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Best American Airlines Credit Cards of October 2022 (Updated Monthly)

Best American Airlines Credit Cards of October 2022 (Updated Monthly)

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is the best American Airlines credit card — it offers AAdvantage miles on everyday purchases as well as valuable airline benefits like free checked bags.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

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American Airlines frequent flyers should consider applying for one of the airline's co-branded credit cards to accelerate miles earnings (and earn more loyalty points) since American Airlines cards — unlike most co-branded airline cards — offer a pretty generous earning rate.

Signing up for the right American Airlines card could also get you valuable airline perks, such as:

  • Preferred boarding status
  • Free checked luggage
  • Lounge access
  • Fast track to elite status

Apply for a non-co-branded card if you want more flexible rewards that you can still use toward American Airlines flights.

Compare the best American Airlines credit cards of 2022

Card
Welcome Offer
Credit Needed
Annual Fee
Best overall
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Citi<sup>®</sup> / AAdvantage<sup>®</sup> Platinum Select<sup>®</sup> World Elite Mastercard<sup>®</sup>
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening660 - 850$99, waived for first 12 months
Not available on ValuePenguin
Best overall (runner-up)
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.660 - 850$99
Not available on ValuePenguin
No annual fee
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
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 opening660 - 850$0
Apply Now
On Citibank's Secure Website
Compare all cards

Best American Airlines credit card overall (co-branded)

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

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

$99, waived for first 12 months

18.99% - 27.99% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
First year card value: $741.93
  • Free checked bag for cardholder and up to four companions on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Preferred boarding
  • $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases in a year
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases

Pros

  • Builds Loyalty Points to earn AAdvantage status
  • Generous sign-up bonus
  • Bonus miles on dining and gas
  • Good airline perks
  • Preferred boarding
  • American Airlines flight discount
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Regular purchases only accrue 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Low rewards value

We consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® to be the best all-around American Airlines credit card because of its generous sign-up bonus and solid ongoing rewards program. This card offers the best miles-earning potential, with bonus miles on gas station and restaurant purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases.


Runner-up: Best American Airlines credit card (co-branded)

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

Earn 60,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.

$99

18.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24%

660 - 850

  • Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in full, both within the first 90 days.
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back (10,000 miles maximum per calendar year)
  • Earn 2X AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1X AAdvantage® miles on all other purchases
  • Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars after spending $25,000 on purchases each calendar year
  • Receive 25% inflight savings on food and beverages
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • First checked bag free for the primary cardmember and up to 4 companions on eligible bags
First year card value: $688.80
  • Companion certificate for $99 (plus taxes and fees) each year you spend $20,000 on the card
  • Free checked bag for cardholder and up to four companions on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Preferred boarding
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • Up to $25 credit for in-flight Wi-Fi each year

Pros

  • Builds Loyalty Points to earn AAdvantage status
  • Sign-up bonus is easy to earn
  • Good airline perks
  • Introductory offer for balance transfers
  • Earn a companion certificate each year you spend $20,000
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • No earning bonus categories outside of purchases made with the airline
  • Low rewards value

The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is a solid AAdvantage card for American Airlines customers. The card comes with one of the easiest sign-up bonuses to qualify for. Just make any purchase and pay the card's fee, and you'll earn bonus miles worth enough to cover a free flight or two. However, it's out-earned by the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, which provides more categories to earn bonus miles.


Best American Airlines credit card with no annual fee (co-branded)

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

On Citibank's Secure Website

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

$0

18.99% - 27.99% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • 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
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
First year card value: $329.34

25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases.

Pros

  • Builds Loyalty Points to earn AAdvantage status
  • $0 annual fee
  • Double miles on grocery purchases
  • Savings on in-flight food and drinks
  • Low spending requirement for welcome bonus

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fees
  • No free checked bag
  • No priority boarding
  • No earnings bonus on non-AA travel purchases
  • Low rewards value

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is the top AAdvantage card for customers searching for a $0-annual-fee airline card. It's actually one of the few airline co-branded cards on the market to not charge an ongoing membership fee. While frequent flyers won't get the same level of perks they would with an annual fee card, the card's generous grocery bonus stands out in the realm of no-annual-fee airline cards.


