Here are the best ways, in our opinion, to rack up American Airlines miles fast.
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You can fly American Airlines to nearly anywhere around the globe, whether you want to visit beautiful Caribbean beaches, ancient Greek ruins or surreal temples in Cambodia.
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 heap of AAdvantage miles is by signing up for a co-branded American Airlines credit card. Each co-branded card offers a sign-up bonus for meeting a minimum spending requirement within a few months, making it quick and straightforward to earn a bunch of miles in a short amount of time.
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
|Card||Introductory bonus||Estimated value**|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||80,000 miles if you spend $5,500 in first 3 months from account opening||$800|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®*||50,000 miles if you spend $2,500 in first 3 months from account opening||$500|
|American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card||10,000 miles and $50 statement credit if you spend $500 in first 3 months||$150|
|AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®*||50,000 miles if you make a purchase and pay the annual fee in full in the first 90 days from account opening||$500|
|CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®*||65,000 miles if you spend $4,000 in first 4 months from account opening||$650|
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 pile of AAdvantage miles in a hurry, if you decided to apply to two AAdvantage cards across both issuers.
**According to Bankrate’s point valuation, American Airlines points are worth an average of 1 cent per point.
2. Add authorized users to your accounts
Adding an authorized user can indeed help the user build their credit score, but it also multiplies the rewards of the primary account holder. By adding an authorized user to your credit card, you can ensure you’re earning miles on all your family or business-related purchases — even when you’re not around.
If you’re lucky, you may also receive targeted offers for additional miles by mail when you add an authorized user.
3. Have your spouse to sign up for AAdvantage credit cards
Your spouse’s new AAdvantage card will add another 50,000 to 65,000 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 are limited to transfer up to 200,000 miles a year, per AAdvantage account, and the transfers are irreversible and non-exchangeable.
With your spouse also holding an AAdvantage card, you will both be able to enjoy card benefits twice over 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 1,200 stores and exclusive opportunities for loyalty members. To earn miles, simply log in to the portal using your AAdvantage number, click your preferred retailer store and make a purchase, like you normally would.
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 Adidas, along with travel brands like Marriott and streaming services like Hulu. Also, the miles you earn through portal shopping are awarded on top of any miles you earn when you pay with a co-branded AAdvantage credit card.
5. Fly with American Airlines and its airline 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 2.8 and 4.4 miles per dollar that you spend with American Airlines, depending on your AAdvantage loyalty status.
You can also earn AAdvantage miles flying with any of American Airlines’ 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. Stay with American Airlines hotel partners
If you’d like to earn AAdvantage miles elsewhere during your travels, not just during the flight legs of your trip, you could stay with one of American Airlines’ hotel partners. With Hyatt, you earn a flat rate of 500 miles per stay, at most of the brands in its collection. As for Marriott or InterContinental, you’ll earn up to 2X miles, which can quickly add up.
For those with no preference and looking to gain the most miles for their hotel stay, you could stay at one of the American Airlines Hotels, which connects you to various individual hotels partnered with the airline. This avenue could get you up to 10,000 miles a night.
7. Book rental cars through AAdvantage
It is also quite easy to earn additional AAdvantage miles by booking rental cars through the program. Additional miles are offered on rental cars through companies such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar and Hertz. Some bonus offers provide discounts, in addition to the AAdvantage miles — Avis gives you 35 percent off base rates and rewards you with up to 5,000 miles on a three-day or longer rental.
8. Sign up for the AAdvantage dining program
With AAdvantage Dining, you can earn miles just for signing up for the program and dining at participating restaurants. Thankfully, the restaurants should include a mix of local eateries as well as fast food chains.
You can even receive a small bonus just for signing up — right now it’s 1,000 miles if you spend $25 in your first 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.
9. 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.
10. Earn miles through additional partners
Other than earning miles with American Airlines’ numerous travel partners, 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 living in Texas and using Reliant for electricity, using a Groupon coupon or taking a survey with Miles for Opinions.
Make sure to check with American Airlines to learn about their latest bonus offers.
There are plenty of effortless ways to earn American Airlines miles. Of course, the simplest way is using an AAdvantage card to make purchases and nabbing its welcome offer. Frequent flyers can book travel with American Airlines partners to earn miles, whereas occasional travelers can get miles by using the shopping portal, adding an authorized user or capitalizing on bonus offers.
If you’re going to travel or shop, 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?
*All information about the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, Citi / 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.