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If you haven’t gotten onboard with the AAdvantage program, you may be missing out on some amazing free trips. And if you’re already with the program, you may benefit from a primer on how to earn even more AAdvantage miles.
Learning how to maximize your earnings can really pay off because valuable American Airlines miles can be your passport to the world. American offers 6,700 daily flights to 350 destinations, and it’s a member of one of the biggest airline alliances in the world, giving you almost limitless ways to use your miles.
The first step to earning American Airlines miles is to enroll in the AAdvantage program. The free frequent flyer program allows you to start piling up miles and to work on qualifying for AAdvantage elite status, which offers a slew of extra perks and earning opportunities. Once you’re in the program, you can start earning miles right away by flying American, flying partner airlines, getting and using a co-branded AAdvantage credit card, taking advantage of special American offers and doing business with over 1,000 partners.
Want all the details on how to earn miles with American Airlines? In this guide, we’ll show you all the ins and outs of earning AAdvantage miles and offer you tips and tricks on easy (and fast!) ways to earn even more AA miles.
What’s the best way to get American Airlines miles?
Flying American Airlines, flying partner airlines and getting an AAdvantage credit card with a sign-up bonus are some of the top ways to earn AAdvantage miles. The best way for you to earn AA miles will depend on your travel habits, spending power and rewards goals.
Fly American Airlines to earn miles
The most obvious way to earn AAdvantage miles is by flying American Airlines and American Eagle. With the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program, you earn miles based on dollars spent rather than miles flown. AAdvantage members who have status with American earn extra miles in the form of a percentage bonus.
Here’s a breakdown of how many miles you can earn by flying on American Airlines and American Eagle:
|AAdvantage miles per $1||Percentage bonus|
|Member (no status)||5||0% (no bonus)|
Should you use Mileage Multiplier?
You can get a mileage boost for flying American by using the American Airlines Mileage Multiplier. This is available only when you fly American and American Eagle, and it can allow you to earn double or triple miles for your trip. Each extra mile will cost you about 3 cents plus a 7.5% federal excise tax, so the Mileage Multiplier may be a good deal only if you need to earn AA miles fast for an upcoming trip.
If you want to add the Mileage Multiplier to a flight, you have three options:
- Choose the Mileage Multiplier option when you book your flight online at aa.com.
- Contact American Airlines reservations to add the Mileage Multiplier to your flight.
- Check in for your flight online or at an airport kiosk and use your credit card to pay for the Mileage Multiplier option.
If you’ve already checked in, you can still add Mileage Multiplier up to 45 minutes before your flight departure time. To do this, you can either go to an airport kiosk to reprint your boarding pass or you can log into your account at aa.com, click “my reservations” and choose the Mileage Multiplier option. You can even request Mileage Multiplier after your flight.
American Airlines bonus miles purchased through Mileage Multiplier should post within 48 hours and may even hit your account before your plane touches down.
It’s important to note, though, that bonus miles purchased though Mileage Multiplier don’t count toward AA elite status qualification and can’t be transferred to a family member or friend.
Do you earn miles on flights booked with miles on American?
You do not earn miles on American Airlines award flights. In fact, most airlines do not allow you to earn miles on flights booked with miles. American reward miles are based on the number of dollars you spend on a flight. When you purchase an award ticket, you pay for the flight in miles rather than dollars.
Savvy traveler tip: keep an eye on your inbox for targeted offers sent to select customers. For example, American double miles is a targeted promo the airline sometimes offers that allows travelers to earn twice the miles for purchases of premium economy, business and first class tickets in a certain timeframe.
Fly with American partner airlines to earn miles
You can earn AAdvantage miles by buying a ticket with an eligible booking code and flying eligible routes on partner airlines. What airlines are partners with American Airlines? The airline is a member of the oneworld alliance, so all other oneworld members are partners, along with several other airlines.
Here’s a list of the 23 American Airlines partners:
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- LATAM Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
- Cape Air
- China Southern Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Fiji Airways
- Gulf Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Seaborne Airlines
When you fly on a partner airline, such as British Airways, you typically earn miles based on the number of miles flown with an added cabin bonus for first class, business class and premium economy fares. Cabin bonuses range from 10% to 50%.
American Airlines uses elite qualifying miles (EQMs) and elite qualifying dollars (EQDs) to determine which AAdvantage members qualify for elite status with American. The American EQMs and EQDs that you earn on partner airlines generally will be based on the class you fly. For example, on British Airways, Iberia and some other partners, you’ll earn 0.5 EQMs per mile flown for the cheapest economy fare and up to 3 EQMs per mile flown for the most expensive first class fare. And you’ll earn between 5% and 30% EQDs per mile flown based on the class you fly.
What if you’re missing miles for an AA flight?
There are many reasons you could end up missing American miles after a flight. For example, if you forget to provide your AAdvantage number when booking a flight, you may not get miles for that flight. If you have missing miles, you’ll need to know how to claim American Airlines miles.
To get your missing miles credited to your AAdvantage account, wait until at least three days have passed since your flight. Then go to to aa.com and fill out the American Airlines request flight miles form. You can also find a link on that page to request partner miles.
Putting in a request will allow you to add missing American Airlines miles to your AAdvantage account as long as your flight was eligible to earn miles.
Earn miles with AA credit cards
One of the best ways to get a lot of AAdvantage miles in a short amount of time: apply for an American Airlines card and earn a big welcome bonus.
Which credit cards earn AAdvantage miles? You have a choice of four personal cards and two small business cards that range from zero annual fee with a short list of benefits to a $450 annual fee and loads of perks. Citi offers four AAdvantage cards and Barclays offers two AAdvantage cards.
How many AAdvantage miles can you earn with an American Airlines credit card? You can earn a sign-up bonus ranging from 10,000 to 60,000 AAdvantage miles, depending on the card. For purchases, you can earn up to 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent, depending on the card and the spending category. Most cards offer 2 AAdvantage miles in certain categories and 1 AAdvantage mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Here are six American Airlines credit cards that earn AAdvantage miles:
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
No Annual Fee
15.99% - 24.99% Variable
- 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
- Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is a solid card for American Airlines customers who are new to the AAdvantage program, don’t fly a lot and want to steer clear of annual fees. The $0 annual fee card offers the following sign-up bonus: 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
How many AAdvantage miles you earn: 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.
Other benefits include a 25% discount on American inflight food and drink purchases.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® card offers a step up from the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card with richer benefits and a $99, waived for first 12 months annual fee. That allows you to apply for the card, earn the sign up bonus, and decide whether the card is a good value. The card offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
How many AAdvantage miles you earn: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
Other benefits include priority boarding, a 25% discount on American inflight food and drink purchases and $125 off a flight when you spend $20,000 on your card in a year.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
- 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
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
- 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
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® may make sense for loyal American Airlines customers who travel frequently on business. Though it comes with a $450 annual fee, frequent flyers may get back even more value through the high-end benefits that can make flying easier and save you money. The card offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening The Admirals Club access extends to your authorized users even when they’re traveling on their own.
How many AAdvantage miles you earn: Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases & 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
Other benefits include a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit as well as priority check-in, screening and boarding. The first checked bag is free for you and up to eight companions, and you get a 25% discount on American inflight food and drink purchases.
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® may be a good choice for small business owners who fly American Airlines frequently. The card has a $99, waived for first 12 months annual fee, and offers a sign-up bonus where you can Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening
How many AAdvantage miles you earn: 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
Other benefits include free first checked bag, preferred boarding, 25% off inflight food, drink and Wi-Fi purchases and an American Airlines companion certificate worth $99 when you spend at least $30,000 on the card in a year.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® may be a good choice for American Airlines customers looking for a card that offers solid value for a mid-range annual fee. The card offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage miles and a $99 companion certificate when you pay the $99 annual fee and make one purchase in the first 90 days after opening your account.
How many AAdvantage miles you earn: Two miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
Other benefits include free first checked bag, preferred boarding, 25% savings on food and beverages on American Airlines flights and up to $25 back per year as a statement credit on inflight Wi-Fi purchases. You can also get a $99 anniversary companion certificate when you spend $20,000 in a year and keep account open at least 45 days past anniversary date.
The information related to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® may be a good choice for small business owners looking for a card that offers higher earnings in business categories for a modest $95 annual fee.
The card offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage miles (50,000 when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days and an extra 10,000 when a purchase is made on an employee card) plus a $99 companion certificate.
How many AAdvantage miles you earn: Two miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases and on eligible office supply, telecom and car rental merchants, then 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases. Earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) after you make $25,000 in purchases in a calendar year.
Other benefits include free first checked bag, preferred boarding, 25% savings on food and beverages on American Airlines flights and a $99 anniversary companion certificate after account anniversary when you spend $30,000 in a year in eligible purchases.
The information related to the AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Savvy traveler tip: The AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver World Elite Mastercard® allows you to earn more than any other American Airlines card at 3 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent on American Airlines flights. Barclays is no longer taking applications for the card, but you may be able to get it if you apply for the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard® and ask for an upgrade. There are no guarantees, but it might be worth a try if you spend a lot on American flights.
Earn miles by shopping and dining
If you’re like most people, you probably shop and eat regularly, so why not earn miles while you do? Here are two ways to earn AA miles by shopping and dining:
- American Airlines online mall — The American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping℠ mall allows you to shop over 950 retailers online through the American Airlines portal. You can earn from one to five miles or more per $1 you spend in the American Airlines online mall. American will regularly offer extra miles at certain stores, and these offers change regularly. Recent examples include 5 miles per $1 spent at Sephora and 4 miles per $1 spent at Bloomingdale’s. The mall also offers special discounts and savings that change regularly, such as 25% off at certain retailers or a $250 coupon for a new computer.
- American Airlines dining program — The AAdvantage dining program allows you to search for participating restaurants and earn miles while you eat. A current offer will give you 1,000 bonus miles for spending $25 in the first 30 days after you join. To participate, you have to join and link a credit or debit card and then use that card to pay your bill at the participating restaurants.
Savvy traveler tip: Check the American Airlines online mall regularly to look for special offers that will give you essentially free American Airlines miles. For example, American is currently offering 2,000 bonus miles for doing your back-to-school shopping in its eShopping mall.
Other ways to earn American miles
American has over 1,000 partners that can help you earn miles. These companies offer goods and services in a range of categories, including business products, financial services, home, health and even a charity. You can earn anywhere from a few hundred miles for taking a survey to tens of thousands of miles for buying a house.
Here are 12 ways to pump up the balance in your AAdvantage account:
- Buy or your sell your home — Join American HomeMiles and earn 2,000 AAdvantage miles for every $10,000 of the purchase price when you buy or sell a home, get 1,250 miles for every $10,000 financed on a house and 5,000 miles for an interstate move with Allied, North American or Global Van Lines.
- Do your banking — Enroll with BankDirect and you can earn anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 AAdvantage miles for opening a new account and earn monthly miles based on the amount of your account balances. And you can get between 250 and 1,000 miles for every $1,000 you invest in a certificate of deposit (CD).
- Secure your home — Get 7,000 American miles when you buy a SimpliSafe home security system. The system comes in a box, is easy to set up and doesn’t require a contract.
- Book a pet sitter — Your pup will need care next time you use your rewards to take a big trip. And you can earn 2,000 AAdvantage miles plus 1 mile per $1 spent when you complete your first pet sitter booking through Rover.
- Park at the airport — You may also need airport parking, and you can earn 1 mile per $1 spent on airport parking with PreFlight Airport Parking.
- Stay at a hotel — A new partnership between American and Hyatt means that elite AAdvantage members can now earn AAdvantage miles and bonus Hyatt points by staying at Hyatt hotels. Get started by linking your AAdvantage account with your World of Hyatt account to start earning Hyatt points on flights and American miles on hotel stays.
- Pamper yourself — How long has it been since your last facial, massage or mani-pedi? You can earn 3 miles per $1 spent on spa services at a Spafinder Wellness 365 location. There are over 1,000 locations across the country, and you only need your AAdvantage number and a copy of your receipt to cash in on the miles.
- Send flowers — Brighten someone’s day and earn 750 AAdvantage miles when you order from Teleflora, or get 20 miles per $1 spent with 1-800-FLOWERS or FTD. With FTD, AAdvantage elite members of any level also earn an extra 100 miles on each order. Just provide your AAdvantage number when placing your order to get the miles.
- Switch phone carriers — If you’re not a Sprint customer already, you could earn 20,000 AAdvantage miles by activating a new Sprint account and 5,000 more by remaining a customer for a year and keeping your account in good standing.
- Go see a show — Still haven’t seen The Lion King, The Book of Mormon or The Phantom of the Opera? You can earn up to 2,200 American miles per ticket purchased for participating Broadway shows. Join Audience Rewards to earn miles for seeing shows, including Broadway, off Broadway, cabaret, comedy and opera.
- Sound off about a product or service — Everyone’s got an opinion, and you can earn miles for voicing your thoughts about products and services. Join Miles for Opinions, a community just for AAdvantage members, and start earning today.
- Donate to charity — If you want to donate to a good cause or honor someone you know who’s battling cancer, you can earn 10 miles for every $1 you give to Stand Up to Cancer, an organization that funds cancer research.