Best American Airlines credit card for lounge access (co-branded)

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

On Citibank's Secure Website

Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

$450

18.99% - 27.99% (Variable)

660 - 850

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® Bonus Miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
First year card value: $237.80
  • Admirals Club access
  • Free checked bag for cardholder and up to eight companions on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Group 4 Priority boarding for cardholder and up to eight companions
  • Priority check-in and screening (where available) for cardholder and up to eight companions
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases

Pros

  • Build Loyalty Points to earn AAdvantage status
  • Admirals Club membership (valued at $650)
  • Excellent airline perks (for up to eight companions)
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $450 annual fee
  • Disappointing earning rate
  • Low rewards value

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the best American Airlines travel credit card for the American Airlines frequent flyer who wants lounge access and premium American Airlines AAdvantage card benefits. The card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, but it also grants cardholders access to the Admirals Club (a $650 value). Admirals Club gives you access to airport lounges with complimentary snacks, drinks, shower suites and business centers.


Best American Airlines credit card for business (co-branded)

CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

Generic art
Not available on ValuePenguin

Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

$99, waived for first 12 months

18.24% to 27.24% based on your creditworthiness

720 - 850

  • Designed for businesses
  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
First year card value: $862.98
  • Companion certificate good for a guest for $99 (plus taxes and fees) each year you spend $30,000 on the card
  • Free checked bag for cardholder and up to four companions on domestic American Airlines flights
  • Preferred boarding
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • 25% discount on in-flight Wi-Fi

Even if you don't spend enough to earn the certificate, there are other valuable benefits the card allows you to take advantage of, such as preferred boarding and free checked bags.

Pros

  • Build Loyalty Points to earn AAdvantage status
  • Earn a large sign-up bonus
  • 2X miles on a variety of purchases
  • Good airline perks
  • Employee cards
  • 0% foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Regular purchases only accrue 1 mile per $1 spent
  • Low rewards value

The CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® is the best American Airlines credit card for businesses that frequently travel with the airline. That's because it awards miles for a wide variety of purchases, making it a highly versatile card for any business. Another lucrative perk: You can get authorized user cards for your employees, and their purchases will earn you miles, too.


Best American Airlines credit card for luxury perks

The Platinum Card® from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

$695

See Pay Over Time APR

660 - 850

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
First year card value: $1,746.93

No airline-specific benefits

Pros

  • Earns Amex Membership Rewards®
  • Large welcome offer
  • Earns valuable and flexible Membership Rewards® points
  • Use points for AA fare
  • Luxury travel benefits — airport lounge access, hotel elite status and more
  • Tons of valuable credits that can easily cover the annual fee
  • Foreign transaction fees: None

Cons

  • $695 annual fee
  • Low earning rate outside of travel purchases
  • Credits can be difficult to use

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a fantastic non-co-branded card for frequent American Airlines flyers because it earns flexible Membership Rewards® points which can be used towards American Airlines flights, or for any of the American Express travel partners. This card charges a hefty $695 annual fee, but those looking for luxury benefits will likely find the benefits to be worth it. The welcome offer alone can be extremely lucrative when transferred to Amex loyalty partners.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

Note: Unlike typical credit cards, The Platinum Card® from American Express allows you to carry a balance on some charges, but not all.


Best American Airlines credit card with flexible points

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

$550

19.24% - 26.24% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
First year card value: $1,187.73

No airline-specific benefits

Pros

  • Earns valuable and flexible Chase Membership Rewards® points
  • Use points for AA fare
  • Transfer points to many airline programs (not AA)
  • Annual $300 travel credit
  • Complimentary lounge access through Priority Pass™ Select membership
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck®/NEXUS fee credit
  • Excellent travel insurance protection
  • Points worth 50% more when redeemed through Chase Travel
  • Foreign transaction fees: $0

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • $75 authorized user fee
  • Lower earning rates on airfare and dining than other premium cards

If you’re not devoted to American Airlines and you’re looking for the card that can give you the most miles toward American Airlines flights, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® may be the best way to go. The card offers a 3X bonus on dining and travel (including American Airlines purchases). You can redeem those points for American Airlines flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal to get a 50% redemption bonus (making your points worth 1.5 cents apiece). The card comes with a $550 annual fee, but its benefits outweigh that fee, such as a $300 annual travel credit that applies to most travel purchases (including American Airlines flights).


Runner-up: American Airlines credit card with flexible points

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

$95

18.24% - 25.24% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
First year card value: $1,553.86

No airline-specific benefits

Pros

  • Earns valuable and flexible Chase Membership Rewards® points
  • Earns valuable and flexible Membership Rewards® points
  • Transfer points to many airline programs (not AA)
  • $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® hotel credit
  • 10% anniversary points boost
  • Excellent travel insurance protection
  • Points worth 25% more when redeemed through Chase Travel
  • $0 foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Lackluster 2x earning for travel purchases among similar products

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is another great choice for consumers looking to earn flexible points which they can use towards American Airlines purchases or elsewhere. For a moderate annual fee, this card offers a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® hotel credit, $0 foreign transaction fees and a 10% anniversary points boost to help you fund your next trip. Your points are also worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.


