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

Feb. 08, 2022
8 min read
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As a Delta Diamond Medallion and United Premier Gold elite, I've never been much of an American Airlines flyer — but that isn't stopping me from getting into the Loyalty Points game.

I fly American a handful of times per year, and plan to try for low- or mid-tier elite status with the airline, largely due to the ease of earning Loyalty Points, American's new elite status metric. This will help me have a mildly better experience when I fly with the carrier. Plus, I don't need to fly American frequently to earn this elite status as most base points earned with partners should be eligible to earn Loyalty Points.

I do the majority of my shopping online these days, and plan to use the American Airlines eShopping Portal for the majority of my online purchases this year. This will help me earn both AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points, both of which are incredibly valuable to me. In the past, I've used American miles to fly everything from Cathay Pacific business class to Qatar Airways Qsuite, which have been some of my favorite experiences in the sky.

But why am I earning through the AAdvadvantage shopping portal when I could earn different airline miles, cash back or transferrable points through another portal? That's a fair question — so let's take a closer look.

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I highly value AAdvantage miles

I can use AAdvantage miles to book flights on top-notch airline partners, like Qatar Airways. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

AAdvantage miles are worth 1.77 cents per point according to TPG's most recent valuations, putting them near the top of the list of most valuable airline miles. In fact, they beat out every domestic airline currency sans Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, which has had its own set of devaluations over the past few months.

In practice, I find AAdvantage miles to be extremely valuable, too. The program has kept a standard award chart — at least for now — for partner award tickets. And award prices are reasonable. For example, I can use the program to book Qatar Airways Qsuite or Etihad business class to the Middle East for just 70,000 miles one-way with minimal taxes and fees.

(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

Web Special awards have often helped me score cheap flights on American metal too. Routes like New York-JFK to Charlotte (CLT) frequently price as low as 6,500 miles one-way, which is an excellent deal compared to many competing programs.

(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

As an aviation enthusiast, it also helps me to have access to a stash of miles I can redeem on Oneworld airlines. The bulk of my flying is on SkyTeam and Star Alliance carriers due to my loyalty, but having the chance to try top-notch Oneworld airlines once or twice per year is something I'm excited to do as I start to shift some of my earning focus to AAdvantage.

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Related: Your ultimate guide to American Airlines AAdvantage

The American shopping portal consistently earns the most points

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that the American shopping portal is consistently earning more points than other airline shopping portals, especially at the places I shop the most. For example, according to Cashback Monitor, American currently awards 2 miles per dollar at Bed Bath & Beyond, up from 1 mile per dollar with the Alaska, Delta and Southwest portals.

(Screenshot courtesy of cashbackmonitor.com)

Likewise, I always use a shopping portal when I book hotels directly. For example, I recently booked an IHG stay for work and went through the American portal, earning 2 American miles per dollar in the process. This falls behind Rakuten, where I could earn 3 American Express Membership Rewards points per dollar, but helps me earn American miles, which I have significantly fewer of right now.

(Screenshot courtesy of cashbackmonitor.com)

I also recently subscribed to the Wall Street Journal and earned 1,000 AAdvantage miles (and Loyalty Points) on my subscription. It cost just $12 for my first 12 weeks, which is an excellent deal in and of itself. Again, since TPG values AAdvantage miles at 1.77 cents per mile, I actually come out ahead with this promotion. In theory, the miles should be worth at least $17.70, and that's not including the progress toward American elite status.

(Screenshot courtesy of cashbackmonitor.com)

All of this is to say that American consistently offers good returns on the places I shop frequently. Plus, there are a lot of great opportunities to earn Loyalty Points and AAdvantage miles quickly with limited-time promotions like Wall Street Journal and wine box subscriptions. Oftentimes, you can come out ahead with these limited-time offers.

Related: Earn even more rewards by adding this 1 small step to your online shopping routine

Diversifying my points portfolio

Diversifying my portfolio with AAdvantage miles helps protect me against devaluations. (Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy)

I highly recommend that all points and miles enthusiasts diversify their points portfolio. This way, you're protected if one program devalues its miles, which we've seen time after time during the pandemic.

Historically, the majority of my Oneworld miles have been in Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. But given recent developments with the program losing partners, implementing dynamic pricing on American awards and adding new redemption partners with poor rates, we could be headed toward a larger devaluation. Diversifying my portfolio by adding AAdvantage miles protects me from this larger devaluation if it happens.

Plus, I already have a sizable stock of other airline miles and transferable points, but my AAdvantage balance is low. Since I value them highly, diversifying my portfolio to include more AAdvantage miles gives me more flexibility in how I redeem my points. And since only Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to American, the American shopping portal gives me an easy way to acquire these otherwise hard-to-earn points.

Related: 4 easy strategies I use to earn over 500,000 points and miles a year

Earning low- or mid-tier elite status

Having benefits on Oneworld carriers would make me more excited to fly them. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

I fly a lot every year. While most of my flights are on Delta and United thanks to my elite status, I do fly American, Alaska and other Oneworld carriers a handful of times per year. Gold or Platinum status would give me minor benefits to make these flights slightly more rewarding and provide a better overall experience, and it seems worth the effort given I don't need to fly on Oneworld partners extensively to earn these status tiers.

I'm hoping to earn Platinum via Loyalty Points, as this would give me Oneworld lounge access when traveling on international Oneworld flights. It would also give me Main Cabin Extra seats on American flights and a shot at an upgrade when using 500-mile certificates. This would make me more excited to fly American, other Oneworld partners and even JetBlue a handful of times per year.

That said, I still plan to fly Delta as my main carrier. I look at status as a secondary benefit of using the American portal, with the main benefit being the AAdvantage miles I learn along the way.

Related: I have top-tier status with 3 airlines — why not 4?

Bottom line

The introduction of Loyalty Points makes the American shopping portal a lot more intriguing. The program already offers a solid return on purchases, and being able to earn elite status is exciting even for the occasional American flyer. I plan to use the portal for the bulk of my online purchases this year, earning valuable miles and elite status in the progress.

Featured image by (Photo by Eric Rosen/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 card for premium perks while traveling
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

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023