Airline Rewards Programs

American Airlines – AAdvantage Rewards Program Overview

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Miles Junkie is supported by you, our readers, and this article may have references to products from one or more of our advertising partners. When you click on links to products we may receive compensation. For a more in-depth explanation visit our Advertising Policy.

American Airlines rewards program, AAdvantage Loyalty Points Rewards, will enable you to earn miles on your AA travels and allow for various ways to redeem miles for upgrades, hotels, car rentals, and other perks. This article breaks down the AAdvantage Loyalty Points Rewards program as well as highlights ways to accumulate miles.

AAdvantage Program

Enrolling in the American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty program allows you to earn miles and Loyalty Points when you fly American, oneworld airlines and other participating partners. You’ll also earn miles and Loyalty Points for credit card spend and shopping with partners. Miles and Loyalty Points are earned based on how much you spend on airfare, fare class and your status in the program. If you climb American Airlines status levels ladder, you will earn bonus miles on your flights and other perks.

  • Base level members earn 5 miles per dollar on all American Airlines fares except Basic Economy fares, which earn 2 miles per dollar.
  • Earning miles with American partner airlines associated with the oneworld Alliance and additional airlines partners is based on the class your ticket is booked. Typically economy tickets will get you 20-40% miles earned and premium, business and first class will fetch you 100% miles earned on purchases.
  • Additional bonus miles can be earned on your airline purchases through various credit card options American Airlines offers.
  • Points expire if there is no activity in your account for 24 months. Note that if your points have expired, you may have the chance to re-activate them for a fee of about 1.5 cents per mile.

What American Says About Sustainability

“To address climate change, American continues to strive to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 by running a more fuel-efficient operation, with more fuel-efficient aircraft, powered by low-carbon fuel. In April 2022, we became the first airline in the world to receive validation from the Science Based Targets initiative that our intermediate emissions-reduction target complies with its rigorous criteria. In 2021, we used over 1.4 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), making us the only airline in the United States to report using more than 1 million gallons of SAF. We also finalized agreements that bring our total SAF purchase commitment to date to over 120 million gallons.”
— Robert Isom, Chief Executive Officer
June, 2022

Read more about American’s sustainability efforts here.

Partner Airlines

oneworld Airlines
Alaska AirlinesFinnairMalaysia AirlinesRoyal Air Maroc
British AirwaysIberiaQuantas AirwaysRoyal Jordanian Airlines
Cathay PacificJapan AirlinesQatar AirwaysSriLankan Airlines
Other Airline Partners
Air Tahiti NuiEtihad AirwaysGOL AirlinesJetBlue
Cape AirFiji AirwaysHawaiian AirlinesSilver Airways
China Southern AirlinesIndiGo

American’s US-Based Hub Cities

Charlotte (CLT), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Dallas – Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK & LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), and Washington Regan (DCA).

Choosing an airline that has its hub near you can save you time and money. Flying out of a hub drastically reduces the need for layovers, saving you time due to the increased availability of direct flights. Furthermore, you may find lower fares on both the hub airline and rival airlines who sometimes try to woo your business away from the main hub airline. Due to the higher concentration of routes served, it’s often convenient to consider hubs in your airline choice. You’ll also want to consider an airline’s alliance and partners if you often travel internationally. American is a member of the oneworld alliance.

AAdvantage Status

American Airlines offers four AAdvantage status tier levels to its members. Since shifting from counting miles flown, dollars spent on flights and flight segments — to earning status through Loyalty Points, there have also been a number of milestones added to the Status levels where you’ll earn additional benefits or perks. Below we explain how to climb this status ladder, benefits and perks offered with each status level.  The amount of Loyalty Points you earn in a 12 month period will determine your status level starting March 1st of each year. You will earn loyalty points as you earn eligible AAdvantage miles whenever you fly, use an AAdvantage credit card or through American Airlines partners such as AAdvantage eShopping and AAdvantage Dining. Earning one eligible AAdvantage mile means also earning one Loyalty Point.

AAdvantage Gold

Gold level offered through American Airlines requires you to accumulate 40,000 loyalty points. Benefits are as follows:

  • Complimentary upgrades on American and select Alaska Airlines flights
  • 24 hour upgrade window (priority is based on your Loyalty Point total within your tier)
  • Earn 40% status mileage bonus on flight purchases
  • Complimentary main cabin extra seats at check in (if available)
  • Complimentary preferred seats (if available)
  • 1 free checked bag for you and companions on the same itinerary.
  • Priority lane access at check-in, security and boarding
  • oneworld Ruby status

AAdvantage Gold — 60,000 Loyalty Point Level

  • Avis Preferred status when renting with Avis
  • 20% bonus on purchases with American’s partners such as AAdvantage Dining, AA Vacations, and eShopping.

