Edited by: Chris Dong
& Juan Ruiz
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Last year, American Airlines gave its AAdvantage frequent flyer program an enormous facelift. And while there were some initial concerns that the loyalty program would take a nosedive, its changes were actually thoughtfully simplified and more applicable to those who might not travel as frequently on American Airlines.
The most important concept about the program is that your AAdvantage elite status will now be determined by how much you interact with the AAdvantage ecosystem, which extends beyond flights on American Airlines and its partners.
One of the coolest implications of this is that you can now earn top-tier elite status just by spending on your American Airlines-branded credit card — so with all that being said, let’s take a look at all of the neat ways you can now earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points.
AAdvantage Loyalty Points are the new currency in AAdvantage’s loyalty program that is used to determine your elite status.
So instead of confusing metrics like the former elite qualifying miles, elite qualifying segments, or elite qualifying dollars, the pathway to earning AAdvantage elite status has been simplified tremendously.
There are many direct benefits associated with using Loyalty Points — the most obvious is that your Loyalty Points balance will determine which tier of elite status you fall under:
Also, if you hit certain thresholds of Loyalty Points, starting at 15,000 and going all the way up to 5,000,000, you’ll earn Loyalty Point Rewards.
Lastly, your Loyalty Points balance now determines your upgrade priority in an objective way. Simply put, if you have the highest Loyalty Points balance among all other travelers on your flight, you will have the highest upgrade priority.
If you’re thinking about pursuing elite status on American Airlines, the first thing you ought to do is sign up for an account. Just fill out the form and you’ll be ready to go with an AAdvantage membership number.
Keep this membership number handy because you’ll need to provide it every time you’d like to earn Loyalty Points.
And with so many new ways you can get closer to elite status, you’ll probably have your AAdvantage number memorized by the time you’ve qualified for elite status!
One of the most exciting aspects of American’s loyalty program is that the criteria used to determine your elite status, Loyalty Points, can be earned through a variety of activities beyond booking paid airfare on American Airlines.
Specifically, those who spend big on AAdvantage credit cards have a huge opportunity to get elite status entirely through credit card spending!
So in this section, we’ll show you how that can be accomplished through its 2 credit card issuers: Citi and Barclays.
We’ll start off with Citi. At the moment, Citi issues the following co-branded American Airlines credit cards:
For each qualifying AAdvantage mile you earn on these cards, you will earn 1 Loyalty Point.
It’s important to note that even if you’re earning 2 or 3 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on these credit cards through bonus categories like gas stations or telecommunications, you’ll still only earn 1 Loyalty Point.
Therefore, if you tried to earn 200,000 Loyalty Points to qualify for Executive Platinum status, you’d have to spend $200,000 to get there, which means welcome offers and bonus categories do not earn more Loyalty Points.
The AAdvantage Executive World Elite card offers another great way to earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points because it comes with Loyalty Point bonuses.
In addition, Barclays issues co-branded credit cards that earn qualifying AAdvantage miles (and therefore Loyalty Points). These are:
The same principles apply for Barclays credit cards — regardless of bonus categories and welcome offers, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point per qualifying AAdvantage mile earned. This more or less means that you will just get 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent with these cards.
So if you had an AAdvantage Aviator Business card and wanted to pursue Platinum Pro status (which requires 125,000 Loyalty Points) solely through spending, you’d need to make $125,000 in purchases to qualify.
Obviously, the most tried-and-true way to get AAdvantage elite status is by booking travel. Now the options to earn Loyalty Points through travel are much larger. So in this section, we’ll explore all of the best ways to earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points through travel.
The best way to kick off this section is to discuss the simplest way to earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points: from American Airlines flights!
When you fly on American Airlines, you will earn 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on your fare. In this case, all of your AAdvantage miles are qualifying AAdvantage miles, which means you’ll get 5 Loyalty Points per dollar spent on American Airlines flights. Basic Economy fares only earn 2 miles per dollar.
This does not include airport taxes and fees, as well as carrier-imposed surcharges (including fuel surcharges).
For example, if you book a $3,000 business class ticket to Spain, and this includes $700 in fuel surcharges and $50 in airport taxes and fees, you’ll earn based on a $2,250 fare. Therefore, you’ll earn 11,250 Loyalty Points. We’ll touch on how you can use existing elite status to earn Loyalty Points even quicker in a later section.
