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

Jan 19, 2022

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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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In This Post

Why we’re testing these programs

American Airlines jets at the gate in Dallas
(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.

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.

Featured photo by The Points Guy. 

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