The AAdvantage program is a frequent flyer miles/rewards program from American Airlines that lets customers earn reward miles for both travel and purchases with a co-branded credit card through Citi. There are 11 AAdvantage credit cards, and each one has its own rate of earning and specific terms; some of them are geared for businesses and others are for individuals.
How Do AAdvantage Miles Work?
The Citi AAdvantage cards, such as the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, generally offer one mile for each dollar spent on all purchases. Otherwise, when spending on American Airlines travel, cards can earn more miles per purchase. Most customers use these accumulated miles for discounts on future trips and could potentially fly for free after collecting enough miles.
If you don’t fly often, however, you might let those miles sit unused. Or, even when you do try to use your miles to fly, you might find that due to blackout dates and other rules and policies you can’t secure the flight you want.
How to Redeem AAdvantage Miles for Gift Cards
There are other things you can redeem your miles for, however—such as gift cards to your favorite retailers, restaurants, and websites. Yes, you can redeem American Airlines miles for gift cards for a wide variety of merchants for both online purchases and in-person shopping.
Points.com is a loyalty wallet site that allows you to trade your miles and reward points for merchant gift cards. Membership at the site is free and there are over 100 merchants, restaurants, and other vendors where can trade in your points for gifts cards. In order to get started, just go to Points.com and sign up for a free account. Next, link your frequent flyer miles or rewards account, and you can start shopping immediately.
Why Redeeming American Airlines Miles for Gift Cards May Not Be Worth It
Before you run off and spend all your miles, however, there are a few things you need to know about trading your miles for gift cards. If you use your miles for travel, you can usually get a domestic economy flight round-trip for about 25,000 or 30,000 miles, depending on the distance (New York to Los Angeles is going to cost more miles than Dallas to Denver, for example).
If you use them to purchase merchandise, however, you’ll see a much lower value for those miles. A total of 40,000 miles, for instance, may only get you a $25 gift certificate at your favorite movie theater. Using your miles card purchases to ‘save up’ for a free or discounted night at the movies is a great idea, but depending on how often you use your card, it could take a while. You might decide that the trade value of miles to gift cards isn’t good enough—and they’re different depending on the merchant.
There’s no right or wrong answer about whether using your miles to get gift cards instead of travel is a good idea. It’s completely dependent on your situation—how often you use your card, how often you travel, or what merchants you’d like a gift card from.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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