Note that AAdvantage’s Million Miler lifetime status requirements have not changed — you need to pass lifetime mileage thresholds to qualify for status:
Hot Tip: Even under the new program, you can’t earn Lifetime Million Miler status through credit card spending. Interestingly, it’s based on distance flown for flights marketed by American Airlines and base miles earned for travel on flights marketed by eligible partners.
For now, though, let’s look at other airlines!
You can also earn Loyalty Points for flying on any of American’s Oneworld partner airlines.
In fact, you’ll earn Loyalty Points at the same accrual rate as redeemable miles. Partner airline accrual is determined by the flight distance and cabin class, which means that the way you calculate how many Loyalty Points you get is slightly different.
But the good news is that cabin class multipliers and elite status bonuses also apply to earning Loyalty Points.
So let’s say you’re flying round-trip from Chicago (ORD) to London Heathrow (LHR) aboard British Airways on a paid, business class ticket in the R fare class. In total, you’d earn based on a total, round-trip flight distance of 7,906 miles. On an R-class ticket, you’ll accumulate 150% of the flight distance in miles, which is 11,859 AAdvantage miles. Therefore, you’ll earn 11,859 Loyalty Points (and that doesn’t even take into account any existing elite status!).
Although JetBlue isn’t a member of the Oneworld alliance, American Airlines has deemed JetBlue as one of the few non-alliance partner airlines that can earn Loyalty Points towards AAdvantage elite status!
Again, the accrual rate for Loyalty Points stays the same as the accrual rate for redeemable AAdvantage miles since all AAdvantage miles are deemed as qualifying AAdvantage miles.
So let’s say you book a paid JetBlue Mint flight one-way from Los Angeles (LAX) to Miami (MIA) in the I fare class. This ticket cost $599, and the fare was $585. In this case, you’d earn 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on the fare, which is 2,925 AAdvantage miles. By the same token, you’d earn 2,925 Loyalty Points.
GOL is the other partner airline that currently earns Loyalty Points as a non-alliance airline. This airline follows a distance-based accrual chart. For example, if you book a U-class economy ticket from Salvador (SSA) to Rio de Janeiro (SDU), your accrual is based on a flight distance of 758 miles.
You earn 75% of the flight distance as redeemable miles (and therefore Loyalty Points), which means you’ll end up with 569 AAdvantage miles and 569 Loyalty Points.
Another fantastic way to earn more Loyalty Points is to use your existing elite status. You can get up to 120% in bonus Loyalty Points, depending on which elite status you have:
This elite status bonus could potentially be huge. For example, if you take the example of the business class ticket to Spain with a $2,250 fare that would normally earn 11,250 Loyalty Points, and layer Executive Platinum elite status, you would actually earn 13,500 more Loyalty Points! That would bring your total to a staggering 24,750 Loyalty Points earned from 1 plane ticket!
Hot Tip: Elite bonuses do not apply for non-flight activity, including shopping, hotel stays, and other travel.
In addition to booking flights, you are eligible to earn Loyalty Points when booking hotel stays with eligible hotel partners.
There are 2 separate types of hotel stays you can book:
Currently, partner hotel chains include:
Keep in mind that by crediting hotel stays to American Airlines (or any other partner), you won’t earn points or elite credit toward the hotel program.
Partner hotel booking portals include:
You’ll generally earn more miles and Loyalty Points through American Airlines Hotels than you would with Rocketmiles, especially if you are an American Airlines elite member with an American Airlines credit card.
Planning on renting a car? With AAdvantage, rent at most major car rental companies to earn Loyalty Points:
|50 miles per day
|2 to 5 miles/$1
|50 miles per day
|2 to 5 miles/$1
|50 miles per day
|50 miles per day
All miles earned through these car rental partners are qualifying miles, so you can rack up Loyalty Points very quickly!
With cruises, you can earn up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles per cruise, and all of these miles are qualifying miles, which will get you Loyalty Points towards AAdvantage elite status!
Similarly, you can earn loads of Loyalty Points when you book the right vacation package.
Now that we’ve wrapped up all of the travel- and credit card-based ways you can earn Loyalty Points, let’s look at the other ways to earn points towards elite status!
One of the most popular dining loyalty programs is AAdvantage Dining! If you’re going to visit a specific restaurant, bar, or club anyway and can earn Loyalty Points, why wouldn’t you take advantage of this?!
The great aspect of this is that if you’re an AAdvantage Dining VIP member, you’ll earn 5x AAdvantage miles per dollar spent, all of which count towards elite status!
