10 ways to earn American Airlines miles

You have many options for earning AAdvantage miles besides flying on American Airlines


Here are the best ways, in our opinion, to rack up American Airlines miles fast.

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You can fly American to just about anywhere on the globe, whether you want to visit beautiful Caribbean beaches, Ancient Greek ruins, or Easter Island, a remote volcanic paradise tucked in the Pacific Ocean and famed for its archaeological sites.

You can reach many of these destinations for free with the AAdvantage program, the frequent flyer program of American Airlines. And it may be much easier than you think to earn the airline miles you need for an epic trip.

Keep reading to learn about the best ways to rack up AAdvantage miles to plan your dream vacation this year.

1. Sign up for co-branded AAdvantage credit cards

The fastest way to pile up a huge stash of AAdvantage miles is by signing up for a co-branded credit card. Each co-branded American Airlines credit card offers a sign-up bonus for meeting a minimum spending requirement within a few months. Many times, the sign-up bonus alone can be enough for a few round-trip economy flights within the U.S. or one round-trip international flight:

American Airlines sign-up bonuses

CardIntroductory bonusEstimated value**
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®50,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months from account opening$950
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®*50,000 miles if you spend $2,500 in first 3 months from account opening$950
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard60,000 miles if you make a purchase in first 90 days from account opening and pay the annual fee$1,140
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®*65,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in first 4 months from account opening$1,235
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard60,000 miles if you make a purchase in first 90 days from account opening and pay the annual fee$1,140

The best part about earning sign-up bonuses with AAdvantage credit cards is the fact that two banks – Barclays and Citi – offer them. This makes it easier to earn more sign-up bonuses in a short amount of time, which can help you boost your stash of AAdvantage miles in a hurry.

**We estimate AAdvantage miles at 1.9 cents per mile.

2. Add authorized users to your accounts

By adding authorized users to your credit cards, you can ensure you’re earning miles on all your family or business-related purchases – even when you’re not around.

You may also receive targeted offers for additional miles by mail when you add an authorized user. Recently, we’ve seen offers for the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard for 2,500 bonus miles after you add an authorized user who spends $3,000 on his or her card within 90 days.

3. Get your spouse to sign up for AAdvantage credit cards

Your spouse’s new AAdvantage card will add another 50,000 to 70,000 miles in sign-up bonus to your marital AAdvantage stash, depending on the card. After that, when planning a trip together, you can book the other’s fare from either of your AAdvantage accounts, based on which of you has more miles at the time. If there’s not quite enough to cover a flight, you can transfer miles to each other for a fee via AAdvantage transfer page. You will also have the convenience of shared card benefits when you fly together, including an extra free checked bag per card and priority boarding.

4. Shop via the AAdvantage shopping portal

Just like many other rewards programs, the American AAdvantage program has an online shopping portal you can access to earn additional miles. This portal connects you with over 950 stores and exclusive opportunities for loyalty members. All you have to do is click through from the portal to a retailer’s site before you make a purchase online.

While the stores and earning rates may change periodically, the miles you earn here can really add up. The list of online retailers frequently includes Macy’s and Kohl’s, along with travel brands like Marriott. Also, the miles you earn through portal shopping are awarded on top of miles you earn when you pay with a co-branded AAdvantage credit card.

5. Fly with American Airlines and its partners

While credit cards and online shopping can help you rack up miles, a more obvious way to earn AAdvantage miles is by flying with American Airlines. You can earn between 5 and 11 miles per dollar that you spend with American Airlines, depending on your level of status. You can also earn AAdvantage miles with any of American Airlines’ 23 airline partners. You just need to designate your preference for AAdvantage miles when you book your ticket since you can’t earn miles on both airlines.

6. Earn points with Starwood Preferred Guest or Marriott Rewards

When the Starwood Preferred Guest program completed its merger with Marriott Rewards in August of 2018, many frequent flyers were thrilled to learn the refreshed program would preserve its airline transfer partners and even add some more. This means that if you’re earning miles in either the Starwood Preferred Guest or Marriott Rewards program, you can transfer all those points to the AAdvantage program.

7. Sign up for the AAdvantage dining program

With the AAdvantage Dining program, you can earn miles just for signing up and dining at participating restaurants.

You can even rack up bonus miles for signing up for the program and spending $25 at a participating restaurant within 30 days. This mile-earning strategy is easy to execute, provided there are participating restaurants in your area. Be sure to check the AAdvantage Dining program website to get a full list of restaurants in your area.

8. Book a vacation package

American Airlines also offers vacation packages that include airfare, hotels and experiences. These packages can be a good value on their own, but it helps that they sometimes offer bonus miles as an incentive to book a package.

While deals change all the time, you can occasionally earn 20,000 to 25,000 bonus miles for booking packages with specific hotel brands or for specific destinations. Also, remember that these miles are offered in addition to miles you’ll earn for paying with a co-branded AAdvantage credit card.

9. Earn miles through additional partners

In addition to all the other options available, the AAdvantage program lets you earn miles with a roster of partners and businesses. These offers tend to change from time to time, but can include options like investing with Betterment, ordering flowers through FTD Flowers and trying the Blue Apron in-home menu service.

Make sure to check with American Airlines to learn about their latest bonus offers.

10. Book rental cars and hotels through AAdvantage

Finally, it’s important to note just how easy it is to earn additional AAdvantage miles by booking hotels and rental cars through the program. Additional miles are offered on rental cars through companies such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar and Hertz. Meanwhile, you can earn up to 10,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when you book a hotel through the platform.

If you’re going to book rental cars and hotels anyway, you may as well rack up some additional miles for your next vacation. The American AAdvantage program makes it easy, so why not give it a try?

See Related: Best ways to redeem AAdvantage miles

*All information about theCiti / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard and CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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