We tested earning American Airlines miles for 3 different hotel stays — here’s what we found
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.
Why we’re testing these programs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.