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

Nov. 30, 2022
17 min read
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This story has been updated with new information.


In early March 2022, American Airlines switched from elite qualifying miles, dollars and segments to Loyalty Points, its new elite status qualifying metric.

Nowadays, the number of Loyalty Points you earn is largely tied to your spending instead of how much you fly. As a result, you’ll theoretically be able to spend your way to top-tier Executive Platinum status without stepping foot on a plane — not that we necessarily recommend doing that.

Beyond flights, you’ll be able to earn Loyalty Points by spending and engaging with American Airlines’ partners. Goodbye last-minute mileage runs and hello strategic flower orders.

Here are some of the best ways to earn Loyalty Points to earn American Airlines elite status.

Flying American Airlines

The traditional way to earn elite status — by flying on the airline — has been revamped as part of the program’s overhaul.

Now, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point for each redeemable AAdvantage mile from flying on American. Depending on your status tier, redeemable miles are awarded at a multiplier between 5 times and 11 times your base ticket price.

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

For simple math, if you paid $200 for a ticket (before taxes) from New York to Los Angeles, you’d earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles and 1,000 Loyalty Points as a general member with no elite status. If a top-tier American Executive Platinum member booked the same ticket, they’d earn 2,200 AAdvantage miles and 2,200 Loyalty Points.

You’ll no longer need to keep track of elite qualifying miles, dollars or segments. One redeemable mile earned from flying on American will translate to 1 Loyalty Point.

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Flying on partner airlines

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When flying with one of American’s airline partners, things get a little more complicated. You’ll continue to earn redeemable AAdvantage miles based on the cabin purchased, the distance flown and your elite status for partner tickets. The only exception is JetBlue, which earns miles based on ticket cost.

When crediting a partner flight to American AAdvantage that hasn't been bought directly with American, you’ll want to look at the earnings tables on American’s dedicated partner webpage. Once you’ve identified your fare class and flight distance, you can compute how many redeemable miles you’ll earn from a given flight.

All the redeemable miles you earn will contribute to your Loyalty Points balance at a 1:1 ratio.

For example, if you splurged for a discounted British Airways business class fare from New York to London, you’d earn 5,177 redeemable miles (3,451 base miles for the flight distance with a 50% cabin bonus), which translates to 5,177 Loyalty Points.

Suppose you’re a top-tier Executive Platinum member. In that case, you’d also receive a 120% elite bonus on the miles earned, bringing your total redeemable miles to 8,455 (3,451 base miles multiplied by the 1.20 elite bonus + 4,314) — and your Loyalty Points to 8,455.

American’s unique partnership with JetBlue awards miles (and therefore Loyalty Points) based on the ticket fare using the same framework as if you flew American.

Credit card spending

This one is pretty simple: For every dollar you spend on a cobranded American Airlines credit card, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point. 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 their exact terms).

Some popular cobranded American cards include:

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

With this change, American made it more straightforward to earn elite status through spending alone. Note that you still have to fly 30 segments per year to be able to select elite choice rewards at the Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum levels.

Unfortunately, sign-up bonuses, limited-time spending offers and bonus category multipliers (groceries, gas, dining, etc.) are excluded from earning Loyalty Points, so you will earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar you spend.

Loyalty Points boost on select cards

ERIC HELGAS/THE POINTS GUY

These cards will earn bonus Loyalty Points after hitting certain spending thresholds:

  • AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard cardmembers: Between Jan. 1, 2022, and Feb. 28, 2023, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases and earn 5,000 additional Loyalty Points. Then, earn another 5,000 Loyalty Points if you spend $40,000 on purchases and another 5,000 Loyalty Points if you spend $50,000 or more on purchases in this time frame. So if you spend $50,000 on your card during the qualification period, you’ll earn 15,000 Loyalty Points.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after you spend $40,000 in purchases during the qualifying status year.

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card 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: The best credit cards for American Airlines flyers

Dining out (or ordering in)

ALI INAY/UNSPLASH

Depending on how much you dine out, you might even be able to eat your way toward elite status. The miles you earn through the AAdvantage Dining program count as Loyalty Points.

Participating in the dining rewards program is simple. Just sign up for an account and link your favorite credit cards. Then, you’ll earn miles when you dine at a participating restaurant or order takeout directly. You can earn 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent if you’re a VIP member (earned when you make 11 transactions in a calendar year and you elect to receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining), 3 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent as an online member (if you elect to receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining) and 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent as a regular member.

AAdvantage Dining often offers a welcome bonus for new members, though these miles are not eligible for Loyalty Points accrual.

