Best Ways to Earn American Airlines AAdvantage Miles


Transfer Partners

Marriott is the only main transfer partner of American Airlines with a 3 to 1 American point transfer ratio. You can also get an additional 5,000 airline points bonus if you transfer in increments of 60,000 Marriott points. (e.g., 60,000 Marriott points become 25,000 airline points, whereas if you only transfer 59,000 Marriott points, you would only get 19,667 airline points)


Flying on American and Partners

Flying on American: American follows a revenue-based system. The number of points you get via flying is equal to the (cash price – taxes) multiplied by a certain multiple based on Elite Status. If you have no elite status, it is 5 x cash price of the flight. For Elite members, it is 7x for Gold, 8x for Platinum, 9x for Platinum Pro, and 11x for Executive Platinum. You can find the breakdown of the fare price and the taxes on your final checkout screen on AA.com.

Maximum Earn Rate: You can only earn a maximum of 75,000 points per ticket, which doesn’t effect 99% of people, because you would have to spend $15,000 on a ticket for a base member or $6,800 on a ticket if you were Executive Platinum. 

Special Fares: If you redeemed points and booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, Amex Membership Rewards Portal, or Citi ThankYou portal, your ticket earns at the special fare rate. For cheap and long flights, you actually earn more points and Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) than booking directly with American Airlines. (e.g. a $500 Chicago to Tokyo flight deal booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards would net you 6,275 American points vs. only 2,500 points booking directly with American.)

Flying on OneWorld and Other Partners– You can see the accrual tables here. I recommend using website WheretoCredit if you want to compare multiple programs when flying on a specific airline.


Credit Cards

Citi Platinum Select

Personal Application Link (Target: 60,000; Current: 50,000)

Business Application Link (Target: 60,000; Current: 70,000)

Annual Fee: $99 for personal, waived the first year. $95 for Business, waived the first year. 

Personal Earning: 2x on American Airlines, restaurants, and gas; and 1x everywhere else.

Business Earning: 2x on American Airlines, gas, telecommunications, and rental cars; and 1x everywhere else.

Personal Benefits: First checked bag free (plus up to four companions), Group 5 boarding (out of 9 groups), reduced mileage awards, 10% miles back each calendar year for redemptions (up to 10,000 miles), 25% in-flight savings, $100 American Airlines credit if you spend $20,000, and secondary rental car insurance.

Business Benefits: First checked bag free, Group 5 boarding (out of 9 groups), reduced mileage awards,  $99 companion certificate when you spend $30,000 in a card member year; 120-day purchase protection, secondary rental car insurance

 

Citi Executive World Elite

Application Link (Target: 75,000; Current: 50,000)

Annual Fee: $450

Earning: 2x on American Airlines, and 1x everywhere else.

Benefits: Admirals Club Access (even for Authorized Users, plus two free guests), free checked bag, Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit, 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles when you spend $40,000, no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation insurance, lost baggage protection, 120-day purchase protection.

Note: Authorized users are free and you up to 10. Each Authorized user can bring in two guests, so up to 33 people can access the Admirals Club from one account. Since authorized users also get access to the Admirals Club, this makes this card worthy of the $450 annual fee if your family, friends, and you fly regularly. I do advise you place a limit on spending for authorized users because you are responsible for their spending (e.g. call Citi and place a max limit of $25 per authorized user card). 

Citi MileUp

Application Link (Target: 10,000 + $50; Current: 10,000 + $50)

Annual Fee: $0

Earning: 2x at grocery stores and American Airlines; 1x everywhere else. 

Benefits: 25% on in-flight drink and snack purchases

 

Barclays Aviator

Application Link (Target: 60,000; Current: 60,000) (only need to make one purchase for bonus)

Annual Fee: $95

Earning: 2x on American Airlines and 1x everywhere else

Benefits: 10% miles back on award redemptions (up to 10,000), free first checked bag and preferred boarding for yourself and four companions on same itinerary, 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage, no foreign transaction fees, reduced mileage awards, extended warranty, and purchase, price, and return protection.

 


Barclays Aviator Business

Application Link

  • Target Bonus: 50,000 American Airlines Miles
  • Current: 60,000 American Airlines Miles

Annual Fee: $95

Earning American Airlines Miles

  • 2x miles at American Airlines, office supply, telecom, and car rental
  • 1x miles everywhere else. 
  • Plus 5% mileage bonus on account anniversary

Aviator Business Card Benefits

  • Free checked bag for up to four companions
  • 25% on in-flight purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • No foreign transactions
  • $99 companion certificate if you spend more than $30,000 a year

Non-U.S. Citizens: You can find American Airline’s international credit cards here


Other Ways

You can earn points doing everyday things such as:

Hotel Portals: RocketMilesPoints Hound, and Kaligo (you forgo hotel points and elite benefits for airline points).

Buying Points: American will routinely run points buying promotions. You can buy up to 150,000 points per year. However, you should only buy points when they are below our Points Valuation