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6 quick and easy ways to earn Loyalty Points before the end of the American elite year

Jan. 20, 2023
10 min read
American Boeing 777-200 British Airways
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American's Loyalty Points are coming up on their first birthday, meaning your balance will reset to zero March 1. And unlike the other airlines, American uses a March 1-Feb. 28 status year, so there's still time to qualify for your 2022 status.

Here are six ways to earn enough Loyalty Points to get you to your desired AAdvantage status before Feb. 28.

A Loyalty Points elevator pitch

An American Airlines Flagship First seat. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

American Airlines replaced elite qualifying miles, segments and dollars with Loyalty Points a year ago. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier claimed to be "simplifying" the way you earn AAdvantage status by crediting 1 Loyalty Point (toward status) for every AAdvantage mile you earn.

Of course, there are notable exceptions to various mileage-earning activities that don't earn Loyalty Points. Still, given the numerous ways to earn AAdvantage miles without flying, many AAdvantage members have qualified for status using methods that don't generally earn airline status, like online shopping and hotel reservations.

As a reminder, here's the number of Loyalty Points required to earn AAdvantage status this year:

Now, as we get into some last-minute ways to earn Loyalty Points, I'm going to skip some earning options like the AAdvantage dining portal and dual accrual with Hyatt. While these activities have merit, you generally need several months of activity to make a significant difference. So with that in mind, I'm focusing on ways to earn Loyalty Points quickly for your end-of-the-elite-year sprint.

Related: Chasing American Airlines elite status? Here are 14 ways to earn Loyalty Points

Fly American

An American Airlines first-class breakfast. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While it might seem obvious, you can earn Loyalty Points by flying American Airlines — or on most tickets booked on aa.com. American Airlines-issued tickets (indicated by a ticket number that starts with 001) earn Loyalty Points on the base fare and carrier-imposed fee(s). Your mileage and Loyalty Point accruals depend on your AAdvantage status when you fly:

  • General member: 5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
  • Gold: 7 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
  • Platinum: 8 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
  • Platinum Pro: 9 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
  • Executive Platinum: 11 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.

Let's say you're an AAdvantage Gold member with 68,000 Loyalty Points. An American Airlines-issued ticket with a base fare of $1,000 would earn 7,000 Loyalty Points, pushing you over the 75,000-Loyalty Point threshold to qualify for Platinum status. Whether or not it's worth the money is up to you.

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Related: Perfectly fine but nothing more: American Airlines premium economy across the Atlantic

Fly a partner

I earned Loyalty Points on British Airways in October. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While tickets purchased from American earn Loyalty Points from the amount you spend, partner-issued tickets that are credited to American Airlines earn Loyalty Points on four criteria:

  • The operating airline.
  • Your fare class.
  • The flight distance.
  • Your AAdvantage status.

If you find a bargain long-haul partner ticket that earns Loyalty Points at an advantageous rate, this is a great way to earn status. One TPG staffer earned nearly 30,000 Loyalty Points from a Finnair trip to Asia.

Let's look at what this round-trip Qatar Airways ticket in the P fare class (125%) earns. It has a total flight distance of 22,550 miles:

GOOGLE.COM/FLIGHTS
  • General member: 28,188 Loyalty Points and miles.
  • Gold: 37,208 Loyalty Points and miles.
  • Platinum: 41,718 Loyalty Points and miles.
  • Platinum Pro: 46,228 Loyalty Points and miles.
  • Executive Platinum: 55,248 Loyalty Points and miles.

Again, if you decide to go this route, make sure not to purchase your ticket with American Airlines. You will earn Loyalty Points as if it was an American Airlines flight (as discussed in the previous section) if you do this. Try and book directly on the operating airline's website whenever possible.

Related: Quick Points: Earn American AAdvantage status and Loyalty Points quickly with Oneworld partner flights

Cobranded credit card spending

Flagship Business on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Some of us don't want to get on a plane if we can avoid it. High credit card spenders can consider closing the Loyalty Points gap by spending on their cobranded AAdvantage credit card(s).

It's pretty simple — you earn a Loyalty Point for every dollar you spend. Of course, some spending categories earn more than 1 mile per dollar, but you won't earn more than 1 Loyalty Point per dollar using your AAdvantage credit card.

Eligible cards include all Citi AAdvantage, Barclays AAdvantage Aviator credit cards (except for the no-annual-fee AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® which earns 0.5 Loyalty Points per dollar on purchases) and AAdvantage cards issued outside the U.S. (though you might have to contact your issuer for its exact terms).

