American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program

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If you regularly fly with American Airlines, you could reward every mile you travel with the airline’s AAdvantage frequent flyer program. Even if you’re not taking a flight, you can earn AAdvantage miles on other travel costs including hotels and car rentals. Once you’ve earned enough miles, you can redeem them for flight rewards, upgrades, holiday packages and more.

So whether you want to know how to earn more AAdvantage miles, the best ways to redeem them or how to climb up the status tiers, you can use this guide to get the most out of American Airlines’ frequent flyer program.

How to join the AAdvantage frequent flyer program

You can sign up to the AAdvantage frequent flyer program for free online. You don’t need to live in America to join the program, but you may find that many of the perks are geared towards frequent flyers who live in the United States.

Earning Miles

Flights

You can earn up to 75,000 AAdvantage miles when you fly with American Airlines. However, the number of miles you’ll earn will depend on the date, route and fare class for the booking. You may earn more miles depending on the AAdvantage status class you’re in:

StatusEarn rate
AAdvantage member5 miles per US$1
Gold member7 miles per US$1
Platinum member8 miles per US$1
Platinum Pro member9 miles per US$1
Executive Platinum member11 miles per US$1

You can also earn miles when you fly with partnered airlines in the oneworld Alliance including:

Qantas
British Airways
Cathay Pacific
Finnair
Iberia
Japan Airlines
LATAM Brasil
LATAM Chile
Malaysia Airlines
Qatar Airways
Royal Jordanian Airlines
S7 Airlines
Sri Lankan Airlines

Although they’re not in the oneworld Alliance, you can also earn miles with the following partnered airlines:

Air Tahiti Nui
Alaska Airlines
Cape Air
Etihad Airways
Fiji Airways
Gulf Air
Hawaiian Airlines
Interjet
Jet Airways
Searborne Airlines
WestJet

You can usually expect AAdvantage miles to appear in your account within one to three days of travel with American Airlines, but you should allow between 15-30 days for the miles to be credited to your account if your flight was with a partnered airline.

Credit cards

You can earn AAdvantage miles with Citi and Aviator credit cards in the USA, but there aren’t any credit cards in Australia that currently offer AAdvantage miles. You can compare other Australian credit cards that earn frequent flyer points on finder.

Buy miles

If you have a reward in mind but don’t have enough miles in your account, you can also purchase AAdvantage miles. You can purchase a minimum of 1,000 miles (US$29.50) and a maximum of 150,000 miles (US$4,425) and you can compare a full list of the costs on the American Airlines website.

AAdvantage sometimes offers bonus miles when frequent flyers purchase miles, so keep an eye of these offers to get more bang for your buck.

You can also transfer miles between accounts, which could come in handy if you and your partner or colleague are saving up points for a trip.

Do my AAdvantage miles expire?

Your AAdvantage miles will only expire if your account has been inactive for 18 months. As long as you earn or redeem miles at least once every 18 months, your miles will remain in your account. However, once they’ve expired, they’re gone.

AAdvantage elite status

When you fly with American Airlines or a oneworld member airline, you can earn Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) plus Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) or Elite Qualifying Segments (EQSs) which can help you climb the AAdvantage elite status tiers. This gives you access to exclusive perks including bonus miles, additional baggage and upgrade opportunities. The four elite status tiers are Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum.

Compare the different benefits you can expect across the tiers and how many miles you require to get there, below:

Tier perkGoldPlatinumPlatinum ProExecutive Platinum
Upgrades
  • Complimentary auto-requested upgrades on flights 500 miles or less
  • 24-hour upgrade window
  • Complimentary auto-requested upgrades on flights 500 miles or less
  • 48-hour upgrade window
  • Complimentary auto-requested upgrades
  • 72-hour upgrade window
  • Four one-way systemwide upgrades (with the ability to earn up to 4 more for a total of 8 per year)
  • Complimentary auto-requested upgrades
  • 100-hour upgrade window
Bonus miles40% elite mileage bonus60% elite mileage bonus80% elite mileage bonus120% elite mileage bonus
Preferred seatsYesYesYesYes
Free additional checked baggageYes, one free checked bagYes, two free checked bagsYes, two free checked bagsYes, three free checked bags

How to earn Elite Qualifying Dollars?

To reach a status, you need to earn the following EQMs, EQSs and EQDs within a calendar year:

QualificationExecutive Platinum oneworld EmeraldPlatinum Pro oneworld SapphireGold oneworld Ruby
100,00075,00050,00025,000
120906030
$12,000$9,000$6,000$3,000

Redeem miles

Award flights

The most obvious way to redeem your AAdvantage miles is on award travel. You can use your miles to fly with American Airlines, American Eagle or any oneworld airline (including Qantas) and other partnered airlines. The number of miles you’ll need to redeem an award flight will depend on where you’re flying and the travel class you choose, but you can use the flight award chart on the American Airlines website to see how many miles you’ll need to redeem specific flights.

Flight upgrades

You can also use your miles to upgrade existing flights with American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia. You can request to use miles to upgrade your flight at the time of booking or afterwards. Keep in mind that upgrades are subject to availability.

Cars, hotels and vacations

You can redeem your AAdvantage miles on other travel costs including car rental, hotels and vacation packages.

Car rental. You can redeem a minimum of 1,000 miles for car rental with Budget and Avis.