Related: Complete guide to airline and hotel dining rewards programs

Shopping

D3SIGN/GETTY IMAGES

Likewise, you can earn Loyalty Points through the AAdvantage eShopping online shopping portal or the SimplyMiles program.

Miles earned through these shopping programs count toward earning Loyalty Points at a 1:1 rate. And in fact, you can potentially stack the earnings in the programs to make elite progress quickly with the right offers.

The AAdvantage eShopping online shopping portal is just one of many online shopping portals you can click through before making online purchases with select retailers such as Home Depot, Apple, Walmart, Best Buy and hundreds more. When you do so, you’ll earn American Airlines miles on the purchase — typically as a multiplier of the cost of your purchase.

However, use a shopping portal aggregator to ensure another shopping portal isn’t offering a significantly better payout.

The SimplyMiles program is similar to Amex Offers in that it lets you add merchant-specific offers to a credit or debit card and earn AAdvantage miles when you use that card to make an online or in-store purchase with the merchant. For the SimplyMiles program, you’ll need to live in the U.S., hold a valid Mastercard, and enroll. Once enrolled, you can browse offers and activate the ones that you want to use. Miles are credited to your account when you make a purchase with the participating merchant.

Further, American has confirmed that you’ll earn points when shopping directly through retailers like Vinesse, FTD and Vivid Seats.

Related: How to earn frequent flyer miles shopping in stores — and why these programs matter

Hotel stays

ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

It’s sometimes easy to forget, but American Airlines AAdvantage members can earn miles when staying at hotels. We don’t typically advise doing that since you often miss out on earning hotel points, but it can make sense if you’d get more use out of American miles than hotel points.

Any “base miles” earned from spending with hotel partners will count toward Loyalty Points.

Choose to earn miles instead of points

As a quick recap, you earn the following number of points with the following chains:

  • Bookaahotels.com: This portal is powered by Booking.com, and by making reservations directly through it, you can earn up to 10,000 miles per night (though, in reality, most bookings earn far less).
  • Hyatt: Earn 500 miles each stay, with the opportunity to earn more with elite status (more on American’s partnership with Hyatt later).
  • Marriott: Earn 1-2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on qualifying charges. Upscale brands like Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott earn 2 miles per dollar, while budget brands like Aloft and Moxy earn just 1 mile per dollar.
  • IHG: Earn 1-2 miles per dollar on qualifying room charges. Stays at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites earn 1 mile per dollar, while other brands earn 2 miles per dollar.
  • Rocketmiles: Earn up to 10,000 miles per night booking through this online travel agency.

When booking with Hyatt, Marriott and IHG, you must log in to your hotel loyalty program account and opt to earn miles with AAdvantage instead of hotel points. Make sure you take that step before booking if Loyalty Points are your earning priority.

Related: Don’t book hotel stays directly if you want to earn maximum American Loyalty Points

American Airlines-Hyatt partnership

American Airlines AAdvantage and World of Hyatt launched a partnership in 2019 to allow elite members from both loyalty programs to earn bonus points and miles on stays and flights. American elite members earn 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on Hyatt stays and Hyatt elite members earn bonus points on American flights.

So if you’re already an American Airlines elite and you tend to stay at Hyatt properties (or can change your travel plans to do so), you could rack up a lot of extra AAdvantage miles, thus Loyalty Points, on your hotel bookings. However, while you can transfer various hotel points to AAdvantage miles, these transfers will not count toward earning Loyalty Points per the program rules.

When you register by Dec. 28, there's a status challenge for Explorist and Globalist members, but more on that later.

Related: We tested earning American Airlines miles for 3 different hotel stays — here’s what we found

Vacation packages

POLA DAMONTE/GETTY IMAGES

American Airlines has long offered a vacation package service that lets you bundle flights, hotels, rental cars, or any combination. These packages sometimes offer slightly better deals than if you were to book your flight, hotel and car separately.

Plus, you will earn 1,000 AAdvantage for every vacation package you book and can earn up to 25,000 miles when you book featured hotels.

As always, run the numbers before you book a vacation package over booking directly. Also, note that you most likely won’t earn hotel points and elite status on hotels booked as a part of a package.

Related: The complete guide to booking all-inclusive hotels with American Airlines Vacations

Cruises

American offers the ability to book cruises directly through its website; any miles you earn will count toward Loyalty Points. You can earn 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on cruise sailings through Dec. 31, 2024, up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles. In addition, those with an AAdvantage cobranded credit card earn an additional mile per dollar spent.

AA.COM

If you’re a cruiser looking to accumulate AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points, it may pay to make a reservation through American’s cruise portal.

