American Airlines AAdvantage Program: A full Guide

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Tracing its history here we are at 1930, American Airlines is one of America’s three “legacy” carriers the other of the very most visible brands in aviation. In 2015, US Airways merged?with American’s former holding company to develop the planet’s largest carrier in accordance with fleet size, destinations served and revenue.

Mile value

  • Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values AAdvantage miles for an average of two.6 cents each.
  • The affordable derives from using miles for international travel: On journey to other nations, miles are valued an average of at 5 cents each, balanced with the domestic route average 1 cent each.
  • Depending about you redeem, domestic awards values consist of 0.7 cent to.7 cents per mile, while international awards range in value from 0.8 cent per mile up to 14 cents per mile.
  • See how you will visit these figures

American could be the dominant carrier at its home airport of Dallas-Fort Worth and in addition operates hubs in Charlotte, Chicago (O’Hare), L . a ., Miami, Ny (LaGuardia and JFK), Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. (Reagan National). Today, the airline operates generally 6,700 flights on a daily basis, serving 350 cities across 50 countries.

Because of size and reach over the Oneworld alliance, our latest research suggests American AAdvantage miles are advised for international trips. When used in international airfare, miles can be worth commonly 5 cents each. Overall, AAdvantage miles are priced at 2.6 cents each, making them quite possibly the most valuable among all U.S.-based carriers.

If the house airport is an American Airlines stronghold, or you just prefer to fly the carrier regularly, you might want to look at AAdvantage frequent flyer program.

In this article

  • Earning AAdvantage miles after you fly
  • Earning AAdvantage miles by using a credit card
  • Earning AAdvantage miles through partners
  • Buying additional AAdvantage miles
  • How to redeem AAdvantage miles
  • Good redemption options
  • Bad redemption options
  • AAdvantage elite levels and benefits
  • How to earn elite status in AAdvantage
  • American Airlines transfer partners
  • Credit cards that earn AAdvantage miles
  • Methodology

How?to earn AAdvantage?miles

American Airlines’ frequent flyer program implements a currency called AAdvantage miles. You cash in on these miles while you fly on American a treadmill of the partner airlines, and you may redeem them for award flights, upgrades, car rentals, hotel stays, airport lounge access plus much more. Although they’re called “miles,” you earn them for the way much money you need to pay on tickets, not what steps you fly.

There are three primary methods to earn AAdvantage miles:

  • Spending cash on American Airlines airfare.
  • Spending cash on airfare with American’s partners.
  • Using an American-branded debit card that earns AAdvantage miles.

In general, AAdvantage miles will expire in case you go Eighteen months without earning or redeeming miles on American a treadmill of?its partner airlines. But miles earned for an American Airlines-branded credit card will valid so if you keep using the handcrafted card.

Earning AAdvantage miles while you fly

Earning on American: How many miles you’ve made for the flight relies on the amount you invested in check in (in base fare and carrier-imposed fees).?For people with AAdvantage elite status, you’ll earn additional bonus miles for ones trip.

Status level Miles earned Status bonus
AAdvantage (basic) 5 miles per $1 spent None
Gold 7 miles per $1 spent 40% bonus weighed against basic
Platinum 8 miles per $1 spent 60% bonus weighed against basic
Platinum Pro 9 miles per $1 spent 80% bonus in comparison to basic
Executive Platinum 11 miles per $1 spent 120% bonus in contrast to basic

NOTE: You get miles only on airfare and airline fees. Government-imposed taxes and fees never earn miles.

Earning on other?airlines:?American’s partner airlines in the Oneworld alliance distribute frequent flyer miles depending on which class your tickets are booked in. The cheaper economy tickets might earn 25% to 50% of flown miles, while premium economy, business-class and first-class tickets can earn 100% base miles in addition to a cabin bonus between 10% and 50%.

However, you cannot assume all routes or flights may qualify. Should you buy a flight ticket on a booking code unpublished as permitted awards, you simply will not earn any award miles for ones flight. What’s more, some routes or affiliate airlines will not earn miles. To enhance know how many miles you can actually earn with American’s Oneworld partners, look at the American website.

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Earning AAdvantage miles using a credit card

American Airlines offers co-branded bank cards through both Citi and Barclays.

Learn More NerdWallet’s favorite credit card with the AAdvantage program will be the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. It gives you:

  • 2 AAdvantage? miles for any $1 spent at gas stations.
  • 2 AAdvantage? miles for every $1 spent at restaurants.
  • 2 AAdvantage? miles for every $1 invested on eligible American Airlines purchases.

You go for an awesome sign-up bonus to start: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage? bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases while in the first A few months of account opening*

The annual fee is $0 to your 1st year, then $99 – although the checked bag benefit on this card could make up for doing this in short order. The earliest checked bag cost nothing for you and up to four others traveling with your reservation. You also get preferred boarding, to obtain on the flight relatively early in order to find space for the carry-on.

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Earning AAdvantage miles through partners

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    Buying additional AAdvantage miles

    Purchasing miles through American’s website?can perform in your favor, specifically if you have certain international awards in your mind. Playing with most cases, we recommend you stay away from buying miles, as it’s a costly strategy to accrue them.

