18 Ways to Earn Tons of American Airlines AAdvantage Miles [2020 Guide]

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The American Airlines AAdvantage program is one of the world's largest airline loyalty programs. With a free AAdvantage account, you can begin earning and redeeming AAdvantage miles for free flights around the world on American Airlines and more than one dozen Oneworld alliance and non-alliance partners.

Want to get started earning American Airlines miles? Here's why the AAdvantage program is worth joining and the many ways you can earn miles to put toward award flights.

Step One: Enroll in the American Airlines AAdvantage Program

To begin earning American Airlines miles, you'll need a free AAdvantage account. Click here to enroll in the AAdvantage program by providing basic information about yourself, including your name, address, email, and secure traveler numbers (if applicable).

Within minutes, you'll have your own AAdvantage account with an AAdvantage number and you'll be ready to start earning AA miles.

Why AA Miles Are Worth Earning

Searching for the right frequent flyer program to give you the best value? The American Airlines AAdvantage program has a lot going for it with valuable miles, an extensive flight network, dozens of airline partners, miles that are very easy to earn, and MileSAAver awards for discounted award flights.

Here's why AAdvantage miles are worth earning.

Huge Network of Partners

By earning American Airlines miles, you aren't limited to flying on American: you can use your miles to book award seats through the oneworld alliance and partners. American also has some of the best partners to open up award flights around the world. Fly Ethihad to the Middle East, Finnair to Scandinavia, and Qantas to Australia, among other options.

Awesome Award Chart

American Airlines has an easy-to-understand regional award chart that makes it easy to see how many points you need to book an award flight based on your origin and destination -- not the number of miles you fly or the cash price of a ticket. The award chart also has plenty of sweet spots such as flying from the U.S. to the Caribbean or Mexico during the off season for just 25,000 miles roundtrip.

With a regional award chart, you can also take advantage of free connecting flights on award bookings. You don't need to pay extra to fly out of tiny regional airports -- only the region of your origin and destination matter. While it'll take some time, you can set up complicated itineraries as long as your flights are in the same regions.

Free Changes to Award Flights

Unlike United and Delta, America's major domestic competitors, you can change the date of your award flight without fees as long as it's not an Economy Web Special award flight. Changing award flights is always free as long as you don't change the class, destination, and origin.

How Do American Airlines Miles Compare to Other Airline Miles?

In general, American Airlines AAdvantage miles are worth about 1.4 cents each, although the value you get will depend on the cost of the flight and your fare class. You'll get a much better value booking business class than economy, for example. It's entirely possible to get a value of up to 4 cents per point with strategic booking.

Thanks to the size of American's flight network and the Oneworld alliance, AAdvantage miles are particularly valuable.

By comparison, Alaska miles are more valuable at 1.8 cents each (but they have more limited use and are harder to earn), Avios are worth 1.5 cents each, Delta SkyMiles are worth about 1.2 cents each, JetBlue TrueBlue miles are worth 1.3 cents each, and Miles & More miles are worth 1.4 cents each.

How to Earn American Airlines Miles

Ready to start earning AA miles? American Airlines offers more miles earning options than most airlines with a huge lineup of credit cards plus dozens of partners, a dining program, an eShopping portal, and the ability to earn miles at almost all major hotel chains. Here's how to earn AAdvantage miles.

Earn AA Miles for Flying With American Airlines

As an AAdvantage member, you'll earn AA miles based on your ticket's base price minus the fees and taxes you pay. Earning American Airlines miles on AA flights is also based on your AAdvantage elite status:

  • Member: 5x miles
  • Gold: 7x miles
  • Platinum: 8x miles
  • Platinum Pro: 9x miles
  • Executive Platinum: 11x miles

As an example, a flight that costs $200 after taxes would earn 1,000 miles as a basic member, 1,400 miles as a Gold member, or 1,800 miles as a Platinum Pro member.

Earn Miles Flying with American Airlines Partners

You don't just earn miles on American Airlines flights; you'll also be earning AAdvantage miles when you fly with AA partners. There are two ways to earn miles on American Airlines partners:
Booking through American earns miles as if you were flying on an American Airlines flight
Booking through a partner's website and using your AAdvantage number earns miles based on the flight distance like EQMs with an earning rate based on your fare class.