Best American Airlines credit card for everyday spending

American Express® Gold Card

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

$250

18.99%-25.99% Variable

660 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • Updated $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
First year card value: $1,469.52

No airline-specific benefits

Pros

  • Earns Amex Membership Rewards®
  • High earning rate on dining and U.S. supermarkets
  • Earns valuable and flexible Membership Rewards® points
  • Use points for AA fare
  • Generous dining and Uber benefits
  • Foreign transaction fees: None

Cons

  • $250 high annual fee
  • Travel bonus spending category is limited to select flights
  • No trip insurance

The American Express® Gold Card can be incredibly lucrative for consumers who make the American Express® Gold Card their primary card for everyday use. This card lets you Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply. These points can be used for flights on American Airlines as well as other airline programs.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here

Note: Unlike typical credit cards, the American Express® Gold Card allows you to carry a balance on some charges, but not all.

Co-branded American Airlines credit cards

If you frequently fly on American Airlines, choosing an American Airlines travel credit card can definitely be worth it. Think of benefits like free checked bags, priority boarding and cash back on in-flight purchases. These perks alone can make your travel experience much more convenient and will end up saving you tons of money long term.

— Sophia Mendel, ValuePenguin's travel expert

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As noted above, a free membership into the Admirals Club is worth up to $650, as it gets you access into American Airlines Admirals Club locations around the world. This benefit is only available with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

Enjoying a little VIP treatment and convenience can be something valuable if you’re a frequent flyer. Being a cardholder will unlock access to this perk, with the more elite cards putting you closer to the front of the line.

This benefit can save you a lot of money if you fly frequently with a checked bag. Since the airline charges $30 domestic for the first checked bag and the card allows you to waive this fee for yourself and up to four travel companions, every time you use the perk you’re saving $150. Note that this benefit is not offered on the $0-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

Those who do a lot of air travel know that getting Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® can save a lot of time and help you speed through the check-in process. And if you can get it for free, as you can with this card, then it’s even better. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® offers this credit once every five years (up to $100).

Saving money when traveling with a guest is another common benefit of airline credit cards. The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® provides a yearly certificate as long as you meet certain spending requirements.

Travel tip: In-flight offers sometimes come with a larger sign-up bonus than the one offered through the issuer’s website, so this can be a good opportunity to sign up for a co-branded card. Just make sure you consider the following before you turn in that credit card application:

  • Is the in-flight offer at least on par with the public offer?
  • Is the card the best fit for you?
  • If you’re hoping to snag the sign-up bonus — do you actually qualify for the bonus? (Read the fine print.)
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How much are American Airlines points worth?

By our estimates, AAdvantage miles value around 1 cent per mile. However, the value varies depending on how you use your miles.

You can get much higher values than this with MileSAAver Off Peak awards (when you can find them) while AAnytime awards may offer a lower value than this (because they trade value for flexibility). Also, though you can redeem AAdvantage miles for merchandise and gift cards, you’ll find that you generally get less than 1 cent per mile on these redemptions.

Miles value of an American Airlines flight = Flight cash price (minus taxes and fees) / Number of miles needed for flight

How many AAdvantage miles do you need for a free flight?

The number of AAdvantage miles required for an award flight varies widely, depending on the type of fare, origin, destination — and whether you’re able to find a deal. For example, we’ve found Web Special Awards for as little 5,000 miles each way recently. On the other hand, international flights in first class can cost hundreds of thousands of miles. Here are some sample fares for different fare types on American Airlines (see the American Airlines miles chart for a full list of awards).

Fare type
Synopsis
MileSAAver Off PeakDiscounted awards during defined off-peak times of the year. 22,500 miles between U.S.-Europe
MileSAAverThe traditional saver award rate. 30,000 miles between U.S.-Europe
AAnytime Level 1The first level of "AAnytime" awards. 47,500 miles between U.S.-Europe
AAnytime Level 2The highest published level of AAnytime awards. 65,000 miles between U.S.-Europe

How to fast track AAdvantage status

Earn Loyalty Points multiple ways

Fly with American Airlines and AAdvantage partners

  1. Fly
  2. Make purchases with an AAdvantage® credit card
  3. Earn eligible miles with AAdvantage® partners

Earn Loyalty Points multiple ways

  1. Fly
  2. Make purchases with an AAdvantage® credit card
  3. Earn eligible miles with AAdvantage® partners

Fly with American Airlines and AAdvantage partners

Elevate the rate at which you earn miles per dollar spent by flying with the American Airlines network to accumulate points more quickly. Prioritize earning status tier one, AAdvantage Gold, and work your way up from there.
Status tier
Earning rate ?
Increase in earning potential
AAdvantage® Member*Earns 5 miles per dollarNo additional miles earned for membership
Tier 1: AAdvantage Gold®Earns 7 miles per dollar40% bonus
Tier 2: AAdvantage Platinum®Earns 8 miles per dollar60% bonus
Tier 3: AAdvantage Platinum Pro®Earns 9 miles per dollar80% bonus
Tier 4: AAdvantage Executive Platinum®Earns 11 miles per dollar120% bonus

*not considered status

How to maximize American Airlines credit cards

Use your card for gas, grocery and American Airlines purchases

You should check the earning rate on the card, but some AAdvantage cards earn 2X miles on these purchases — a great way to stack up AAdvantage miles on major expenses.

Use your card when you fly domestically on American Airlines to save on luggage (if it’s an annual fee card)

Since the annual fee AAdvantage cards offers free checked luggage for up to four people on your itinerary, this can save you $100 or more each way. (This is a key benefit of the cards!) Note, the benefit doesn’t apply to international flights, so you might use another card when traveling overseas.

Link your card to the AAdvantage dining program to earn bonus miles at some restaurants

You can earn an additional 2x miles on your purchases.

Use your card for all in-flight purchases on American Airlines

If you opt to purchase an in-flight cocktail, be sure to reach for your co-branded AAdvantage card — you’ll score a huge 25% savings.

Add the American Airlines shopping button to your web browser

You’ll earn extra AAdvantage miles on top of your card rewards for online purchases at participating merchants through American Airlines’ shopping portal.

How to choose an American Airlines credit card

Which benefits are you likely to use?

One of the main reasons to get a co-branded AAdvantage card is for the airline perks. The more often you fly with American Airlines, the more you can use those benefits and the more valuable the card will be. On the other hand, if you rarely fly with American Airlines, or you are unlikely to use the airline perks, a general travel card is probably the better way to go. Here are the key benefits to consider:

  • First checked bag free — This can save you hundreds of dollars each year if you fly American frequently.
  • Preferred/Priority boarding — If you care about being front of the line on your flights, Preferred and Priority boarding can be another good reason to own an AAdvantage card.
  • Lounge access — Admirals Club membership (which comes with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®) can make your wait for your next flight much more pleasant, but the benefit only makes sense if you often travel through airports with Admirals Clubs.

Which earning categories match your spending patterns?

If you’re trying to use your credit card spend to rack up AAdvantage miles, you should select a card that offers bonuses where you tend to spend most heavily. Also, if you rarely purchase airfare with American Airlines, you might consider a card with a bonus on general travel purchases, rather than just American Airlines.

AAdvantage card bonus categories

AA airfare
Restaurants
Gas
Groceries
General travel
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Which card has the most valuable sign-up bonus?

You should take a close look at each card’s sign-up bonus, since this can be a quick way to earn an award flight on American Airlines. Some things to consider when evaluating the bonus:

  • How do the value of the miles compare to other card’s bonuses? (Consider the value of their points/miles when redeemed for AAdvantage airfare.)
  • Can you meet the spending threshold?
  • Do you meet the eligibility requirements? (Read the offer terms carefully. You may not qualify if you have owned other AAdvantage cards.)
  • How does the value of the bonus compare to the annual fee? (You might go for a lower annual fee card if you’re strictly interested in earning miles.)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card currently lets you Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel. This is one of the more valuable offers of the cards on this page, worth $600 in American Airlines airfare.

Is the annual fee worth it?

If you’re likely to use the card’s benefits, then, yes, the annual fee is often well worth it, especially if you’re a frequent flyer with American Airlines. The free checked luggage perk on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, for example, will quickly make up for the annual fee.

If you’re focused on earning a flight award, you should consider how you want to redeem the rewards that you earn with the card. Think about where you plan to travel and whether you want to use American Airlines to get there (or whether you need more flexibility in how you redeem your rewards). You might realize a general travel card is a better fit for your plans (and a better value).

Do the redemption options match your travel goals?

If you’re considering a co-branded American Airlines card with an annual fee, you should consider whether you fly American Airlines enough to take advantage of the card’s benefits. If you’re an infrequent flyer, or prefer to fly on many different airlines, you should look at a general travel rewards card instead.