You can also earn some bonus Loyalty Points with two AAdvantage credit cards. Travelers with an AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® earn 5,000 Loyalty Points when they spend $20,000 in a single status year. Plus, they earn an additional 5,000 Loyalty Points when spending $40,000 and $50,000 on the card.

The information for the Advantage Aviator Silver Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

On the other hand, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® awards 10,000 Loyalty Points when you spend $40,000 in a status year.

Our data points indicate that American posts Loyalty Points and miles upon the closing of each statement period. So, credit card purchases at the end of February will likely post as Loyalty Points and miles when your statement closes in March — which is after the 2022 elite year has ended. As a result, we recommend getting your credit card spending done sooner rather than later if this is how you're planning to earn enough Loyalty Points.

Related: Your ultimate guide to American Airlines AAdvantage

Rocketmiles

Should you book your Marriott stays through RocketMiles? KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

American Airlines offers its own hotel portal, but if you want to maximize Loyalty Points earnings on hotel stays, check out Rocketmiles. It's effectively an online travel agency that allows you to earn airline miles and Loyalty Points for hotel reservations. Occasionally, you'll find hotels that offer north of 25 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar spent.

Here are several test searches in February for popular U.S. destinations, each of which has a five-night stay:

Don't forget that you can earn an extra Loyalty Point per dollar by charging your hotel stay to an AAdvantage credit card (except for the no-annual-fee AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® which earns 0.5 Loyalty Points per dollar on purchases).

Sometimes, nightly rates on Rocketmiles are higher than if you book directly with the hotel. Also, you generally won't earn hotel points and will not receive hotel elite status perks when booking through Rocketmiles. So, compare rates if you book directly with the hotel and ask yourself, "Are the AA miles and Loyalty Points worth forgoing hotel points and status?"

Related: Using Rocketmiles to earn points, miles or gift cards on hotel stays

Shopping portal

At this same time a year ago, I hadn't used the AAdvantage shopping portal. Now, I've earned about 15% of my 2022 Loyalty Points from online shopping.

AADVANTAGESHOPPING.COM

AAdvantage has some appealing merchants. Some of my favorites include:

  • Viator: Currently 7 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar (though it was at 8 earlier this week).
  • Ted Baker: Currently 10 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
  • AG Jeans: 5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
  • Otter: 5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
  • Apple: 1 Loyalty Point and mile per dollar.

Unfortunately, giftcards.com has recently disappeared from the AAdvantage shopping portal. In the fall, I purchased a $300 Uber gift card ahead of a few airport runs and earned 900 Loyalty Points and miles.

Related: Why I'm focusing on the American Airlines shopping portal this year

SimplyMiles

SIMPLYMILES.COM

If you're still short on Loyalty Points and miles, consider looking into SimplyMiles. The portal is free and easy to use. Once you sign up with your AAdvantage number, link any Mastercard.

Like Amex, Chase and Citi merchant offers, you'll be able to add various offers to your credit card. When you make a qualifying purchase, you'll automatically receive Loyalty Points and miles.

Best of all, you'll earn SimplyMiles in addition to credit card and shopping portal bonuses. Say you make an $80 purchase at Wine Insiders (a SimplyMiles offer I currently have) and charge it to a cobranded American Airlines credit card like the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®. Here's what you could earn:

  • SimplyMiles: 1,395 Loyalty Points and miles (fixed award offer after spending $80 or more).
  • AAdvantage shopping portal: 400 Loyalty Points and miles (5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar).
  • Credit card rewards: 80 Loyalty Points and miles (1 Loyalty Point and mile per dollar).

On this $80 purchase, you'd get a return of 1,875 Loyalty Points — effectively 23.4 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar. Note, however, you might not earn Loyalty Points and miles on shipping and taxes from the AAdvantage shopping portal.

The information for the Aviator World Elite Business has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: How to earn miles in the American Airlines AAdvantage program

Bottom line

There are plenty of ways to earn Loyalty Points, and getting caught up in the "gamification" of earning American Airlines status is easy. Although you might be tempted to push yourself to earn the highest status by Feb. 28, remember the status you earn will expire Feb. 29, 2024 — which is just over a year away.

That's why I'm deferring significant Loyalty Point-earning activities until March. After all, the status you begin earning in March will be valid until Feb. 28, 2025.

So consider saving that big Viator purchase or Rocketmiles spree until the spring. That way, you'll be on your way to holding AAdvantage status for another year.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
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.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • 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.
  • $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.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    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.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • 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.
  • $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.
  • See Rates & Fees