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TravelThe best ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles

The best ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles


American Airlines AAdvantage miles are some of the most valuable U.S. airline rewards. The airline has a plethora of Oneworld and nonalliance partners, so you can redeem AAdvantage miles for travel to many destinations on various airlines. In this guide, we’ll explore the many methods for earning American Airlines AAdvantage miles toward your next redemption.

First, create a free AAdvantage account on the American Airlines website — you’ll need one before you can earn AAdvantage miles. Note that only some American Airlines miles are Loyalty Point-eligible — so check out our guide about how to earn Loyalty Points if you’re interested in earning American Airlines elite status.

Related: Your ultimate guide to American Airlines AAdvantage

Earn American miles by flying

Earning AAdvantage miles by flying may seem like it needs no explanation, but how you earn miles for flying has changed over the years. Here’s how to earn AAdvantage miles flying on American and its partners.

Flying on American Airlines

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

When flying on American Airlines, you’ll typically earn miles according to the base price of your ticket (not including taxes and fees). Your earning rate will also vary based on your AAdvantage elite status. As you’d expect, the higher your status, the more miles you’ll earn.

Here’s how many miles each status tier earns per dollar spent:

  • No status: 5 miles
  • Gold: 7 miles
  • Platinum: 8 miles
  • Platinum Pro: 9 miles
  • Executive Platinum: 11 miles

So, for an American Airlines ticket that costs $120 and includes $20 in taxes, an AAdvantage member without elite status would earn 500 miles (5 miles per dollar on the $100 base price). Meanwhile, an Executive Platinum member would earn 1,100 miles on the same ticket.

However, beware of American’s “special fares,” which earn miles at a modified rate based on a percentage of the distance flown instead of the amount paid. According to American Airlines, special fares are those booked “through a specialized agent, third party or as part of a package including air transportation and lodging.”

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Note: American announced major changes to how customers would earn frequent flyer miles, which were supposed to go into effect July 11; however, the airline has since canceled those plans.

Flying on partner airlines

When you fly with an American Airlines partner, you can earn AAdvantage miles in two ways. If the partner flight was booked through American and ticketed on American Airlines ticket stock, you’d earn miles the same as if you were flying on an American Airlines flight. This is generally the case if you book a ticket for a flight operated by a partner airline on the American Airlines website.

How you earn American miles may change when you book a ticket on a partner airline’s website and add your AAdvantage number to the reservation. For some airlines, you’ll earn miles just as you would on American-operated flights. But in some cases, you’ll earn miles based on your flight distance instead of dollars paid, with the earning rate depending on the fare class of your ticket. Here’s an example of the earning chart for Japan Airlines-operated flights:

AA.COM

You can find your fare class on your e-ticket or by calling the airline.

Once you’ve located the fare class, go to American’s list of partner airlines, click on the operating carrier of your flight and find the corresponding fare class on that list. Then, multiply the mileage flown (use Great Circle Mapper to quickly calculate the distance between two airports) by the percentage in the “Base miles” column.

If you’re flying in a premium fare class, you’ll also earn the bonus listed in the “Cabin bonus” column. And AAdvantage elite members earn more bonus miles at the following rates when flying on eligible partner airlines:

  • Gold: 40%
  • Platinum: 60%
  • Platinum Pro: 80%
  • Executive Platinum: 120%

For example, let’s say you’re a general AAdvantage member flying Japan Airlines business class in the C fare class from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). According to the above chart, you’ll earn 100% base miles plus a 150% cabin bonus. Since the flight clocks in at 5,456 miles one-way, this comes out to 13,640 AAdvantage miles earned each way. An Executive Platinum member flying on this same ticket would earn 6,547 more miles each way due to the 120% elite bonus.

Related: Quick Points: Earn American AAdvantage status and Loyalty Points quickly with Oneworld partner flights

Earn American miles through credit cards

WITTHAYA PRASONGSIN/MOMENT/GETTY IMAGES

Beyond flying, one of the easiest ways to earn American AAdvantage miles is through sign-up bonuses and spending on American Airlines cards. Citi and Barclays currently issue cobranded cards that let you earn AAdvantage miles when using your card for purchases.

