bags.

      • 60% status mileage bonus
      • Complimentary upgrades on American (when available)
      • 48-hour upgrade window
      • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra Seats
      • Complimentary Preferred Seats
      • Group 3 Priority Boarding
      • 2 free checked bags
      • Oneworld Sapphire benefits

      AAdvantage Platinum Pro

      The second-highest loyalty tier offers a Loyalty Choice Award after completing a minimum of 30 qualifying segments.

      • 1 Loyalty Choice award
      • 80% status mileage bonus
      • Complimentary upgrades on American and Alaska Airlines
      • 72-hour upgrade window
      • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra Seats
      • Complimentary Preferred Seats
      • Group 2 Priority Boarding
      • 3 free checked bags
      • Oneworld Emerald benefits

      AAdvantage Executive Platinum

      The most loyal passengers can qualify for Executive Platinum status:

      • 2 Loyalty Choice awards
      • 120% status mileage bonus
      • Complimentary upgrades on American and Alaska Airlines
      • 100-hour upgrade window
      • Complimentary Main Cabin Extra Seats
      • Complimentary Preferred Seats
      • Group 1 Priority Boarding
      • 3 free checked bags
      • Oneworld Emerald benefits

      You can unlock two additional Loyalty Choice Rewards by 350,000; 550,000; and 750,000 points.

      Million Miler Program

      Traveling at least one million miles on American-marketed flights and other eligible flights during your lifetime lets you qualify for Million Miler™ status.

      Your perks at each million-mile threshold include:

      • 1 Million: AAdvantage Gold status for the life of the program and 35,000 AAdvantage bonus miles 
      • 2 Million: AAdvantage Platinum status for the life of the program and four one-way systemwide upgrades.
      • Each Additional Million: Four additional one-way systemwide upgrades
      The Vacationer Tip

      Sign up for an American Airlines credit card to earn loyalty points and obtain elite status quicker. Here are our two favorites:

      Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® ($450 annual fee; Admirals Club Access)
      American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card (No Annual Fee)

      American Airlines Status Match

      Sadly, the carrier is notorious for not offering a traditional elite status match like many airlines. 

      However, it’s not uncommon for American Airlines to offer status challenges (purchases required) and temporary elite status to targeted members. 

      Here are two of the best ways to receive status challenge offers:

      • Maintain World of Hyatt Explorist or Globalist status
      • Corporate travelers can contact their travel manager or American account manager 

      As a result, it can be easier to have other airlines recognize your American Airlines elite status. Partner airlines are some of the best starting points including Alaska Airlines and the oneworld alliance partners.

      Earning American Airlines Loyalty Points

      The carrier switched to a Loyalty Points tracking system on January 1, 2022, to climb the AAdvantage status tiers instead of worrying about multiple metrics. These reward points are different from AAdvantage miles.

      There are several ways to earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points:

      • Travel on status-qualifying airlines: American Airlines, American Eagle, oneworld partners, other partner airlines
      • AAdvantage credit card purchases: 1 Loyalty Point per 1 eligible AAdvantage mile (this excludes signup bonus, promotions, accelerators, and multipliers)
      • Shopping, dining, and travel partners: AAdvantage eShopping, AAdvantage miles, SimplyMiles, and more.

      Loyalty Choice Rewards

      Primarily, Loyalty Points track your status toward earning AAdvantage status. You can also qualify for five different levels by earning the minimum number of points and completing 30 qualifying flight segments.

      Loyalty Choice Reward LevelLoyalty Points RequiredNumber of Choices
      1125,0001
      2200,0002
      3350,0002
      4550,0002
      5750,0002

      While the first reward level only offers one benefit redemptions, the remaining tiers let you select two benefits. As you might expect, the higher tiers offer more valuable rewards such as only getting one systemwide upgrade at Level 1 but two upgrades with Level 2.

      Here are a sample of the available rewards:

      • Systemwide upgrades
      • Bonus AAdvantage miles
      • 6 Admirals Club one-day passes
      • $200 American Airlines trip credit
      • One-time award flight discounts (post-trip rebates)
      • Gift AAdvantage Gold status
      • Carbon emissions offset
      • $200 donation to one of 10 charity partners

      You can learn more about the different Loyalty Choice Rewards experiences here.

      Is American Airlines Status Worth It?

      American Airlines AAdvantage Elite Status

      Photo: pixabay

      While elite status is better than a standard membership with any airline that you fly on regularly, you may only consider chasing American Airlines elite status if you can achieve one of the “Platinum” tiers. 

      Qualifying for the entry-level AAdvantage Gold status is helpful as you receive dedicated customer service and space-available complimentary seat upgrade. For example, Gold status holders can select “preferred” seats when booking, but they can only pick “main cabin extra seats” at check-in or within 24 hours of departure. However, several benefits are available to American Airlines credit card customers. 