To calculate how many miles you earn when you book with a partner, check your fare class then look for the corresponding fare class on American's partner airlines list here. Multiply the miles you fly by the percentage in your fare class column and note that premium classes earn bonus miles listed in the cabin bonus column.

Earn AA Miles With American Airlines Credit Cards

After flying with American and partner airlines, the easiest way to earn American AAdvantage miles is by using a co-branded American Airlines credit card. Barclays and Citi both offer American Airlines credit cards ranging from no annual fee cards to premium cards that come with automatic elite status.

With an American Airlines credit card, you can earn up to 2x bonus AA miles on American Airlines flights and bonus categories like restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores plus 1x miles on everyday spending.

There are nine American Airlines cards to choose from: 4 from Citi and 5 from Barclays (but only 2 Barclaycards open to new applicants).

Citi AAdvantage Cards

Citi American AAdvantage cards are generally more attractive than Barclaycards thanks to bonus categories and a greater range of products.

  • American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card
    • No annual fee
    • 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in 3 months
    • 2x AA miles on AA purchases and grocery stores
    • 1x AA miles on all other spending
  • CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
    • $99 annual fee (waived the first year)
    • 70,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in 4 months
    • 2x AA miles on AA purchases, restaurants, and gas stations
    • 1x AA miles on all other spending
    • $125 AA Flight Discount after spending $20,000 or more during the year
    • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and 4 travel companions
  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
    • $99 annual fee (waived the first year)
    • 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 in 3 months
    • 2x AA miles on AA purchases, telecom, cable and satellite, car rentals, and gas stations
    • 1x AA miles on all other spending
    • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and 4 travel companions
    • Domestic American Airlines Companion Certificate after spending $30,000 in a year
  • Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
    • $450 annual fee
    • 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in 3 months
    • 2x AA miles for AA purchases
    • 1x AA miles on all other spending
    • 10,000 EQMs after spending $40,000 in a year
    • Admirals Club membership
    • Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit
    • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and 4 travel companions
    • Priority check-in and airport screening for you and up to 8 travel companions

Barclaycard AAdvantage Cards

While Barclaycard's portfolio of AAdvantage cards is smaller and generally less beneficial than Citi's portfolio, Barclays offers welcome bonuses that tend to be easier to earn.

Note that while Barclays offers five AAdvantage cards, only the Aviator Red and Aviator Business cards are accepting new applications. It may be possible to get a different version by upgrading or downgrading a Barclaycard AAdvantage card, though.

  • Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
    • $95 annual fee
    • 65,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in 90 days & 10,000 miles after the first purchase with an employee card
    • 2x AA miles on AA purchases, office supplies, telecom, and car rentals
    • 1x AA miles on all other spending
    • 5% mileage bonus on miles earned on your cardmember anniversary
    • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and up to 4 travel companions
    • Companion Certificate for one guest at $99 issued on your account anniversary after spending $30,000
    • $3,000 EQDs after spending $25,000
  • Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard
    • $99 annual fee
    • 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase in 90 days and paying the annual fee
    • 2x AA miles on AA purchases
    • 1x AA miles on all other spending
    • Introductory Companion Certificate for one guest at $99 after making your first purchase and paying the annual fee within 90 days
    • Annual Companion Certificate after spending $20,000 every anniversary year
    • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights for you and up to 4 travel companions

Earn AAdvantage Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

The fastest way to earn American AAdvantage miles? Earning a welcome bonus by signing up for an AAdvantage credit card. Welcome offers change frequently, but they can be up to 70,000 AA miles or even more! That's enough for three one-way trips to Europe from the U.S. or almost six domestic flights.

Transfer Hotel Points to American Airlines Miles

As a general rule, hotel points are worth the most when used to book free hotel stays. However, you can convert hotel points to AAdvantage miles if you aren't going to use them for a hotel stay. You can transfer points from all of the leading hotel loyalty programs to AAdvantage miles -- although the value will depend on the program.