Citi’s American AAdvantage portfolio is the most attractive of the two if you want to earn miles on everyday credit card spending. Here are a few options:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Earn 4 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases. Then, if you spend $150,000 on purchases in a calendar year, you’ll earn a boosted rate of 5 miles per dollar spent on American purchases for the remainder of the calendar year. (See rates and fees.)
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Plus, earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage Business™ World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening. Plus, earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases. (See rates and fees.)
  • American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®: Earn 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Plus, earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select and AAdvantage MileUp cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Barclays offers one American AAdvantage card that is currently open to new applicants:

  • AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days. Earn 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Red card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you want American Airlines status, note that miles earned from sign-up bonuses and category bonuses on spending aren’t Loyalty Point-eligible — meaning you’ll earn just 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent on any of the above credit cards.

Related: What you need to know about earning another American Airlines card sign-up bonus

Earn American miles through partners

You can also earn American miles (and even Loyalty Point-eligible miles, in some cases) through AAdvantage partners. You may earn miles through partners for activities you already do, like shopping, dining and banking.

AAdvantage eShopping mall

SRDJANNS74/GETTY IMAGES

The American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping portal awards miles on your online purchases.

Using the portal is simple: Register for a free account on the site, then click through to your merchant of choice before making a purchase. By clicking through the AAdvantage eShopping portal rather than going directly to the merchant’s website, you’ll earn AAdvantage miles on top of the rewards you’ll already earn by using a rewards credit card to make your purchase.

Related: Your guide to maximizing shopping portals for your online purchases

AAdvantage Dining

RAWPIXEL/UNSPLASH

Think of American Airlines AAdvantage Dining as a shopping portal for eating out. Just enroll using your existing AAdvantage number and password, link your favorite credit cards, and earn miles when you swipe one at participating restaurants.

You can earn:

  • 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar if you’re a basic member (i.e., you elect not to receive email communications from AAdvantage Dining)
  • 3 AAdvantage miles per dollar if you’re a Select member (become a Select member by opting in to receive emails from AAdvantage Dining)
  • 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar if you’re a VIP member (become a VIP member through the end of the next calendar year by making 11 transactions in a calendar year and electing to receive emails from AAdvantage Dining)

As with the shopping portal, the miles you earn through AAdvantage Dining are in addition to the rewards you earn on the credit card you use, so be sure to pay with one of the best cards for dining.

Related: Airline and hotel dining rewards programs: Which is best for you?

Transfer points from hotel programs

You can transfer hotel points from various programs directly to your AAdvantage account. While most offer a relatively poor value proposition, one exception is Marriott Bonvoy.

Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to American AAdvantage at a ratio of 3:1 — and unlike with most partners, you won’t earn an extra 5,000 miles for every 60,000 points you transfer. Although this transfer ratio isn’t ideal, you’ll regain some value in the process because AAdvantage miles are worth considerably more than Bonvoy points. For example, 30,000 Bonvoy points would be worth $255 at TPG’s valuation of 0.85 cents apiece. If you transferred those to AAdvantage, you’d end up with 10,000 miles at 1.7 cents each, for a total value of $170.

Related: When does it make sense to transfer Marriott points to airlines?

Hotel stays

Holiday Inn Johannesburg Airport in South Africa. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

There are several ways to earn AAdvantage miles on your hotel bookings.

The first is by booking hotels directly with Hyatt, Marriott and IHG. These brands’ loyalty programs let you earn AAdvantage miles instead of hotel points if you set your earning preference to AAdvantage miles in your member profile. You can earn American Airlines miles at the following rates:

  • Marriott Bonvoy: 1 to 2 miles per dollar spent, depending on the hotel brand
  • IHG One Rewards: 1 to 2 miles per dollar spent, depending on the hotel brand
  • World of Hyatt: 1 mile per dollar spent on qualifying Hyatt stays and experiences

Make sure to compare the number of hotel points you’d earn with the number of AAdvantage miles you’d earn before updating your earning preference. You’ll usually come out ahead when you earn hotel points instead of airline miles on hotel stays.

