Sally McMullen is Finder's credit cards and frequent flyer editor by day and a music maven by night. Her byline can be spotted on Yahoo Finance, Dynamic Business, Financy and Mamamia as well as Music Feeds and Rolling Stone.
American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program
From earning miles to redeeming rewards, discover how the American Airlines AAdvantage program works.
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.
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:
|AAdvantage member||5 miles per US$1|
|Gold member||7 miles per US$1|
|Platinum member||8 miles per US$1|
|Platinum Pro member||9 miles per US$1|
|Executive Platinum member||11 miles per US$1|
You can also earn miles when you fly with partnered airlines in the oneworld Alliance including:
Royal Jordanian Airlines
Sri Lankan Airlines
Royal Jordanian 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
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.
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.
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 perk||Gold||Platinum||Platinum Pro||Executive Platinum|
|Bonus miles||40% elite mileage bonus||60% elite mileage bonus||80% elite mileage bonus||120% elite mileage bonus|
|Free additional checked baggage||Yes, one free checked bag||Yes, two free checked bags||Yes, two free checked bags||Yes, 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:
|Qualification||Executive Platinum oneworld Emerald||Platinum Pro oneworld Sapphire||Gold oneworld Ruby|
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.
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.
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 perk||American Airlines AAdvantage Gold||Qantas Frequent Flyer Silver||Virgin Australia Velocity Silver|
|Bonus points||Yes, 25% bonus||50% bonus||Up to 50% bonus|
|Priority reservation waitlist||No||Yes||Yes|
|Alliance membership||Yes, oneworld alliance||Yes, oneworld alliance||No (but does have airline partners)|
|Priority phone service||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Extra baggage allowance||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Family pooling||No, but you can share and transfer points||No||Yes|
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.
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