Here's the transfer ratios for each hotel partner:

  • Hilton Honors: 10,000 Hilton Honors points = 1,500 AAdvantage miles
  • Choice Hotels: 5,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,000 AAdvantage miles
  • World of Hyatt: 5,000 Hyatt points = 2,000 AAdvantage miles
  • IHG Rewards Club: 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points = 2,000 AAdvantage miles
  • Marriott Bonvoy: 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 10,000 AAdvantage miles
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 Wyndham Rewards points = 1,200 AAdvantage miles

Note that sometimes there are bonuses when you transfer points to AA miles -- but the transfer ratio still isn't great.

Earn AAdvantage Miles on Hotel Stays

Converting hotel points to American AAdvantage miles may have a poor value, but there's another option: choosing to earn American Airlines miles at hotel partners. You can earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles at tens of thousands of hotels around the world.

You'll need to provide your AAdvantage number when you book. Here's how many points you can earn:

  • Hyatt Hotels: 500 miles per stay (1x AAdvantage bonus mile as a Hyatt elite member)
  • Marriott Bonvoy: 2x miles when you select AA miles as your earning preference (1x miles at some Marriott brands)
  • Intercontinental Hotels: 2x miles when you choose AA miles as your earning preference (1x miles at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites)
  • Choice Hotels: 250 miles per stay
  • Best Western: 250 miles per stay
  • Wyndham Hotels: 1x miles for Blue and Gold Wyndham members and 2x miles for Platinum and Diamond Wyndham members

You can also earn up to 10,000 points per night at more than 300,000 global properties when you book through PointsHound, Rocketmiles, or American Airlines Hotels (powered by Booking.com) and use your AAdvantage number.

Earn AA Miles on Car Rentals

When you rent a car with one of American's car rental partners, you'll earn at least 500 miles. The number of AA miles you earn will depend on the rental agency and your status in the AAdvantage program. You'll need to use your AAdvantage number and a discount code when you book to earn miles. Here's how.

Avis & Budget

Use discount code #K817100 at Avis or discount code #U072400 at Budget and earn:

  • 500 miles per rental as an AAdvantage member
  • 750 miles as a Citi / AAdvantage cardholder or AAdvantage Aviator MasterCard cardholder
  • 1,000 miles as a Platinum Pro, Platinum, or Gold member
  • 1,250 miles as an Executive Platinum member

Payless

Use discount code #K105200 and earn 500 miles per rental.

Alamo, Thrifty & National

Provide your AAdvantage number when you book and earn 50 miles per rental day.

Dollar Car Rental

Earn 2x miles when you book through Dollar with your AAdvantage number.

Hertz

Earn 1x mile when you use discount code CDP 217692.

Earn AAdvantage Miles by Shopping

Outside of American Airlines credit cards and flying with American and its partners, one of the most lucrative ways to earn AAdvantage miles is through the AAdvantage eShopping portal. The portal allows you to earn miles by shopping online at hundreds of stores -- an easy solution for earning miles not offered by most other frequent flyer programs.

After signing up for an AAdvantage eShopping account, you can search for your favorite stores and earn anywhere from 1x to 20x miles. American sometimes offers special shopping offers as well. For example, during January 2020, you could earn 500 bonus miles when you spend $150 through the portal and 1,000 bonus miles for spending at least $300.

The number of miles you earn at partner retailers changes, sometimes from one day to the next, but the portal can be a surprisingly lucrative way to earn American Airlines miles shopping.

Earn American Airlines Miles by Dining

The AAdvantage Dining program allows you to earn up to 5x AAdvantage miles by dining at participating restaurants. You'll need to sign up for an account and provide a valid email then link credit and debit cards. You can also earn a welcome bonus of 1,000 miles once you spend at least $25 at a participating restaurant with a linked card within 30 days.

Earn Miles on Vacations

Book a trip with American Airlines Vacations to earn bonus miles plus perks like resort credits. Book a flight, hotel, and/or car together to save, earn bonus AA miles, and even buy now but pay later.

