- Valuable miles when used to book free flights
- Bonus miles on flight bookings based on rewards tier
- Solid co-branded credit cards
- No blackout dates on reward flights
- Miles expire after 24 months of account inactivity
- Miles cost more to buy than they are worth
- Fee for reactivating expired miles
AAdvantage Review Summary
The American Airlines AAdvantage program is the 5th best frequent flyer program for 2023, according to WalletHub’s review. Some of AAdvantage’s biggest strengths include miles worth an average of 1.18 cents apiece, big earning bonuses and lots of airline partners.
Below, you can learn everything you really need to know about the AAdvantage program, from its status levels and benefits to how many miles are needed for a free flight. You can also see how AAdvantage compares to other popular frequent flyer programs.
AAdvantage Review Scorecard
#4 for Earning Policies
#8 for Rewards Value
#7 for Redemption Policies
#2 for Destination Coverage
#9 for Other Features
|AAdvantage Miles Needed for a Free Flight:||Min: 7,500 |
|Average AAdvantage Mile Value:||1 mile= 1.18 cents |
1,000 miles= $11.8
|AAdvantage Airline Partners:||22, including: |
Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and British Airways.
How to Earn AAdvantage Miles
Category Rating: 78% (11.71/15)
AAdvantage members earn miles on purchases made through American Airlines and its partners. You can see exactly which types of transactions accrue miles and the number of miles you’ll receive per dollar spent below.
- 5 - 11 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent: American Airlines flights
- 0.5 - 3 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent: Flights on partner airlines like British Airways, Japan Airlines and Qantas
- 1 - 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent: Purchases on an American Airlines credit card
- 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent: Stays at hotel partners like Hyatt, Marriot, and IHG
- 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent: Cruises from partners like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, and Princess Cruises
- 1 AAdvantage mile per $1 spent: Rentals from preferred car rental partners like Avis, Budget, Payless, Alamo, National, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty. The points structure depends on the partner, either 1 point per $1 spent, 50 miles per day or 500 per rental
- Up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles per stay Special American Airlines vacation deals with hotel partners
- 10 AAdvanatge miles per $1 on donation: On donation of $25 or more to Stand Up to Cancer today
- 1 – 7 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent: Shop at over 1200+ online stores
- 1 – 5 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent: AAdvantage Dining (plus 1,000 miles for spending $25 in the first 30 days)
In addition, you may be able to find special deals on AAdvantage flights on the American Airlines website, where you may earn more miles than usual or have to spend fewer than usual on a booking. So keep an eye out for those.
Other Key Things to Know About Earning AAdvantage Miles
Earning limitations: American Airlines does not specify a maximum number of points you can earn per ticket.
Retroactive flight credit for members: AAdvantage members can get credited for miles from any American Airlines flight taken in the past 12 months if their frequent flyer number was not on the reservation (as long as they were a member at the time).
Retroactive flight credit for non-members: New AAdvantage members can get miles for flights taken up to one month before they became a member.
How Much Are AAdvantage Miles Worth?
Category Rating: 52% (10.36/20)
AAdvantage miles are worth 1.18 cents each on average, according to WalletHub’s research. That means you need about 32,500 AAdvantage miles to get a free flight, based on the average domestic fare of $383.
Below, you can check out how many AAdvantage miles you’ll need for some popular round-trip routes, on average.
- New York to Los Angeles: 45,900 miles (or $541.70)
- Los Angeles to Washington DC: 51,000 miles (or $602.71)
- Los Angeles to London: 124,500 miles (or $1,469.58)
How to Redeem AAdvantage Miles
Category Rating: 72% (14.39/20)
|Redemption Method||More Info|
|Flights||Get flights with American Airlines and oneworld Alliance partners.|
|Upgrade your class on American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia flights.|
Cars, hotels and vacations
|Book car rentals, hotel stays and vacation packages in over 500 destinations.|
Main Cabin seats
|Reserve the best seats in the Main Cabin.|
|Get access to luxury experiences like special dining at airports, gate escorts and VIP baggage delivery.|
|Trade miles for subscriptions to your local newspaper or national papers like the Wall Street Journal.|
|Use your miles to make charitable donations to Miles for Social Good, Miles for Global Health and Well-Being, Miles for Heroes, or Miles for our Planet.|
|Pay for or renew your membership in the American Airlines airport lounge network.|
Other Key Things to Know About Redeeming AAdvantage Miles
- There are no booking blackout dates.
- You can book a flight with miles anywhere from 331 days to 2 hours before departure.
- There is no short-notice booking fee.
- American Airlines does not allow stopovers on reward flights.
- There is no award-ticket redeposit/cancellation fee.
Other Features of the AAdvantage Program
Category Rating: 26% (5.16/20)
The American Airlines AAdvantage rewards program is free to join, but you won’t get any benefits from it other than earning miles and priority boarding until you qualify for an “elite” level. Qualification for AAdvantage elite status is based on loyalty points (1 loyalty point = 1 AAdvantage Mile).
The more flights you take with American Airlines, and the more money you spend with an AAdvantage credit card, the higher your status level will go. The higher your AAdvantage status level is, the more benefits you will receive on American Airlines flights and the more you will save when you fly.