Hotels. You can use your miles to pay for hotel stays with partnered hotels including Hilton Hotels, Marriott, InterContinental, Hyatt Hotels and Starwood Hotels.

Vacations. You can book your entire holiday (including flights, hotels, car rentals, tours and more) using your miles. You can browse your options on the American Airlines Vacations website.

Admirals Club membership

If you want to wait for your next flight in style, you can also use your miles to pay for your Admirals Club membership to get access to the exclusive American Airlines lounges. These lounges include complimentary buffets, fully-stocked bars, shower suites and business centres. Individual new membership starts at 85,000 miles. The costs may vary depending on whether you’re renewing your membership, purchasing an individual or household membership and which elite status tier you belong to.

How does American Airlines AAdvantage compare?

Are you considering joining the AAdvantage program? Before you sign up, have a look at how it compares to Australia’s Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia Velocity programs before you make your decision.

To give you an idea, we’ve compared some details including the points expiry, airline alliances and perks you can expect from the first status tier across the three frequent flyer programs.

Points expiry

While both Qantas and American Airlines’ frequent flyer points expire after your account has been inactive for 18 months, Virgin Australia Velocity Points expire after 36 months of inactivity.

Status comparison

Status perkAmerican Airlines AAdvantage GoldQantas Frequent Flyer SilverVirgin Australia Velocity Silver
Bonus pointsYes, 25% bonus50% bonusUp to 50% bonus
Priority reservation waitlistNoYesYes
Alliance membershipYes, oneworld allianceYes, oneworld allianceNo (but does have airline partners)
Priority phone serviceYesYesYes
Preferential seatingYesYesYes
Extra baggage allowanceYesYesYes
Priority check-inYesYesYes
Lounge accessNoYesYes
Family poolingNo, but you can share and transfer pointsNoYes

As you can see, AAdvantage shares a lot of the same perks as Qantas and Velocity. As American Airlines is a Qantas partner, you may also find that you can take advantage of many of the perks even if you’re regularly flying out of Australia.

Pictures: Shutterstock

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12 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    VictorFebruary 13, 2018

    How many frequent flyer miles to I have and also my wife Rose My # X and Rose’s Y

    • Staff
      JonathanFebruary 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Victor, thanks for your inquiry.

      It would be best to log in to your account on the American Airlines website, or contact them directly on 02-9101-1948 (24 hours).

      Best,

      Jonathan

  2. Default Gravatar
    jimAugust 10, 2017

    Which is a better rewards program for miles American airlines advantage program or Qantas program,And why is one better than the other?

    • Staff
      DanielleAugust 10, 2017Staff

      Hi Jim,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      We won’t be able to tell which one is better for you since it would depend on your personal situation and circumstance. However, you check our review on the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program here so that you may compare it to the American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  3. Default Gravatar
    DianaApril 9, 2016

    What if I have already booked a cruise on line for carnival can I use my advantage program at the time I check in to obtain miles

    • Staff
      SallyApril 13, 2016Staff

      Hi Diana,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you didn’t quote your American Airlines AAdvantage membership number at the time of booking, you will need to complete and submit a “request mileage credit” form.

      You can only redeem miles for travel from the past 12 months. Make sure you have the details of your trip handy when you’re completing the form.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  4. Default Gravatar
    pilot1939@gmail.com,nurse1942@icloud.comOctober 29, 2015

    Three seniors want to use points for one-way business class tickets from PHL to SIN.
    Right now, they have accumulated approximately 500,000 points including 300,000 AA points, 110,000 USAA Mastercard and 75,000 AMEX points Travel date is 28 Mar. 2016. How can we do it?

    • Staff
      SallyOctober 29, 2015Staff

      Hello,

      Thanks for your question.

      If these points aren’t all pooled under one account, you’ll all need to book your flights separately to claim the points that are relevant to your specific account.

      For those who have accrued points in programs outside of the American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer program, you’ll need to transfer your points to AAdvantage points or quote your rewards number at the time of booking to redeem your points.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Sally

  5. Default Gravatar
    alimSeptember 15, 2015

    Hi there,

    I am a frequent Flyer member with Qantas and also a member on AAdvantage with American Airlines. I fly American a lot and I have points with both American and Qantas. Can I merge my AA points with my Qantas oneworld points? And how do I do that?

    • Staff
      SallySeptember 15, 2015Staff

      Hi Alim,

      Thank you for your question.

      While you can’t directly transfer your Qantas points to your American Express account (or vice versa), you can use a combination of your Qantas and American Express points to redeem oneworld rewards with either airline.

      I’ve emailed you a link to the Qantas “Using points with partner airlines” webpage for further information.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Sally

  6. Default Gravatar
    suzanJanuary 18, 2014

    Will be flying on Qatar Airways from JFK to NBO. As an AA Gold Member (1 million miles) do I get priority check in and boarding and when booking my flight can I choose preferred seat in economy? Thank you

    • Staff
      ShirleyJanuary 20, 2014Staff

      Hi Suzan,

      Thanks for your comment.

      According to the AA website the benefits you’ll receive from flying Qatar Airlines as a AA Gold member is that you earn miles towards your membership.

      To confirm whether you get priority checkin and preferred seating, please enquire directly to Qatar Airways.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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