      While we’re talking about the co-branded American Airlines credit card lineup, cardholders will have a much easier time qualifying for elite status as all card purchases earn Loyalty Points.

      American Airlines Alliance Partners

      You will enjoy the most benefits with the oneworld alliance airlines. There are also several non-oneworld partner airlines.

      The oneworld alliance partners include:

      • Alaska Airlines
      • British Airways
      • Cathay Pacific
      • Finnair
      • Iberia
      • Japan Airlines
      • Malaysia Airlines
      • Qantas
      • Qatar Airways
      • Royal Air Maroc
      • Royal Jordanian Airlines
      • SriLankan Airlines

      Additional partner airlines include:

      • Air Tahiti Nui
      • Cape Air
      • China Southern Airlines
      • Etihad Airways
      • Fiji Airways
      • GOL Airlines
      • Hawaiian Airlines
      • IndiGo
      • jetBlue
      • Silver Airways 

      Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

      Below are the various ways to earn American Airlines frequent flyer miles that you can redeem for award flights and other experiences.

      Qualifying Flights

      You can earn miles by completing flights on these airlines:

      • American Airlines
      • American Eagle
      • Oneworld alliance members
      • Partner airlines 

      The mileage multiplier feature lets you buy additional miles on flight bookings. These extra miles can be cheaper than purchasing them as a separate transaction.

      Your earning potential depends on your AAdvantage loyalty status tier.

      AAdvantage Status LevelEarn Rate (Miles per $1)
      Member5x miles
      Gold7x
      Platinum8x
      Platinum Pro9x
      Executive Platinum11x

      American Airlines Co-Brand Credit Cards

      Multiple branded American Airlines credit cards can earn up to 2 miles per dollar. You will also earn 1 Loyalty Point per base mile (i.e. spend $1 and earn 1 point) which makes it easier to qualify for elite status. Unfortunately, bonus categories do not qualify for extra loyalty points, so you will only earn up to 1 loyalty point per dollar spent regardless of the spending category and how many miles per dollar spent it earns.

      Related: Best Airline Credit Cards

      Travel Experiences

      It’s also possible to earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points when booking these non-flight travel purchases through your American Airlines loyalty account:

      • Hotels: American Airlines Hotels, World of Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Rocketmiles
      • Rental Cars: Avis, Budget, Hertz, National, Alamo, Dollar, Payless, Thrifty
      • Cruises: Carnival, Norwegian, RoyalCaribbean, etc.
      • Vacation Packages: Potentially book a flight, hotel, and car through American Airlines vacations. Earn at least 1,000 miles per American Airlines Vacations purchase.

      The earning potential varies by travel brand but it’s usually common to earn from 500 to 1,000 miles and up to 10,000 miles per booking.

      AAdvantage Dining

      Earn miles at participating restaurants, bars, and clubs through the AAdvantage Dining program and pay with a linked credit card or debit card. You can also earn 1,000 bonus miles by spending $25 in your first 30 days. 

      Online Shopping

      There are two different online shopping platforms that can help you earn AAdvantage miles on qualifying shopping trips.

      SimplyMiles sends personalized offers for brands including Dropbox, FTD, Uber, and Wine Insiders.

      The second option is the AAdvantage eShopping portal that lets you search for earning offers by retailer or product category. You can add a Chrome browser extension, apply digital coupons, and compare product offers as well.

      Charity Donations

      Donating cash to eligible donations can let you earn 10 points per $1. One example is making a minimum $25 donation to Stand Up To Cancer.

      Buy AAdvantage Miles

      You can buy, gift, or transfer AAdvantage miles directly through the airline website. AAdvantage members can accrue up to 150,000 miles per year through purchases or gifts. As you might expect these transactions don’t count toward elite status oir Million Miler status.

      One can receive up to 200,000 transferred miles per calendar year.  

      This mile-stacking strategy usually isn’t the best option as you can encounter several fees. For instance it costs $0.0295 per mile that you buy or gift ($0.0125 per transferred mile). All transactions also incur a transaction processing charge from $15 to $40.

      Related: American Airlines Baggage Fees, Allowance, and Policy

      Airline Miles Savings Account

      American Airlines has a unique relationship with Bask Bank. Instead of earning interest on your deposits, you receive 1.2 miles per $1 saved annually using the Bask Mileage Savings Account.

      You may also be eligible for a savings account signup bonus. For example, first-time members might earn 5,000 bonus miles after making $25,000 in qualifying deposits.

