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How to earn American Airlines miles

Save money on airfare, car rentals, hotels and more with AAdvantage miles.

Updated

Fact checked
Writer’s note: Due to the current coronavirus situation, now may not be the best time to travel. Airlines have limited their route network and the lockdown may still be in place in many locations. Despite that, we are sharing this information to help you prepare for future travel once the situation has improved.

American Airlines has one of the most robust rewards programs you can find. That’s because you have a variety of ways to stack up American Airlines miles — including traveling with American Airlines and using either a Citi AAdvantage or a Barclays Aviator credit card. But to start earning miles, you need to create an AAdvantage account first.

Earn miles with credit cards

With Citi AAdvantage credit cards and the Aviator credit card by Barclays, you can earn miles on everyday purchases made at places such as grocery stores and gas stations, plus accelerated miles on American Airlines purchases. Some cards also offer generous signup bonuses to help you earn miles more quickly.

Compare the rewards rate of all other AAdvantage credit cards, if earning as many miles as possible is your priority.

Annual feeRewardsSignup bonus
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®$0 for the first year, $99 after that
  • 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles at restaurants
  • 2x at gas stations
  • 1x on all other purchases
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 within your first 3 months
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card$0
  • 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles at grocery stores and grocery deliveries
  • 1x on all other purchases
Earn 10,000 and a 50 statement credit once you spend $500 in your first 3 months
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®$450
  • 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
  • 1x on all other purchases
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®$0 for the first year, $99 after that
  • 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers
  • 2x at gas stations and car rental services
  • 1x on all other purchases
Earn 65,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within your first 4 months
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®$95
  • 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
  • 1x on all other purchases
Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase
AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®$95
  • 2x miles on American Airlines purchases
  • 2x miles at office supply, telecom and car rental merchants
  • 1x on all other purchases
Earn 65,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in your first 90 days

Earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles when a purchase is made with an employee card

The information about American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer. The information about Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® has been collected independently by Finder and and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.

Use American Airlines co-branded credit cards to earn the highest number of AAdvantage miles on your purchases and other American Airlines perks. You can also choose hotel credit cards and transfer hotel points to American Airline miles.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases, at gas stations and restaurants and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months. All information about this card has been collected independently by Finder.
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
65,000 miles after spending $4,000 in first 4 months
2x miles on American Airlines, gas stations and select business categories and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
65,000 AAdvantage® miles after making $4,000 in purchases in first 4 months of account opening. All information about this card has been collected independently by Finder.
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
10,000 miles plus $50 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at grocery stores, 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0
Earn 10,000 American Airlines Aadvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $$500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. All information about this card has been collected independently by Finder.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
60,000 and a companion certificate after you make a purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee
2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x miles on everything else
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus miles and a companion certificate when you make a purchase in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on American Airlines and 1x miles on everything else
$450
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. All information about this card has been collected independently by Finder.
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Earn points for Million Miler status with credit cards through 2020

If you’re an AAdvantage cardholder, every dollar you spend between May 2020 and December 2020 will count toward your Million Miler status. This is excellent news, especially because you could only earn Million Miler status by flying with American Airlines.

Flying with American Airlines

Earn miles on American Airlines flights. The number of miles you earn depends on your American Airlines flight price. The more expensive your flight, the more miles you earn.

You can earn even more miles if you reach elite status. You’ll also earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs), Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) to help you climb the ladder of elite membership and unlock additional American Airlines perks.

Flying with American Airlines partners

You’re not limited to American Airlines flights to earn AAdvantage miles. You can also earn on flights with Oneworld Alliance airlines and partner airlines. This includes:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
  • Cape Air
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Fiji Airways
  • GOL Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Interjet
  • Seaborne Virgin Islands

Additional ways to earn American Airlines miles

American Airlines dining program

Earn American Airlines miles by dining at any of the 10,000 participating restaurants, bars or clubs in AAdvantage’s dining program. Simply pay with your registered card.

American Airlines shopping program

Earn American Airlines miles by shopping through the AAdvantage eShopping mall program. You can purchase merchandise at 950 stores — including Staples, Home Depot, AT&T TV and Internet and Hulu. At some stores, you’ll earn a fixed number of miles, while, at other stores, you’ll earn up to nine miles per dollar. Subscribe to the program to receive emails on promotions and to earn additional bonus miles on purchases.

Buy American Airlines miles

Buying AAdvantage miles is an option if you need a certain number of miles to redeem a reward. You can buy a minimum of 2,000 miles and a maximum of 150,000 miles valued at 2.9 cents each upon purchase or 1.5 cents each upon redemption, according to American Airlines as of 2019.

Buying miles could be worth it as the value of purchased American Airlines miles could be close to the value of redeemed miles with certain offers. For example, a special offer may afford you 120,000 bonus miles when buying 150,000 miles valid until a specified date.

Earn with travel partners

You can also earn American Airlines miles by booking cruises or American Airlines vacation packages. If you prefer hotel stays, you can earn additional miles at partner hotels including:

  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • InterContinental Hotels
  • Rocketmiles
  • American Airlines Hotels
  • Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  • PointsHound
  • Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
Another way to earn American Airlines miles is with partner car rental companies:
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Payless
  • Alamo
  • National
  • Dollar
  • Hertz
  • Thrifty

Loyalty program AAdvantage elite status tiers

When you purchase an American Airlines ticket, you can upgrade to an AAdvantage elite status by earning:

QualificationExecutive PlatinumPlatinum ProPlatinumGold
oneworld® Emeraldoneworld® Sapphireoneworld® Sapphireoneworld® Ruby
EQMs100,00075,00050,00025,000
EQSs120906030
EQDs$15,000$9,000$6,000$3,000

What are the benefits of the AAdvantage elite status tiers?

mileage bonuses chart

upgrades chart

benefits at the airport chart

Bottom line

American Airlines offers a variety of ways to earn AAdvantage miles. But the fastest and easiest way to accumulate miles is to get a cobranded credit card and to fly often with American Airlines.

Compare your options until you find the best card for your financial needs. Try a general travel card or a cobranded airline credit card for different choices. And once you’ve built enough miles, compare your redemption options to find out which offer the best value.

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