Of course, it only makes sense to buy or sign up for a product or service if it actually will benefit you. But if you’re in the market for one of these items or already thinking of making a purchase anyway, it may make sense to rack up AAdvantage miles at the same time.
Cost to buy American Airlines miles
If you need American Airlines now, you may be considering purchasing miles. How much does it cost to buy miles on American Airlines? You can buy AAdvantage miles for about 2.95 cents per mile plus a federal excise tax of 7.5% and a processing charge of $20 to $40.
In order to decide whether it makes sense to buy American Airlines miles, look at why you need the miles and how many miles you need. Then crunch the numbers to figure out whether buying AA miles is worth it for your situation.
How can I earn AA miles fast?
Do you need to get American Airlines miles right away so you can book a flight to Paris for your honeymoon or join in a family getaway in the Berkshires without breaking the bank? If you’re in a pinch and need AA miles fast, you do have options.
Buying American Airlines miles is just one way to pad your AAdvantage account right away. Here are some of the best ways to top off your AAdvantage account quickly:
|How to earn AA miles fast||Cost to get AA miles||How quickly can you get the AA miles?|
|Open an AA credit card with a sign-up bonus||None, but you have to make the required dollar amount of purchases on the card||8-10 weeks after you meet purchase requirements|
|Use AAdvantage Mileage Multiplier on an upcoming flight||About 3 cents/mile plus federal excise tax of 7.5%||Within 48 hours of taking the flight|
|Buy AA miles||About 2.95 cents/mile plus federal excise tax of 7.5% and $20-$40 processing fee||Usually right away, but may take up to 8 hours|
|Transfer AA miles from spouse or other relative||1.25 cents per mile transfer cost plus $15-$40 processing fee||Usually right away, but may take up to 8 hours|
|Get a gift of AA miles||About 2.95 cents/miles plus federal excise tax of 7.5% and $20-$40 processing fee||Usually right away, but may take up to 8 hours|
|Make a big purchase on AA credit card||None, as long as you pay your bill in full to avoid interest||8-10 weeks after miles are earned|
|Reactivate expired AA miles||$40-$2,000 per transaction, depending on the number of miles you reactivate||May take up to 24 hours|
You may be able to get a better deal and a break on some fees with American Airlines miles promotions. These offers change frequently, but in August 2019, American Airlines offered 3,500-85,000 AA bonus miles plus a discount of 5%-10% for purchasing miles, with the offer depending on the amount of miles purchased.
How do American Airlines miles work?
So you know how to earn American Airlines miles, but you’re now wondering how American Airlines miles work. The American Airlines miles program is actually pretty straightforward. You earn American Airlines miles by flying American Airlines, flying with an American Airlines partner, using a credit card or one of the other ways outlined in this guide.
Your miles accumulate in your American Airlines AAdvantage account, and you can redeem these miles for flights on American or flights on partner airlines, as well as less valuable redemptions such as gift cards or merchandise.
Want to redeem American miles on a partner airline? You can’t transfer your miles to the partner, so you’ll need to redeem through American for your chosen flight on the partner airline. Not all partners are searchable on aa.com, so you may need to search the partner site to find the flight then call AAdvantage customer service at (800) 882-8880 to book.
How many AA miles do I need for a flight?
As you’re working on earning AA miles, you may wonder what target goal you should set. In other words, how many American Airlines miles you need to earn to get a free flight? There is no set number of AA miles required for a free flight because the amount needed varies by where you want to fly, which class you plan to travel and whether you want to fly American or a partner airline.
However, the American Airlines redemption chart shows that the miles needed for a free flight on American range from less than 10,000 for a short domestic flight in the United States to over 250,000 for the most expensive first-class flight to the South Pacific.
Do American Airlines miles expire?
American Airlines miles do expire if you stop using your account for an extended time. The good news is that it’s easy to keep American miles from expiring. To keep your AAdvantage account active, you need to earn or redeem American miles at least once in an 18-month period. Every time you earn or redeem, the clock starts over and your miles are good for another year and a half. If you worry that your American miles might be on the verge of expiring, you can prevent that from happening by using your AAdvantage credit card, shopping the American Airlines online mall or doing any other activity that will earn you miles.
American Airlines miles are valuable rewards that can help you to take an island vacation, fund business travel for your startup or take the kids to visit their grandparents on the other side of the country.
You can use AAdvantage miles to take any journey from a basic domestic coach flight on American to a first-class luxury trip on a partner airline like Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines. Now that you know all the secrets to earning American miles, it’s time to jump-start your earnings so you can hit your goal and book that flight.
The information related to the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® and Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.