If you have American elite status, you can earn both Hyatt points and AAdvantage miles simultaneously. After linking your accounts, you’ll earn 1 AAdvantage mile for every dollar spent on Hyatt stays on top of the World of Hyatt points you would normally earn. For example, when TPG’s Nick Ewen paid a base rate of $152 for a one-night Hyatt stay, he took home 152 AAdvantage miles (which also counted as Loyalty Points) in addition to World of Hyatt points.

Note that World of Hyatt elite members can also earn bonus Hyatt points on American-operated flights (1 point per dollar on the base fare), on top of the AAdvantage miles they would normally earn. If you have status with both programs, it’s a great way to double dip — just make sure your accounts are linked.

Outside of the major hotel loyalty programs, you can earn AAdvantage miles on hotel stays by booking hotels through Rocketmiles. You can earn up to 10,000 miles per night, with promoted and more expensive hotels often earning the most miles. However, Rocketmiles sometimes prices hotels higher than if you booked directly. Always cross-check prices before booking a stay.

Finally, booking through AAdvantage Hotels lets you earn AAdvantage miles on hotel stays. Booking.com powers this platform, so you’ll find a variety of hotel options. You’ll earn both AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points on every stay, though the number varies by property, and American status holders and cardmembers can earn extra miles.

Related: We tested earning American Airlines miles for 3 different hotel stays — here’s what we found

Book vacation packages with American Airlines Vacations

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

You can earn miles on vacation packages by booking through American Airlines Vacations. With this platform, you can book flights, hotels and car rentals as a package and take advantage of discounted rates.

You’ll earn at least 1,000 AAdvantage miles on all packages booked through American Airlines Vacations. You can earn more miles (up to 30,000 per stay) by booking packages at featured hotels; these are updated regularly on American Airlines Vacations’ promotions page.

But remember that you likely won’t earn hotel points or get hotel elite status benefits when you book hotels through American Airlines Vacations, as you usually need to book directly with the hotel to take advantage of these benefits.

Related: Want to earn Loyalty Points? Here’s why booking through American Airlines Vacations isn’t always best

Book your cruise with American Airlines Cruises

You can earn more miles by booking a cruise with American Airlines. General AAdvantage members earn 1 mile per dollar (up to 10,000 miles per booking) on select sailings departing by Dec. 31, 2025. Best of all, this earning is Loyalty Point-eligible. AAdvantage cardholders can earn an additional 1 mile per dollar (up to 10,000 additional miles per booking), but these extra miles aren’t Loyalty Point-eligible.

Watch for promotions through American Airlines Cruises that provide extra perks like onboard credits and cabin upgrades on your sailing.

Other ways to earn miles with AAdvantage partners

This section covered just a sampling of American Airlines’ many partners. You can see the full list on American’s website, but here’s a quick glimpse at some of the other ways to earn American miles with AAdvantage partners:

  • Rental cars: You can earn AAdvantage miles with American’s car rental partners.
  • Charity: You can earn AAdvantage miles by donating to Stand Up To Cancer. When donating over $25, you’ll earn 10 miles per dollar donated to the charity, which raises funds for cancer research and awareness programs.
  • Bask Bank: Bask Bank and American Airlines have a partnership that lets AAdvantage members earn interest in the form of miles.
  • SimplyMiles: American offers a program called SimplyMiles that allows you to earn miles on everyday purchases with select merchants. To participate, you must be a U.S.-based member, enroll in the offer you want to use and pay with a linked Mastercard when making your eligible purchase.
  • Gas: When filling up at a participating Shell location, you can earn 3 AAdvantage miles per gallon of fuel through the Fuel Rewards program. Sign up and use one of the best cards for gas purchases on your next fill-up.

Bottom line

Despite not partnering with many transferable points programs, AAdvantage offers many travel partners that you can leverage to earn points on flights, hotel stays, rental cars and more. There are many other ways to earn miles, including flying, shopping, dining and spending on cobranded credit cards.

If you choose the credit card route, we recommend considering the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and the Citi / AAdvantage Business World Elite Mastercard.

And if you’re looking for ideas on redeeming American Airlines miles, check out our post on the best sweet spots in the American Airlines AAdvantage program.

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