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

Jan. 19, 2022
7 min read
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American Airlines is completely changing how you earn elite status. While the AAdvantage program is here to stay, you can say goodbye to the elite qualifying metrics of yore.

Welcome to the world of Loyalty Points. It's one of the biggest, ongoing stories in the industry, even though the program won't officially launch until March. That's because you can now get a head start and begin earning Loyalty Points that will count toward the 2023 status year (although points won't be posted until March).

One of the most exciting elements of this new currency? It's the ability to earn American AAdvantage status through a variety of non-flying activities, including hotel stays, car rentals, online shopping, dining and yes, even spending on an American cobranded credit card.

At the very beginning of this month, American unveiled its full list of Loyalty Point-qualifying partners -- and it includes several major hotel brands.

Today, we'll take a closer look at earning Loyalty Points specifically through hotel stays when booked directly through Hyatt, Marriott and IHG.

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Why we're testing these programs

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

We tested booking three hotels -- one each through American's hotel partnerships with Hyatt, Marriott and IHG.

While we won't know precisely how many Loyalty Points we'll earn until early March (when points post online), we can still get a good idea thanks to the "base points" earned when crediting hotel stays to AAdvantage.

However, one major question that we wanted to answer with this test right now is if you'll still earn hotel elite night credit -- a key factor in earning or retaining hotel status -- when crediting your stays to the AAdvantage program.

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Typically, we wouldn't recommend earning AAdvantage miles when staying at hotels since you'll miss out on earning hotel points. However, if you can still earn a hotel elite night -- and the AAdvantage miles earned count toward American status -- the value proposition begins to change.

Let's take a closer look at our tests and what our results were. We'll be sure to update this post in early March when we have our official Loyalty Points tally.

Related: Chasing American Airlines elite status? Here are 13 ways to earn Loyalty Points

Loyalty Points from hotel partners

Here's what you can earn from booking hotels through Hyatt, Marriott and IHG while crediting the stay toward American Airlines:

  • Hyatt: Earn 500 miles each stay (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 per dollar.
  • IHG: Earn 1-2 miles per dollar spent on qualifying room charges. Stays at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites earn 1 mile per dollar, while other brands earn 2 per dollar.

Change your earnings to AAdvantage

To ensure you're earning American AAdvantage miles (and thusly, Loyalty Points), you have to manually change your redemption from hotel points to American.

Each program -- Hyatt, Marriott and IHG -- has a different way to do this. For Marriott and IHG, you log in to your hotel loyalty program account and opt to earn miles with AAdvantage instead of hotel points.

However, for Hyatt, you must reach out to customer support directly to change your earnings -- either through Twitter Direct Message or on the phone. Also, there's another caveat for Hyatt, and why elites may not want to switch their earnings (more on this below).

Earning Loyalty Points through Hyatt

Elite night posted: Yes

Expected Loyalty Points earned: 500 points

With my one-night stay at the Hyatt Grand Central New York, I earned 1,500 redeemable AAdvantage miles. While I earned AAdvantage miles -- and likely 500 Loyalty Points -- I also received credit for one elite night toward the World of Hyatt program.

However, one thing we don't yet fully know is whether miles earned with the "AA Cities 1K Miles Offer," a limited-time promotion for those with the World of Hyatt Credit Card, will also count as Loyalty Points.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt)

Another way to earn Loyalty Points through Hyatt for elites

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

For instance, in the example above, if I did not change from earning Hyatt points to AAdvantage miles, I would earn 128 redeemable AAdvantage miles, and thus Loyalty Points, along with earning Hyatt points. That's because I have my AAdvantage and Hyatt accounts linked as an elite member with both programs.

So if you’re already an American Airlines and Hyatt elite -- and you tend to spend a lot (at least more than $500 per stay) -- you could rack up even more extra AAdvantage miles, and thus Loyalty Points, on your Hyatt bookings.

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

Earning Loyalty Points through IHG

Elite night posted: Yes

Expected Loyalty Points earned: 153 points

TPG's Katie Genter stayed at the Holiday Inn Johannesburg Airport and earned 153 redeemable AAdvantage miles, along with an elite night that counts toward IHG status.

She is also expected to earn 153 Loyalty Points when they post in March.

(Screenshot courtesy of IHG)

Related: The award travelers guide to IHG Rewards Club

Earning Loyalty Points through Marriott

Elite night posted: Yes

Expected Loyalty Points earned: 116 points

TPG's Scott Mayerowitz stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Manhattan/Central Park and earned 116 redeemable AAdvantage miles, along with a Marriott elite night and 500 Marriott Bonvoy points. He is also expected to earn 116 Loyalty Points come March 1.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Related: Should you use points or cash to book hotels?

Bottom line

With these tests, TPG can confirm that when you credit Hyatt, Marriott and IHG stays to American AAdvantage, you'll also earn elite nights for that particular stay.

That's good news for those who want to maximize earning Loyalty Points as much as possible, while still maximizing their current (and future) hotel status.

Even though Loyalty Points doesn’t officially launch until March 1, these activities that post to your AAdvantage account in January and February will be converted into Loyalty Points in early March.

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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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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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