Renting cars

ALEXFAN32/SHUTTERSTOCK

AAdvantage miles earned with rental cars will count as Loyalty Points. The number of Loyalty Points and redeemable AAdvantage miles you’ll earn depends on the rental car partner you book with.

For example, with Avis and Budget members can earn at least 2 base miles for every dollar spent on all qualifying rentals at participating airport rental locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Plus, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point for every AAdvantage base mile earned.

Depending on how often you rent cars, this could be a good way to pad your Loyalty Points balance.

Remember that you won’t usually earn rental car points when you credit rentals to American, so consider whether that’s worth it. You may come out ahead with American miles on shorter rentals but earn more rental car points on longer and more expensive rentals.

Filling up your car

RUDIECAST/SHUTTERSTOCK

American participates in the Fuel Rewards program by Shell. When filling up at a Shell location, you’ll receive 2 miles per gallon of fuel, which counts as Loyalty Points. New members earn 100 miles just for joining and completing their first fill-up at Shell, but these 100 miles won't earn Loyalty Points.

Related: Earn airline miles for gas purchases

Paying utility bills

American currently partners with three utility companies: NRG Energy, Reliant Energy and Xoom.

American has confirmed that activity through these partners will count toward Loyalty Points, making this an easy way to earn status without much legwork. Just be aware that several of these companies offer electricity at variable rates, so there can be some volatility in your monthly bills. Also, note that these services are only available in select states.

Note that these services offer welcome bonuses, but you may not earn Loyalty Points from said bonuses.

Taking surveys

Miles for Opinions allows you to earn American Airlines miles for completing surveys on various topics. American has confirmed that miles earned through this partner will count toward Loyalty Points.

FRESHSPLASH/GETTY IMAGES

There’s no monetary cost to participate, so you’ll earn Loyalty Points for “free.” However, be aware that it takes a lot of answering questions to earn a small number of miles this way, so consider the value of your time.

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

Status match and challenge

BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

American has relationships with many companies, so you may be eligible for a status match or challenge through your employer’s corporate travel agency. Ask your travel department to see if you’re eligible.

Additionally, there's currently an American Airline status option for World of Hyatt Explorist and Globalist members. When you register by Dec. 28, Hyatt Explorist and Globalist members who have linked (or will link their accounts by Dec. 12) are eligible for American Airlines status from American's Instant Status Pass. Explorist and Globalist members receive instant Platinum and Platinum Pro status, respectively. Status is valid for four months after registering, and you'll have to earn a certain number of Loyalty Points to extend or upgrade your status for another four months.

Related: Current airline elite status match and challenge options you should know about

What activity does not count

Unfortunately, not all mileage earning counts as Loyalty Points.

As mentioned, you won’t earn Loyalty Points for cobranded credit card sign-up bonuses, limited-time spending offers or multipliers on certain categories, like grocery stores and dining. As discussed, most AAdvantage cardholders will earn 1 mile per dollar spent, regardless of the type of purchase.

Further, you won’t earn Loyalty Points for miles earned from special promotions or those accrued through buy, gift or transfer transactions. This restriction includes miles transferred between individual accounts and those converted from another loyalty program currency, such as Marriott Bonvoy.

Unfortunately, American confirmed that you wouldn’t earn Loyalty Points through Bask Bank interest. A Bask Bank mileage savings account allows you to rack up American Airlines miles instead of cash on your savings. That said, through Dec. 15, when you deposit $25,000, you'll earn 5,000 AAdvantage Loyalty Points after maintaining the balance for 105 consecutive days.

Finally, American’s periodic donation campaigns do not count toward earning Loyalty Points. For instance, if you want to earn American AAdvantage miles while donating to charity, you can earn 10 miles for every dollar you give to Stand Up To Cancer when you donate $25 or more here. The donation landing page specifically states, “Bonus miles do not count toward elite-status qualification.”

Related: Be careful: 9 times you won't earn American Airlines Loyalty Points, even if you earn miles

Bottom line

There are several ways to earn American elite status without stepping on a plane. Although you ultimately may spend more time and/or money crediting American Airlines partner transactions to the program than you previously would have, there are now many more options than there were in the previous program.

Additionally, having a cobranded AAdvantage credit card will be extremely beneficial with the new qualification scheme. That said, non-cardholders will still be able to progress toward status by engaging with American’s other partners, including the dining reward program and online shopping portal.

You’ll have to look at your elite status goals and planned travel for the rest of the status year and decide whether the opportunity cost of committing to American’s non-travel partners is worth it to qualify for AAdvantage elite status.

Additional reporting by Ehsan Haque, Andrew Kunesh, Chris Dong, Eric Rosen, Katie Genter, Zach Griff and Kyle Olsen.

Featured image by CLINT HENDERSON/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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