AAdvantage Platinum

The second status level offered includes all of the Gold level perks in addition to those below. In order to achieve this status level you need to bank 75,000 loyalty points. Benefits include:

  • Priority privileges and Group 3 boarding
  • 48 hour upgrade window (priority is based on your Loyalty Point total within your tier)
  • Earn 60% status mileage bonus on flight purchases
  • Complimentary main cabin extra and preferred seats
  • 2 free checked bags, and priority handling (so they theoretically arrive first at baggage claim)
  • Same-day standby priority
  • oneworld Sapphire status

Advantage Platinum — 100,000 Loyalty Point Level

  • Avis President’s Club status
  • 30% bonus points on partner purchases

AAdvantage Platinum Pro

The third status level, Platinum Pro, requires 125,000 loyalty points earned. Benefits include:

  • Priority privileges and Group 2 boarding.
  • 72 hour upgrade window (priority is based on your Loyalty Point total within your tier)
  • Earn 80% status mileage bonus on flight purchases
  • Complimentary main cabin extra and preferred seats
  • 3 free checked bags
  • Free same-day flight changes
  • 5 miles and Loyalty Points per dollar earned with Avis
  • 1 mile and Loyalty Point per dollar on qualifying World of Hyatt stays
  • oneworld Emerald status

AAdvantage Platinum Pro 175,000 Loyalty Point Level (Choice of 1 below)

  • 2 Systemwide upgrade certificates (the first level where these are earned)
  • 20,000 bonus miles (25,000 if you’re an AAdvantage credit cardholder)
  • 6 Admirals Club one-day passes
  • 2 gifts of AAdvantage Gold status
  • Carbon offset
  • 15% award rebate
  • $200 trip credit ($250 if you’re an AAdvantage credit cardholder)
  • $250 donation to a select non-profit
  • Coming Soon: 35,000 miles to use toward a MasterCard Priceless experience.
If you choose carbon offset:

American, in partnership with nonprofit Cool Effect, will purchase carbon offsets equivalent to the AAdvantage member’s travel during the year the benefit is selected.

If you choose a charitable donation the charities include:

American Red Cross, Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Feeding America, Gary Sinise Foundation, George W. Bush Institute, Make-A-Wish, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Stand Up 2 Cancer, UNICEF.

AAdvantage Executive Platinum

This is the fourth and final status level. In order to qualify for this status level you will need to earn 200,000 Loyalty Points. Benefits beyond those of Platinum Pro include:

  • Priority privileges and Group 1 boarding
  • 100 hour upgrade window (priority is based on your Loyalty Point total within your tier)
  • Earn 120% status mileage bonus on flights

AAdvantage Executive Platinum 250,000 Loyalty Point Level (Choice of 2)

  • 2 Systemwide upgrade certificates
  • 20,000 bonus miles (30,000 if you’re an AAdvantage credit cardholder)
  • 6 Admirals Club one-day passes
  • Admirals Club membership (requires both choices)
  • 1 Flagship Lounge single visit pass (2 passes for AAdvantage credit cardholders)
  • 2 gifts of AAdvantage Gold status
  • Carbon offset
  • 15% award rebate
  • $200 trip credit ($250 if you’re an AAdvantage credit cardholder)
  • $250 donation to a select non-profit
  • Bang & Olufsen product reward (requires both choices)
  • Coming Soon: 35,000 miles to use toward a Mastercard Priceless experience.

400,000, 550,000 and 750,000 Loyalty Point Level (Choice of 2)

At the 400k, 550k, and 750k Loyalty Point levels the choices are the same as the 250k level except for:

  • The 2 systemwide upgrade certificates are reduced to 1 per choice
  • Bonus miles are at 25,000 with no credit cardholder boost
  • Gifting status moves to 1 gift of Platinum level status
  • Flagship lounge choice includes 2 passes whether you’re a cardholder or not
  • 1 Flagship First Dining visit pass has been added as a choice

1 Million, 3 Million and 5 Million Loyalty Point Level (Choice of 1)

At each of these levels you receive only 1 choice, but they’re good ones:

  • Systemwide Upgrades (4 at 1MM, 6 at 3MM and 10 @ 5MM)
  • Carbon Offset
  • Gift AAdvantage Platinum Pro status (1MM), or Executive Platinum (3MM & 5MM)
  • Varying number of miles back on reward redemptions
  • Varying number of miles to use toward a Mastercard Priceless experience
American Airline Admiral’s Club enterance – Photo courtesy of American Airlines

Earning With Partners

AAdvantage Dining

AAdvantage Dining gives you the ability to earn miles while dining out at select restaurants, bars and clubs. You will earn AAdvantge miles for every dollar you spend. Also American Airlines throws in an addition perk that allows you to earn 500 miles when you sign up and another 500 bonus miles if you spend $25 in your first 30 days.

Shopping Partners

Earn miles while shopping at over 1200 online stores with AAdvantage eShopping. There is also a Chrome extension that you can install in your Chrome browser to ensure that even when you do not go to the eShopping website before your purchases, you’ll earn your miles and apply any available coupons.

You can also earn with Simply Miles. Open to all AAdvantage members with a Mastercard.

Hotel Partners

Earn 1 mile per dollar on World of Hyatt stays. (link accounts to earn in addition to Hyatt points)

Marriott Bonvoy – earn 2 miles per dollar spent on qualifying charges. (Earn instead of Bonvoy points)

Earn by booking through AA’s hotel booking portal, powered by Booking.com – https://www.bookaahotels.com

Car Rental Partners

Other Partners

Fuel Rewards from Shell

H&R Block – earn up to 2,000 miles.

NRG – Limited Time Offer: Switch to NRG & earn up to 15,000 initial bonus miles plus ongoing miles.

Xoom Energy – Earn up to 10,000 miles after 2 months and 2 miles per dollar on the supply portion of your bill.

Redeeming for Flights

American has a hybrid awards chart / dynamic pricing model, which means they price their awards dynamically but you won’t find them at a lower price than on the chart. That can be helpful when trying to determine if you’re getting a good deal for an award, but doesn’t help you plan too much in advance when trying to figure out how many miles you’ll need for that dream trip. Here is their chart with “starting at” award levels. And even with these levels set on the chart, it’s still possible in rare cases, to find rewards at lower-than-chart prices.

Region:Main Cabin starting at:Premium Economy starting at:Business / First starting at:
Contiguous 48 U.S. states + Canada7,50015,000
Mexico + Caribbean + Central America10,00020,000
South America – Short Haul15,00030,000
Hawaii + Alaska20,00040,00060,000
Europe25,00050,00075,000
South America – Long Haul30,00060,00090,000
Asia + Middle East + South Pacific35,00060,00095,000
source: aa.com

Keep in mind that many times, as with most US legacy carriers, you’re going to find better deals when booking with one of their partner airlines. So be sure to keep an eye out for those, which most of the time you can book directly on aa.com (with the exception of Etihad seats, so search on Etihad.com and call American to book).

Final Thoughts

AAdvantage has changed their program this year to both cheers and boos due to the expansion of some rewards, changes in elite status levels/rewards and the way status is achieved. The ability to earn status through non-flying activities such as shopping, credit card spend, and other partners is key to your ability to level up through the elite levels and earn coveted perks like upgrades, club access, systemwide upgrade certs, and the ability to gift status. But note that Million Miler status is still tracked according to the number of miles you fly – so Loyalty Point earning doesn’t change that program.

AA has some pretty good redemption options – especially for international itineraries. Keep an eye out for business class flight to Africa, Asia and the Middle East on oneworld partner airlines, which can all be found at the 80k or lower level (one-way). And business on AA itself to Europe can often be found for ~ 60k miles each way in business.

If you play your spending right and fly with AA & partners, the new Loyalty Point based AAdvantage program may just be the right one for you as other mainline airlines do not generally provide the flexibility to earn elite status through so many non-flying activities and spending.

Editorial Note: Information and opinions articulated in this article are solely those of the author’s, not those of a credit card company, bank, airline or hotel chain. This article has not been reviewed or approved by or otherwise endorsed by any of these companies or organizations.

Tal-ee is a co-founder and Editor in Chief of Miles Junkie. A skier, backpacker and veteran marathoner, you'll usually find him on a trail, a mountain or cranking away at the keyboard. Tal-ee holds a degree from Colgate University in English, with emphasis in creative writing.

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x