Should you get a co-branded American Airlines card or a flexible rewards card?

Co-branded American Airlines cards offer great airline perks that can be very valuable for loyal American Airlines flyers. However, if you're just looking to earn miles for free flights, a flexible rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® may be the way to go.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns flexible points that can be redeemed for AA flights or transferred 1:1 to a variety of airline programs. This makes the points potentially more valuable (meaning you can earn more travel from your credit card spending).

As you can see from the chart below, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® offers more value for someone who frequently flies on the airline and checks luggage.

Citi<sup>®</sup> / AAdvantage<sup>®</sup> Platinum Select<sup>®</sup> World Elite Mastercard<sup>®</sup>
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>®</sup>
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earning rateEarn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar.5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Points/miles earned ($2,000 American Airlines flights, $2,000 dining, $2,000 gas, $12,000 other purchases)24,00025,400 (note, first $300 in AA purchases only earns 1X point per $1)
Sign-up bonusEarn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account openingEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Total points earned in first year74,00085,400
Redemption optionsAmerican Airlines airfareChase Ultimate Rewards® travel for 50% more value, cash back for 1 cent per point, transfer to 10+ travel partners
Target redemption optionAmerican Airlines airfare (assuming an average value of 1 cent per mile on the fare)American Airlines airfare (worth 1.5 cents/point with the 50% redemption bonus)
Value of rewards$740$1,581 (including $300 travel credit)
Annual fee$99, waived for first 12 months$550
Savings on checked luggage (10 flights)$300N/A
First year value$1,040$1,031
Other benefits
  • 0% foreign transaction fees
  • First checked bag free (for up to four travel companions)
  • Preferred boarding
  • 25% in-flight savings
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines flight discount after you spend $20,000 on your card in a year and renew your card
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Primary car rental insurance
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Transfer points to travel partners at 1:1 ratio
  • 50% redemption bonus on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash back
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American Airlines credit card FAQs

Anyone who flies regularly and prefers American Airlines can benefit from one of its card programs. Whether you want to earn miles toward free flights or enjoy luxury perks, there is a card for all travel and spending styles.

We estimate AAdvantage miles are worth around 1 cent each, although they can be worth a lot more depending on the fare. AAdvantage cardholders, in particular, are eligible for reduced mileage awards. Depending on your card, you can shave up to 7,500 miles off a qualifying fare, significantly boosting the value of your miles.

As long as you earn or redeem miles on American or with an AAdvantage partner at least once every 24 months, your miles will not expire.

As you can see above, our choice for overall best American Airlines card for frequent flyers is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. Of course, each card is geared to meet the needs of different spending and travel styles, which is why you should explore each one to find the one right for you.

Citi generally requires 660 - 850 credit to qualify for one of its Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®.

American Airlines has a flight award chart that breaks down how many miles you’ll need for different types of flights. Free flights start as low as 7,500 miles.

The American Airlines AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® can be well worth it for someone who flies American Airlines often, thanks to airline benefits like free checked luggage and a companion pass each year you spend $20,000. It’s an especially good deal in the first year, thanks to its valuable sign-up bonus that you can earn just by making a purchase.

There’s a plethora of ways to earn AAdvantage miles, including purchasing American Airlines airfare and spending on an AAdvantage co-branded card. See our guide to earning AAdvantage miles for tips to stacking up miles.

Spending on a co-branded AAdvantage card is probably the fastest way to earn AAdvantage miles, especially if you can earn a sign-up bonus. Purchasing airfare with American Airlines also scores a lot of miles.

The number of American Airlines miles you earn per flight depends on the cost of the flight and your level of status in the AAdvantage program. AAdvantage members earn between 5 to 11 miles per $1 spent on AAdvantage airfare.

Yes — AAdvantage miles expire in 18 months if you have no earning or redeeming activity on your account. This is a good reason to own an AAdvantage credit card. You can keep your miles from expiring just by spending on your credit card.

Yes — you can use your AAdvantage miles to purchase airfare for another person.

Methodology

To make choosing the right card easier, we've looked at credit cards reviewed on ValuePenguin as well as cards on major issuer sites to compile a list of the best rewards credit cards available right now. Our recommendations are based on the additional value you can earn with the cards — including the rewards value, cost of ownership and value of benefits such as travel and purchase protections, lounge membership and airline companion passes. Our choices are not influenced by our advertisers. Learn more on how we calculate rewards.

The information related to AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, and CitiBusiness®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).