      Transferring Points to American Airlines

      American Airlines AAdvantage Transfer Points and Miles

      Photo: pixabay

      It’s possible to transfer hotel points to your AAdvantage account. Additionally, a couple of “challenger” rewards credit cards let you redeem your purchase rewards as a flight credit to save money on your ticket cost.

      Unfortunately, American Airlines currently doesn’t support credit card points transfers from popular programs like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou.

      Marriott Bonvoy

      The Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program is your best option for transferring hotel points to American Airlines. This is because you can receive 5,000 additional miles when you transfer at least 60,000 points in one transaction.

      The standard transfer rate is 3:1. Below are some point transfer examples that include the bonus transfer points:

      • 30,000 Bonvoy points equal 10,000 AAdvantage miles
      • 60,000 Bonvoy points equal 25,000 miles (20,000 miles if you use multiple transfers)
      • 90,000 points equal 35,000 miles (30,000 miles with multiple transfers)

      Additionally, the 5,000 miles transfer bonus applies to 38 total airlines.

      Regardless of the bonuses available, transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to American Airlines is usually not the best use of the points.

      Marriott Vacation Club

      If you happen to have a timeshare in the Marriott Vacation Club loyalty program, you receive 4,000 bonus AAdvantage miles for every 250 Vacation Club points transferred. 

      The standard conversion rate is 500 Vacation Club points equal 8,000 miles.

      World of Hyatt

      World of Hyatt members can also enjoy a competitive redemption ratio as 5,000 Hyatt points are worth 2,000 AAdvantage miles.

      It can also be worth your time to link your Hyatt and AAdvantage loyalty accounts as you can earn hotel points and airline miles on flights and hotel stays. You can link your accounts here.

      You may also consider applying for the World of Hyatt Credit Card – (Learn How to Apply Here) as you get automatic Hyatt Discoverist status and can receive an annual free night certificate.  

      IHG One Rewards

      Members of IHG One Rewards (formerly IHG Rewards Club) can convert 10,000 IHG points into 2,000 AAdvantage miles.  

      The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card – (Learn How to Apply Here) provides IHG Platinum loyalty status, a free night certificate on each card anniversary, plus a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

      Further reading: Best Credit Cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.

      Instant Credit Card Flight Credits

      Two credit cards let you redeem points directly for American Airlines flights. While not as flexible as point transfers, you save money upfront as each point is worth 1 cent. 

      • Bilt Rewards Mastercard®: No annual fee, earn rewards on rent, and 2x on travel purchases.
      • X1 Card: Earn at least 2x on purchases, it’s a metal credit card with no annual fee, and can be easier to qualify for if you have imperfect credit as it prioritizes income.

      Redeeming American Airlines Miles

      There are several ways to redeem your AAdvantage miles for award travel. 

      Award Flights

      American Airlines AAdvantage miles are usually worth around 1.5 cents each for American-operated award flights. The airline is one of the few major carriers that still offers a flight award chart and offers fixed-rate redemptions on select routes and fare classes.

      It’s possible to redeem miles on AA.com for flights and flight upgrades on American Airlines plus most of the partner airlines. Some redemptions require booking your seat by phone.

      You can also use the interactive fare finder map to find current offers from your departure airport. 

      There are two different ways to book discounted American Airlines award flights.

      MileSAAver Awards:

      MileSAAver award flights are the most affordable option and are available for main cabin, premium economy, and first/business class. A limited number of seats are available at this rate and you will pay the AAnytime rate (there’s a Level 1 and Level 2) or pay cash.

      Main cabin award flights within the 48 U.S. states and Canada only cost 7,500 miles for routes not exceeding 500 miles. Otherwise, the standard MileSAAver rate for domestic flights is 12,500 miles.

      If you’re willing to fly in the main cabin on international flights and from the mainland to Hawaii, you can also find off-peak MileSAAver award prices. One example is only paying 22,500 for a one-way flight to Europe instead of 20,000 during peak season.

      Web Special Awards:

      You can also find Web Specials on the American Airlines website that can have attractive reward flight pricing.

      Admirals Club

      You can redeem miles to purchase or renew your Admirals Club lounge membership. 

      However, a better option can be using the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® – (Learn How to Apply Here) as its a complimentary benefit. Therefore, you can use your miles for award flights instead.

      Non-Flight Travel Redemptions

      It’s also possible to use your miles for these travel bookings:

      • Hotels
      • Rental cars
      • Vacations
      • Luxury experiences

      Charity Donations

      Charitable donations can be another way to put your miles to good use.

      Do American Airlines Miles Expire?

      American Airlines AAdvantage miles expire after 24 months of account inactivity. Earning and redeeming miles within a rolling 24-month period renews your remaining balance. 

      Reactivate American Airlines Miles

      It’s possible to reactivate up to 500,000 expired AAdvantage miles online or by calling AAdvantage customer service. You must request reactivation within 24 months of expiring. 