This is a significant way you can earn Loyalty Points through eating out.
American Airlines’ online shopping portal is called AAdvantage eShopping, and you can earn AAdvantage miles at more than 1,200 stores at brands, including Apple, Kohl’s, and The Home Depot.
For every AAdvantage mile you earn through AAdvantage eShopping, you’ll also earn 1 Loyalty Point.
Be sure to also compare the prices for your goods with other websites to make sure you aren’t paying too much more just to earn Loyalty Points and AAdvantage miles.
Another popular way to earn AAdvantage miles is SimplyMiles, which is similar to Amex Offers. Simply enroll using your AAdvantage account and you’ll receive personalized offers to earn bonus miles for spending at specific partners, such as SimpliSafe, Winc, 1-800-Flowers.com, and more.
All of the AAdvantage miles you earn through SimplyMiles are qualifying AAdvantage miles, which means you will earn Loyalty Points!
As if these ways to earn Loyalty Points weren’t comprehensive enough, you can even work towards elite status by paying your utility bill!
There are 3 main partners:
For example, with Xoom Energy, you can earn a welcome bonus when starting a residential electric or natural gas account and earn based on your energy bill.
Note that these offers are available only to customers in certain areas, so be sure to confirm directly with AAdvantage’s terms and conditions.
All of your accruals are eligible for Loyalty Points earning.
You can even earn Loyalty Points by adding gas, which is pretty incredible.
Specifically, with Shell Fuel Rewards, you can earn miles at the pump instead of getting a small discount on fuel.
All of your earnings here also earn Loyalty Points.
If you have a bunch of free time, you can take surveys to earn AAdvantage miles, all of which also earn Loyalty Points. There are 2 vendors available:
Just be sure to consider the value of your time, as some of these surveys can be very long, even if they do award more miles/points.
AAdvantage Events is a new way to earn American Airlines Loyalty Points and miles. It allows you to earn 1 Loyalty Point and 1 mile per $1 spent on Ticketmaster tickets. All you need to do is search for tickets through AAdvantage Events and use your AAdvantage member number when you make a purchase.
Although there is still a lot to be ironed out in terms of which partners qualify to earn Loyalty Points, the number of eligible partners you can leverage to get elite status has expanded dramatically.
This last way focuses on other partners that are available but didn’t merit their own sections.
For example, if you send flowers through FTD, buy event tickets through Vivid Seats, set up a WeWork membership, or shop through Vinesse, you can earn qualifying AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points.
So after this in-depth discussion, there’s a natural question that comes up: what doesn’t earn Loyalty Points?
Well, the reality is that AAdvantage has designed its new loyalty program to reward you as much as possible, even if you spend with its partners.
But there are a few (understandable) activities that will not earn you Loyalty Points:
Overall, American Airlines’ exciting recently refreshed frequent flyer program rewards you based on how much you interact with the AAdvantage ecosystem, instead of just how much you spend on American Airlines flights.
This rebrand has travelers hopeful of achieving elite status in a post-pandemic world where travel may not be as frequent as before.
Ultimately, we are big fans of these changes, especially if you’re a high-spending business owner who can make large enough purchases to qualify for elite status directly.
Whether you book flights on partner airlines, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, or just shop at any partner merchant, you can get closer to AAdvantage elite status through Loyalty Points.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
You can earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points much more easily than the previous elite earning requirements. In addition to booking flights on American Airlines and its eligible partners, you can now earn Loyalty Points towards elite status from credit card spending, dining partners, shopping partners, and so much more!
You can get elite status on American Airlines by earning enough AAdvantage Loyalty Points. This is done through traveling on status-qualifying airlines, making purchases on your AAdvantage credit card, or making purchases at participating shopping, dining, and travel partners.
Loyalty Points are used to calculate your elite status. For example, if you earn 40,000 Loyalty Points, you will qualify for AAdvantage Gold. Furthermore, you can earn Loyalty Point Rewards if you hit certain thresholds of Loyalty Points, which resemble “milestone rewards.”
It’s very simple! If you earn 1 eligible AAdvantage mile, you’ll get 1 Loyalty Point. Keep in mind that 1 eligible AAdvantage mile isn’t the same as 1 AAdvantage mile. There are certain exclusions to earn Loyalty Points — for example, if you buy AAdvantage miles, you will not earn any Loyalty Points.
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