american aadvantage

American Airlines AAdvantage members can redeem miles for free flights on the airline or with partner airlines, flight upgrades, an Admirals Club airport lounge membership, and travel experiences. They can also earn AAdvantage miles with credit card spend and through other methods.

AAdvantage also offers a number of cobranded credit cards that offer generous rewards on everyday spending. These cards often carry an annual fee, however.

Earning Frequent Flyer Miles

American Airlines AAdvantage is one of the top frequent flyer programs. Its miles are worth on average 1.18 cents apiece, and the program offers big earning bonuses. It also has co-branded credit cards, dining and shopping partners. Plus, if you earn elite status, you’ll get access to other travel perks and discounts.

AAdvantage miles can be used to book flights on American or with its many partner airlines. Its award ticket costs can vary dramatically based on time of year and route demand. For example, roundtrip economy tickets on American to Rome cost 126,000 AAdvantage miles during the peak summer travel period but only 89,000 miles in the shoulder season.

You can also use AAdvantage miles to book hotels, car rentals and cruises. The airline’s partnership with major car rental companies and hotel brands includes special rates. AAdvantage also has a shopping portal and SimplyMiles that allow members to earn miles for online purchases. You can also earn miles by using one of its 13 AAdvantage credit card options.

Redeeming Frequent Flyer Miles

In addition to earning AAdvantage miles via co-branded credit cards, the airline offers several ways for you to earn them from other purchases. These include the AAdvantage eshopping portal, card-linked offers and SimplyMiles. Each of these deals works differently, but each can supercharge your path to elite status and help you get more value from your AAdvantage miles.

When it comes to redeeming American Airlines AAdvantage miles, the most lucrative option is flights on the airline’s own network. These redemptions typically yield a better than 1.77 cents per mile in TPG’s valuations.

You can also use AAdvantage miles to book award travel on American’s partner airlines and to book a variety of other travel expenses like hotels, car rentals and cruises. Unlike some other frequent flyer programs, American Airlines allows you to change the dates and routing of award tickets for free — so long as you don’t change your origin or destination.

Status Levels

With its AAdvantage program, American Airlines offers several levels of elite status. The level of status you choose will depend on your flying habits and the benefits you desire. You can earn status based on flights with American Airlines and its codeshare partners, as well as through purchases made with cobranded credit cards.

Even if you fly only a few times a year, working toward status can make sense. Even the lowest tier, Gold status, provides complimentary upgrades (up to one travel companion) on award flights, access to Main Cabin Extra seats and Preferred seating when available at booking and a free checked bag on itineraries that are marketed or operated by American.

There is also an invite-only elite status tier, Concierge Key. Although it’s difficult to acquire, once you do, it offers perks such as free lounge access and waived baggage fees on international flights. There are other elite perks, too, such as a 120% status mileage bonus and a free First Class upgrade on all award flights.

Rewards

American Airlines is part of the oneworld frequent flyer network, so you can earn and redeem miles on flights to destinations around the world. The program offers a number of co-branded credit cards that let you earn bonus miles and elite status-eligible Loyalty Points on everyday spending. You can also use the AAdvantage eshopping portal to earn more miles on car rentals, hotel bookings and other travel purchases.

Some of the co-branded American Airlines credit cards feature generous earning rates on AAdvantage purchases and perks like priority check-in, airport screening and boarding. Others offer more flexible rewards that you can use toward other airline and hotel programs, such as Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. These cards have a more moderate annual fee and offer a decent sign-up bonus, but may not work well for fliers who aren’t planning on flying American Airlines often.