      Unfortunately, the reactivation fee is $50 per 5,000 miles plus a $30 processing fee.

      American Airlines Credit Cards

      Barclays and Citi offer an American Airlines AAdvantage Card lineup of four consumer cards and two small business cards. Citi offers more cards as they have the American Airlines contract while Barclays offers the U.S. Airways Aviator cards that were rebranded after the carriers merged in 2015.

      These cards earn 1 Loyalty Point per eligible AAdvantage base mile (bonuses categories earnings are not included) to earn AAdvantage status sooner. In other words, earning 2x miles per dollar spent on a bonus category only earns 1 loyalty point per dollar.

      Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

      The Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite – (Learn How to Apply Here) is arguably the best American Airlines credit card overall for frequent flyers as you get complimentary Admirals Club® access. The annual fee is $450 and you can request up to 10 free additional cards.

      • 4x miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases (through December 31, 2022, then 2x per dollar spent)
      • 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after $40,000 in annual purchases
      • 25% savings on inflight food and beverage
      • Complimentary Admirals Club access
      • First checked bag free for you and up to 8 companions
      • Enhanced airport experience
      • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

      American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

      You may like the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card – (Learn How to Apply Here) if you simply want to earn miles without an annual fee. Unfortunately, this is the only co-brand AAdvantage card with a foreign transaction card (3%).

      • 2x miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases
      • 2x miles per dollar spent at grocery stores and on grocery delivery services
      • 25% savings on inflight food and beverages
      • No annual fee

      Related: Best No-Annual-Fee Credit Cards

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

      The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select is the mid-tier offering and a good option for free checked bags and possibility for a one-time flight discount. Its annual fee is $99 ($0 for the first 12 months).

      • 2x on American Airlines, restaurant, and gas station purchases
      • 25% savings on inflight food and beverages
      • First checked bag free for you and up to four companions
      • Preferred boarding
      • $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after $20,000 in annual purchases

      AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

      The Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red provides several benefits and has a $99 annual fee.

      • 2x on American Airlines purchases
      • 25% discount on inflight food and beverage purchases
      • $25 back as statement credits for inflight wi-fi each anniversary year
      • First checked bag is free for you and up to 4 companions
      • Preferred boarding
      • Anniversary Companion Certificate after $20,000 on purchases per year

      AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® 

      The Barclays-issued AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard provides an annual mileage bonus and the opportunity to earn a companion certificate for one guest. The annual fee is $95.

      • 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
      • 2x on office supply, telecom, and car rental merchants
      • 5% AAdvantage mileage bonus after each account anniversary
      • 25% inflight savings on food and beverages
      • First checked bag free for you and up to four travel companions
      • Preferred boarding
      • One companion certificate for $99 after $30,000 in eligible annual purchases
      • Complimentary employee cards
      • No foreign transaction fees

      CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® 

      The CitiBusiness Platinum Select offers several ways to earn bonus miles and also provides the opportunity to earn a companion certificate. The annual fee is $99 ($0 for the first 12 months).

      • 2x on American Airlines purchases
      • 2x on telecoms, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants, and gas stations
      • American Airlines Companion Certificate for $99 after $30,000 in annual spending
      • 25% savings on inflight food, beverage, and Wi-fi
      • First checked bag is free for you and up to four companions
      • Preferred boarding
      • Complimentary employee cards
      • No foreign transaction fees

      Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

      While the co-brand Marriott Bonvoy credit cards earn Bonvoy hotel points, you can easily convert them to AAdvantage miles at a 3:1 ratio. Be sure to transfer at least 60,000 Bonvoy points at a time to receive the 5,000 bonus miles.

      Two of the Marriott rewards credit cards to consider:

      The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts

      American Airlines is the dominant airline for several domestic markets and they are also a competitive option for flights to the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Asia thanks to its oneworld alliance partnership.

      It can be easier to qualify for elite status with this legacy carrier as you only need to focus on earning Loyalty Points. There are also several co-brand rewards credit cards that earn Loyalty Points and AAdvantage miles and offer complimentary flight benefits. One card also makes it easy to access Admiral Club lounge locations.

      However, you may prefer other airlines if you don’t want to worry about expiring airline miles. A discount airline can serve your common travel routes more frequently and you can redeem fewer points for award flights as American’s pricing can be expensive for select corridors.

      Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

      All information about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® , and the CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®  have been collected independently by The Vacationer. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® , and the CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®  are no longer available through The Vacationer.

      Josh Patoka The Vacationer Bio

      By Josh Patoka

      Josh Patoka writes about maximizing travel rewards for The Vacationer. As well, he contributes to several personal finance sites specializing in making money, paying off debt, and investing.