Below, you can see exactly what you’ll need to do to achieve and maintain each AAdvantage status level, along with the perks that come with it.
|AAdvantage Levels||How to Qualify||Miles Bonus||Other Notable Perks|
|AAdvantage® Gold||40,000 Loyalty points||40%||Complimentary automatic upgrades on flights 500 miles or less, when available |
24-hour upgrade window
Complimentary Main Cabin Extra Seats (seats with additional room/perks), when available
Complimentary Preferred Seats, when available
1 free checked bag
|AAdvantage® Platinum||75,000 Loyalty Points||60%||Complimentary automatic upgrades on flights 500 miles or less, when available |
48-hour upgrade window
Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats, when available
2 free checked bags
|AAdvantage® Platinum Pro||125,000 Loyalty Points||80%||1 Elite choice rewards |
Complimentary automatic upgrades on flights all flights, when available
72-hour upgrade window
Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats (seats with additional room/perks), when available
3 free checked bags
|AAdvantage® Executive Platinum||200,000 Loyalty Points||120%||2 Elite choice rewards |
Complimentary automatic upgrades on all flights, when available
100-hour upgrade window
Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats (seats with additional room/perks), when available
3 free checked bags
Members must satisfy a given status level’s qualifying requirements in the past 12-month period starting on March 1 of each year to reach or maintain that status level and enjoy its benefits. Once you earn any AAdvantage status level, you will keep it for the rest of the current calendar year, until March 31 of next year.
Other Key Features
- Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity (no earning or redemption).
- You can reactivate expired miles, for a fee starting at $40 (based on the number of miles).
- You can transfer miles between accounts.
- Miles cost more to buy than they’re worth, as AAdvantage miles are sold at a 108% markup, on average.
Where Can AAdvantage Miles Take You?
Category Rating: 83% (20.66/25)
American Airlines flies to 224 U.S. destinations and 122 international destinations. In addition, American Airlines has 13 partner airlines from the oneworld Alliance and 9 non-alliance partners, which collectively visit 327 U.S. destinations and 1,626 international destinations.
You can earn AAdvantage miles by flying with any of the American Airlines partner airlines. You can also redeem AAdvantage miles for flights on most of them. You can’t directly transfer miles from the loyalty programs of these partners to AAdvantage or vice versa, however. For example, you can’t turn AAdvantage miles into Alaska Airlines miles.
Summary: AAdvantage Scores by Review Category
AAdvantage Credit Cards
Opinions and ratings are our own. This content is not provided, commissioned or endorsed by any issuer. Some offers are from WalletHub partners.
Applying for a AAdvantage credit card is worth considering if you have good credit or better and fly with American Airlines several times each year. There isn’t just one American Airlines credit card, though. You can get a sense of what each offer brings to the table below.
AAdvantage Credit Card Offers Compared:
|AAdvantage Credit Card||Annual Fee||Initial Bonus|
|American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®||$0||10,000 miles + $50 statement credit|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®||$0 intro 1st yr, $99 after||50,000 miles|
|American Airlines AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red Credit Card||$99||60,000 miles|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||$450||50,000 miles|
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®||$0 intro 1st yr, $99 after||65,000 miles|
For more information, check out our complete review of the latest American Airlines credit card offers.
8 Tips for AAdvantage Members
- The best way to redeem AAdvantage miles is for American Airlines flights. Miles are worth 1.18 cents apiece that way.
- Pool or transfer miles if it makes sense. AAdvantage allows members to pool their miles together for easier redemption.
- Avoid buying AAdvantage miles, if possible. AAdvantage miles cost more to purchase than they are worth when redeemed, on average. However, it could be worth buying a small number if it puts you over the top for a free flight.
- Take advantage of status perks. One of the biggest reasons why airline rewards programs are worth joining is that their status levels tend to provide a wealth of benefits, such as bonus miles, free checked bags and complimentary upgrades. Make sure you take advantage of everything the airline offers.
- Consider applying for a AAdvantage credit card. The best AAdvantage credit card could save the average person roughly $2,000 over the first two years of use, according to WalletHub’s calculations.
- Try the Island Approach with your credit cards. AAdvantage credit cards offer competitive rewards on American Airlines flights, but different credit cards may provide better terms on other types of transactions. Using a collection of cards for specialized purposes can enable you to get the best deal on everything you buy.
- Make sure to read American Airlines reviews & AAdvantage FAQs. Learning from experts and fellow travelers will help you pick up some helpful tips as well as avoid tricks and pitfalls.
- Compare your flight options if you’re not wedded to AAdvantage. American Airlines is not the only airline with a rewarding loyalty program. You can see how AAdvantage compares to a couple of popular alternatives below. You can also check out WalletHub’s rankings of the Best Frequent Flyer Programs to learn more.
AAdvantage vs. SkyMiles vs. MileagePlus
|Category||American Airlines AAdvantage||Delta SkyMiles||United MileagePlus|
|Average Mile Value||1.18 cents||1.12 cents||1.19 cents|
|Average Daily U.S. Departures||1,991||1,994||1,150|
|Mile expiration||After 24 months of inactivity||Never||Never|
|Credit Card to Consider||American Airlines AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red Credit Card||Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||United℠ Explorer Card|
AAdvantage Review Methodology
Overall program rankings are based on the same methodology as WalletHub’s annual study on the Best Frequent Flyer Programs. Editor’s ratings reflect the sum of each rewards program’s scores across the study’s 6 major categories – airline coverage, partner coverage, rewards value, earning policies, redemption policies and other features – adjusted to a 5-point scale, to create a representative distribution of ratings.
WalletHub calculated American Airlines AAdvantage mile values by comparing flight rates between U.S. cities and popular travel destinations – both domestic and international – to the number of miles needed to book a flight. We applied the process to round-trip flights from Friday to Monday for each destination’s high and shoulder tourist seasons.