American Airlines has a reputation for having one of the best frequent flyer programs in the world. Its AAdvantage program received a Freddie Award in 2017 (given to frequent flyer programs) for Best Elite Program. U.S. News and World Report ranked it No. 6 in the U.S. for Best Airline Rewards Programs in 2017-2018.
American Airlines allows members to earn rewards miles that can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, hotels and car rentals, and other retail products. Here’s what you need to know if you want to cash in on your travels.
How to Become an AAdvantage Member
If you are not already a member of the American Airlines AAdvantage Program, you can join online today by visiting AA.com. You can also join in person at any American Airlines ticketing desk.
What You Get as an American Airlines Frequent Flyer
All AAdvantage Program members have the opportunity to earn miles that they can use toward flights, upgrades, and a variety of other rewards. The real perks, however, come with elite status. Gold status requires 25,000 elite qualifying miles (EQMs), Platinum requires 50,000 EQMs, Platinum Pro requires 75,000 EQMs, and Executive Platinum requires 100,000 EQMs.
AAdvantage Gold members get complimentary auto-requested upgrades on flights 500 miles or less, complimentary preferred seats, 50 percent off main cabin extra seats, a 24-hour upgrade window, a 40 percent elite mileage bonus, and one free checked bag.
AAdvantage Platinum members get complimentary auto-requested upgrades on flights 500 miles or less, complimentary preferred seats and main cabin extra seats, a 48-hour upgrade window, a 60 percent elite mileage bonus, and two free checked bags.
AAdvantage Platinum Pro members get complimentary auto-requested upgrades on flights, complimentary preferred seats and main cabin extra seats, a 72-hour upgrade window, an 80 percent elite mileage bonus, and two free checked bags.
AAdvantage Executive Platinum members get four one-way system-wide upgrades, complimentary auto-requested grades, complimentary preferred seats and main cabin extra seats, a 100-hour upgrade window, a 120 percent elite mileage bonus, and three free checked bags.
How Do American Airlines’ Miles Work?
You can earn miles when you fly, and elite members earn miles even faster. American Airlines awards points are based on dollars spent and not miles flown. There are other ways to earn points, too.
American Airlines has over 1,000 partners worldwide that allow you to earn miles for every dollar spent. These partners include airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines, retailers, and restaurants. American Airlines also has a rewards credit card with Citi that allows members to earn points with every purchase.
AAdvantage members can use their AAnytime awards miles to book a flight online or by calling an American Airlines reservation agent. You can purchase an upgrade for between 5,000 and 25,000 miles, depending upon the fare type and destination.
Car and hotel rewards allow you to pay with miles or a combination of cash plus miles. You can even redeem miles for retail gift cards online.
Who Are American Airlines Rewards Partners?
American Airlines is part of the One World group of airline partners, which means that you can also redeem your miles through AA.com for flights with partner airlines like British Airways, Finnair, Qantas, Iberia, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.
You can also book vacation packages through AA.com for destinations such as Universal Orlando, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, MGM Resorts Las Vegas, and Atlantis, Paradise Island.
How to Earn More Miles Faster
One of the easiest ways to earn miles faster is to sign up for one of the Citi AAdvantage credit cards. Cardholders earn one mile for every dollar spent on their credit card and two miles for every eligible American Airlines purchase. New cardholders can also earn 50,000 bonus miles for spending $2,500 on their credit card in the first three months.
Hotels and car rental companies also allow you to earn miles when you do business with them. Some hotels partner with American Airlines and give you miles for each stay, and other hotel rewards programs allow you to convert your hotel points into miles.
Most car rental companies also give you between 50 and 500 miles per rental day. You can even earn miles on your online purchases from over 950 stores by shopping online through the AAdvantage eShopping mall.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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