    Miles generally cost 2.95 cents each, although American regularly offers sales that work seem to a somewhat less expensive.

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    How to redeem AAdvantage miles

    AAdvantage miles are redeemable for flights through American Airlines along with its partners in the Oneworld alliance. Generally, you?can redeem by booking through American’s website. Decide on a flight, and you will then see the cost is in cash or maybe in miles.

    Two kinds of award seats

    American Airlines offers two types of award redemptions: MileSAAver and AAnytime.

      American’s flight award?chart?indicates how many miles you’ll desire for confirmed flight.

      Special reductions for bank card holders

      If you own an American Airlines plastic card, you can find a discount of up to 7,500 miles on round-trip MileSAAver awards, depending on card and also your destination. These discounts can be found only when you book by phone. See American’s page on reduced mileage award seats.

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      Good redemption options

      • International flights: The top using American AAdvantage miles is on international flights, primarily operating class or top notch. In economy, we value AAdvantage miles in a average of 5 cents per point for international flights – so any premium-cabin flight that enable you to get at least so much value (or more) through your awards is an excellent redemption.
      • Domestic flights: Even when you won’t get yourself a great value on points for domestic flights, there are numerous situations where the time is right to apply miles. We value AAdvantage miles at?1 cent per mile for domestic flights, so whenever you can usually get the best return, it’s an effective redemption. A very use of AAdvantage miles is good for the three-class transcontinental flights between Los angeles and select West Coast cities.

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      Bad redemption options

      • Admirals Club lounge membership: When making use of your points to buy an Admirals Club membership, your value decreases immediately. Redeeming miles for a lounge membership costs 85,000 miles for just a new membership, or 75,000 miles to resume. By utilizing suggests obtain a yearlong lounge pass, your miles are merely worth 0.8 cent each. In lieu of using AAdvantage points, consider looking for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®,?whose perks include?Admirals Club membership, but remember that there’s a $450 annual fee.
      • Hotels: An excellent worse by using AAdvantage miles is booking hotels with points. In just one look for a hotel in S . f ., the power of with all the miles for a room was around 0.5 cent per mile, roughly half the value of when using the miles for domestic travel. A much better bet is usually to use hotel points or rewards earned from the cash-back credit card for hotel bookings.

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      AAdvantage program status levels

      Anyone can sign up to the AAdvantage program, but basic membership only comes with a frequent flyer number along with an account where your points accumulate. The real goodies come once you earn elite status.

      AAvantage elite levels and benefits

        Gold Platinum Platinum Pro Executive Platinum
      “Systemwide upgrades” will let you reserve a seat on the next available service level – including, you can reserve a business-class seat to your tariff of an economy ticket. “Upgrade requests,” to amass, they fit in when you buy ticket and therefore are fulfilled providing space is obtainable. No upgrades are available on Basic Economy fares.

      Main Cabin Extra seats have approximately 6 inches more legroom and are also at the cab end in the main cabin. Preferred seats have standard legroom yet are in the in the main cabin.

      Mileage bonus 40% 60% 80% 120%
      Upgrade eligibility* Free upgrades automatically requested on all flights of 500 miles or less.
      Can purchase or use miles to buy for flights over 500 miles.
      Free upgrades automatically requested on all flights of 500 miles or less.
      Can purchase or use miles to upgrade on flights over 500 miles.
      Free upgrades automatically requested on all flights. 4 systemwide upgrades each and every year, while using the possibility to earn 4 more.
      Free upgrades automatically requested on all flights.
      Free upgrades positioned on award seats, too.
      When upgrades confirmed 24 hours before departure 48 hours before departure 72 hours before departure 100 hours before departure
      Priority seating in main cabin** Preferred seats totally free.
      50% discount on Main Cabin Extra.
      Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats without cost. Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats at no cost. Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats for free.
      Free checked bags per flight 1 2 2 3

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      How to earn elite status in AAdvantage

      To earn elite status, you must understand three keyword phrases: elite qualifying dollars, elite qualifying miles and elite qualifying segments.

      Elite qualifying dollars, or EQDs for brief, are earned based on how much you spend on tickets with American and Oneworld partners (excluding government taxes and costs). Your income will alter determined by which type of service you book, and partner restrictions.

      Elite qualifying miles, or EQMs, are definitely the actual miles you fly each and every year aboard American and its Oneworld partners. They’re calculated by using the mileage of your flight and multiplying it via the fare class:

      • Full-fare first or business class: EQM = miles flown x 3.
      • Discount first or business: EQM = miles flown x 2.
      • Full-fare economy class: EQM = miles flown x 1.5.
      • Discount economy: EQM = miles flown x 1.
      • Basic economy: EQM = miles flown x 0.5.

      Your earnings are vastly different on other partner airlines, dependant on what class of service you book. View the American a website to find out more about what qualifies for elite status and in what ways it might affect your plans.