You'll also earn up to 6x AA miles when you book a cruise through BookACruises.com with your AAdvantage number.

Enroll in BankDirect

Sign up for an account with BankDirect and you can earn thousands of bonus AAdvantage miles. You can earn AA miles by opening a Mileage Checking or Money Market account, receiving direct deposit, using bill pay or your BankDirect debit card, or referring friends. You can also earn monthly bonus miles for maintaining an average daily balance or investing money in a Mileage CD. Learn more at BankDirect.

Other Ways to Earn American Airlines Miles

Still need more options for earning AA miles? Here are some other ways to earn AAdvantage miles.

  • Sign up for Sprint mobile service. Earn 20,000 AAdvantage miles for activating a new Sprint account plus up to 5,000 AA miles per month.
  • Donate to charity. Earn 10x miles when you donate to a participating charity.
  • Choose NRG Home as your energy provider and earn up to 12,500 bonus miles as a welcome offer then 2x miles on the supply portion of your monthly bill.
  • Enroll in Reliant, an NRG company, if you live in Texas for up to 27,000 bonus AA miles plus 500 miles per month.
  • Shop with retail partners like FTD, Teleflora, and Vinesse Wines.
  • Miles for Opinions and e-Rewards allow you to earn AAdvantage miles for taking surveys.
  • Earn 2,000 miles per $10,000 when you buy or sell your home with Miles from Home.
  • Buy American Airlines miles. You can buy AAdvantage miles but the regular price is up to 4 cents per mile depending on how many miles you buy. Even with promotions, buying AA miles only makes sense when you can get them cheaply and use them for high-cost flights or special deals.

Wrap Up

The American Airlines AAdvantage program isn't perfect, especially when it comes to limited award availability, but AA miles are among the easiest to earn and incredibly flexible with a huge network of alliances and partnerships. You can even start earning AA miles without even flying on American thanks to American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards, the online shopping portal, and American's earning partners.

FAQ

How do you earn miles with American Airlines?

You can earn American Airlines miles in several ways:

  • Fly on American Airlines
  • Flight with airlines in the Oneworld alliance and non-alliance AA partners
  • Stay at hotels linked with your AAdvantage account
  • Use an American Airlines credit card
  • Shop through the AAdvantage eShopping mall
  • Dine with the AAdvantage Dining program
  • Open a BankDirect account
  • Transfer points from a hotel loyalty program
  • Rent a car
  • Donate to charity
  • Book a vacation through American Airlines Vacation or a cruise
  • Shop with partners
  • Buy American Airlines points

Can American Airlines AAdvantage miles be transferred?

You can't transfer AA miles to partner airlines, but you can use them to book award seats on dozens of partner airlines.

Which credit cards earn AAdvantage miles?

Barclays and Citi both issue several American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards. There are six credit cards that earn AA miles:

  • American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card
  • CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
  • Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
  • Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
  • Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

What are American Airlines AAdvantage miles worth?

AAdvantage miles are worth about 1.4 cents each but the value can vary wildly depending on how they are used. You typically get the best value for business and first class award seats.

Who are American AAdvantage partners?

American Airlines allows you to earn and redeem miles with Oneworld alliance partners (British Airways, Cathway Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, S7 Airlines, and SriLankan Airlines) plus other airline partners (Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines, Cape Air, China Southern Airlines, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Interjet, and Seaborne Virgin Islands).

How many miles do you get per dollar on American Airlines?

You get 5-11x AAdvantage miles per dollar on American Airlines flights and partner flights, excluding taxes and fees. If you use an American Airlines credit card, you get an extra 2x points per dollar.

How many miles do you need to get a free flight on American Airlines?

You can book MileSAAver awards starting at 7,500. Sometimes Web Special awards are available for fewer miles than MileSAAver awards. Not counting MileSAAver off-peak awards, domestic flights fewer than 500 miles within the contiguous U.S. start at 7,500 miles one way while flights from the U.S. to Europe range from 22,500 to 30,000 (MileSAAver) to 65,000 one

Extra tips on how to maximize your rewards

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