American is giving away over 100 million miles to celebrate 40th anniversary of AAdvantage

Apr 5, 2021

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Happy 40th anniversary to American Airlines’ AAdvantage!

First launched in 1981, AAdvantage was one of the first airline loyalty programs. Forty years and one pandemic later, American is gearing up for a (virtual) celebration.

On Monday, the carrier is launching a month-long instant-win promotion, filled with prizes and special offers designed to inspire travel. AAdvantage members can check out the promotion microsite at to play the game and learn more about the program.

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You can play the game multiple times per day, after completing certain activities like reading a daily fact or sharing the sweepstakes on social media.

Instant-win prizes include Admirals Club memberships and day passes, AAdvantage miles, $20 MasterCard digital gift cards, seat upgrades and other partner offers, including 20% off a Hyatt resort vacation, Hertz upgrades and many others.

You’ll find the full list of prizes, as well as sweepstakes rules in the full terms and conditions. There are a total of 1,392,040 instant-win prizes during the four-week promotion that lasts through May 3.

Each gameplay also enters you into the grand prize drawing, which will be held on or around May 4. Forty winners will receive 1,000,000 AAdvantage miles. (Interestingly, American says these miles are worth $22,400, or 2.24 cents a piece, well above the TPG valuation of 1.4 cents per AA mile.)

One second-place winner will enjoy a two-night travel package for four people to Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, valued at $3,500.

Most TPG staffers received 40 AAdvantage miles for entering the giveaway. While that’s worth just over 50 cents according to our valuations, it does keep your AA miles from expiring for another 18 months.

American flyers can also join the celebration by listening to a curated Apple Music playlist of the top tracks of 1981. Subscribers can stream the tunes on most AA domestic flights for free.

When the AAdvantage program began on May 1, 1981, membership was by invitation-only and rewards included a first-class ticket to any destination American flew. Today, the program boasts over 115 million members, with 144,000 of them active since the first year.

Around the holidays, American flyers will recall that the airline gave every member a gift. Some were disappointed that AA hyped up the promotion, but the freebies were ultimately “lacking generosity” and “little lumps of coal.” This time, the full list of prizes is public, so expectations will hopefully match reality.

Do note, however, that this promotion won’t help frequent flyers close the gap on qualifying for elite status. None of the prizes include elite qualifying miles or segments. Fingers crossed that American will launch another round of promos for travelers who need an elite boost.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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