      Elite qualifying segments, or EQSs, are earned for a way many takeoff-to-landing flight segments you take. A nonstop flight from L.A. to New york city would earn one EQS – but if this is a layover in Chicago, it would be?two EQSs. To earn elite status, you’ll need a minimum volume of EQDs together with a certain quantity of EQMs or EQSs

        Gold Platinum Platinum Pro Executive Platinum
      To earn this status, you must have EQDs that is at least: $3,000 $6,000 $9,000 $15,000
      AND EITHER this many EQMs: 25,000 50,000 75,000 100,000
      OR this many EQSs: 30 60 90 120

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      American Airlines transfer partners

      In general, you can generate AAdvantage miles on flights with Oneworld partners and redeem your miles for flights on Oneworld airlines.

      Oneworld alliance members

      Oneworld partner airlines since December 2019 are:

      • British Airways.
      • Cathay Pacific.
      • Finnair.
      • Iberia.
      • Japan Airlines.
      • LATAM Airlines Brasil (formerly TAM).
      • LATAM Airlines Chile (formerly LAN).
      • Malaysia Airlines.
      • Qantas.
      • Qatar Airways.
      • Royal Jordanian Airlines.
      • S7 Airlines.
      • SriLankan Airlines.

      Other partner airlines

      On airlines away from Oneworld alliance, your capability to earn or redeem miles is a lot more limited. You will be capable of earn miles and not redeem them, one example is, otherwise you just might redeem exclusively for certain flights. Other partner airlines include:

      • Air Tahiti Nui.
      • Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air.
      • Cape Air.
      • Etihad Airways.
      • Fiji Airways.
      • Hawaiian Airlines.
      • Interjet.
      • Seaborne Airlines.

      Although?you may redeem miles for many of us of those partners on, you will have to call the airline to reserve some awards. Awards not bookable online include:

      • Cape Air.
      • Cathay Pacific.
      • Etihad Airways.
      • Gulf Air.
      • Interjet.
      • Japan Airlines.
      • Jet Airways.
      • LATAM Airlines.
      • S7 Airlines.
      • Seaborne Airlines.
      • WestJet.

      The flight award chart for partner airlines informs you of how you can earn flights on carriers apart from American cost-free.

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      Credit cards that earn AAdvantage miles

      American Airlines is unusual among U.S. airlines because there is plastic card agreements with two different issuers – a legacy of merger with U.S. Airways. Cards that earn AAdvantage miles include:

      From Citi

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

          • 2 miles for every $1 spent at gasoline stations.
          • 2 miles for any $1 spent at restaurants.
          • 2 miles per $1 devoted to eligible American Airlines purchases.
          • Annual fee: $0 with the first year, then $99.

      CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

          • 2 miles on every $1 used on eligible American Airlines purchases.
          • 2 miles on every $1 devoted to telecommunications services, rental car merchants and gas stations.
          • 1 mile per $1 spent on everything.
          • Annual fee: $0 to the fresh, then $99.

      Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

          • 2 miles on every $1 invested on eligible American Airlines purchases.
          • 1 mile per $1 devoted to everything.
          • Annual fee: $450 – not waived within the 1st year.

      American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

          • 2 miles for every $1 invested in eligible American Airlines purchases.
          • 2 miles per $1 spent at markets, including grocery delivery services.
          • 1 mile per $1 used the rest.
          • Annual fee:?$0.

      From Barclays

      AAdvantage??Aviator??Red?World Elite Mastercard??

          • 2 miles per dollar devoted to eligible American Airlines purchases.
          • 1 mile per dollar on all the purchases.
          • 10% of redeemed miles given back to you (as much as 10,000 miles each year).
          • Annual fee: $95.

      AAdvantage? Aviator? Business Mastercard?

          • 2 miles per dollar used on eligible American Airlines purchases.
          • 2 miles per dollar spent at eligible office supply, telecom and rental-car merchants.
          • 1 mile per dollar on all purchases.
          • Annual bonus of 5% within your earned miles.
          • Annual fee: $95.

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      Need more help deciding?

      We’ve covered most of the basic info on the American Airlines AAdvantage program. In case in the end you aren’t sure whether a frequent flyer program will be worth the time and effort, see our absolute beginner’s secrets for frequent flyer programs.

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      The calculated property value AAdvantage miles is dependent on around redemption rate, not debit card rewards earning rates. Therefore, possibly these numbers don’t match the rewards rates on our bank card finder tool. Read more for a way we estimated these points values.

      To determine the estimated value of AAdvantage miles, we sampled prices within cash and points between November 2019 and April 2019 for the hottest 24 one-way domestic routes flown by American, measured by passengers enplaned, depending on data from the U.S. Department of transportation. Also, we sampled prices inside cash and points in the same timeframe on 15 randomly selected international one-way routes originating in north america, selected with the carrier’s most up to date route map.

      For domestic flights, the regular value was 1 cent per mile, with values cover anything from 0.7 to one.7 cents per mile in economy. For international flights, the average value was 5 cents per mile, with values ranging from 0.8 to 14 cents per mile in economy.

      To determine value of your miles for particular flights, divide the income importance of check in (less any applicable taxes/fees when you redeem miles) via the wide variety of miles needed for the flight. Thus if the ticket would cost either $100, or 15,000 miles + $10 in taxes/fees, the maths will be these:

      ($100 C $10) / 15,000 = 0.006, or 0.6 cent per mile

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