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American Airlines flyer earns 25,000 points, top-tier status completing surveys

April 19, 2022
7 min read
American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER LAX
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On a scale of one to 10, how much did you enjoy this service? Was your experience somewhat satisfying, satisfying or somewhat unsatisfying? Are you likely or unlikely to recommend this product to a friend?

Could you even make it through that paragraph without a yawn? No doubt you recognize those questions as the type of queries that populate countless surveys. You've probably encountered a few after hanging up the phone with a customer service representative or while trying to earn yourself a beverage or other small token at a particular business.

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Now imagine being Washington, D.C.-area resident Ed Russell. For the last month, he’s answered questions like that for hours on end almost every day. And yes, it’s all by choice.

But why?

Early in March, Russell found himself almost within reach of Executive Platinum status on American Airlines. Russell realized that under the airline’s revamped loyalty system, to achieve that status, he just needed to earn around 15,000 more Loyalty Points — the AAdvantage program’s new currency by which members earn status through a combination of air travel, spending on co-branded credit cards and shopping.

Around the same time as Russell’s revelation, TPG wrote about how members of numerous loyalty programs can earn miles or points by taking part in consumer surveys. In the case of American, its Miles for Opinions program allows members who take part in a survey to earn those crucial, elite-qualifying Loyalty Points.

Since then, Russell has been on a mission.

A man blessed with what he acknowledges is an above-average amount of downtime, Russell has spent most of his unoccupied time over the last month or so filling out surveys through the program. During that time he’s accumulated an astonishing 25,649 Loyalty Points, more than enough to reach Executive Platinum status. When it comes to miles, that's an accrued value of about $453, according to TPG’s valuations.

Related: How to earn bonus miles through the AAdvantage shopping portal

In a world where so many loyalty programs measure status in different ways, it may be hard to comprehend what type of effort is required to reach the benchmark Russell has achieved.

Take it from me, it’s not easy. I tried it out.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Miles for Opinions

I signed up for American’s Miles for Opinions program on a Monday morning. After entering identifying information, including details of my AAdvantage account, I was immediately asked to answer a few cursory questions about myself. The questions ranged from the type of insurance coverage I have to the number of cars owned in my household.

(Screenshot from Miles for Opinions)

Just completing these steps landed me with an initial 250-mile bonus. Considering I'm a cardholder of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and earn double miles for dining, that’s about what I’d earn by paying for a nice dinner out at a restaurant with my wife. (Note: Spending on your co-branded credit card that earns you double miles does not earn you double Loyalty Points.)

Anyway, the 250 miles I got right off the bat came far easier than anything else that was to come.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

(Screenshot from Miles for Opinions)

Moments later, the program offered my first survey, with a potential reward of 50 AAdvantage miles (and thus Loyalty Points)... if I finished. The topic: Home and family. I didn’t finish, though, because after some initial questions, the program determined I didn't qualify to participate.

(Screenshot from Miles for Opinions)

So, I tried another one. Topic: Travel and Tourism. The estimated time to complete was around 20 minutes. The payoff for finishing? 140 miles.

(Screenshot from Miles for Opinions)

I answered a whole bunch of questions that got down to the most granular details about each trip I’ve taken so far in 2022. After 15 minutes or so, though, with around 40% of the survey still to go, I determined I needed to move on to get to other more urgent work on my plate. You get three miles for a partial completion.

In all, the half hour or so I spent on the program Monday morning got me 253 points – which means I earned about 3% of the 8,851 Loyalty Points I need to reach to Gold status on American.

Imagine the effort Russell has put in.

A lucrative strategy

For Russell, one sign it’s going to be a good day on the Miles for Opinions portal is when he gets a survey dealing with the entertainment industry.

When taking those surveys, "I’ve seen trailers for movies that aren’t out yet,” he said. He explained how he has to then share what he likes or does not like about the preview. Those types of surveys, he said, generally earn him between 125 and 250 points.

That’s significant, because it puts him a good portion of the way to his goal. (Yes, he’s set a daily goal.)

“I hope to get at least 500 (points) a day,” he told TPG, conducting the interview while simultaneously navigating a survey about his shipping and mailing habits.

Russell estimates he spends about four, non-consecutive hours on the portal each day, motivated not by the program’s reward of airline miles – he’s got 611,345 – but by the elite-qualifying Loyalty Points it produces.

“It’s very mindless,” he admitted. But it’s also worked for him, considering that the 25,000-plus Loyalty Points he’s accrued over the past several weeks put him well over the benchmark for American’s highest level of elite status.

“I’m only in this for the Loyalty Points,” he said.

Related: The easiest way to top up your points and miles without spending a dime

(Screenshot from Miles for Opinions)

Is it right for you?

The length of the surveys, the information you are asked to share and the efficiency of the payoff might well make this a non-starter for plenty of travelers — even those pursuing status.

“I recall the surveys being at least 15 minutes long for maybe 100 points,” TPG reader Mary wrote in our TPG lounge. “Seemed like a lot of time for little reward.”

Russell said one factor stands out to him above all others when it comes to using the Miles for Opinions program to the extent he has.

“I would say that it takes patience,” he said.

He also pointed out — and I would second this — that completing these surveys requires a willingness to share a certain amount of personal information.

“Age, location, gender, race are on every survey,” Russell said. However, “Very few will ask you to give your exact birthday.”

For him, sharing that information has been a worthy tradeoff, since his time investment has gotten him to top tier airline elite status without spending an extra dollar.

Featured image by (Photo 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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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
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  • Annual Fee

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  • 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

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases