10 ways to earn American Airlines miles

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

Earning AAdvantage miles


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You can fly American to just about anywhere on the globe, whether you want to visit beautiful Caribbean beaches, ancient ruins in Athens, Greece, or Easter Island, a remote volcanic paradise tucked in the Pacific Ocean and famed for its archeological 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 cobranded AAdvantage credit cards

The fastest way to rack up a huge stash of miles is by signing up for a cobranded credit card. Each cobranded 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

  Introductory bonus Estimated value

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard (This offer is no longer available through our site as of Oct. 18, 2018)

75,000 miles if you spend $7,500 in first 3 months

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

50,000 miles if you spend $2,500 in first 3 months

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

60,000 miles if you make a purchase in first 90 days and pay the annual fee

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
  • 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
  • 10,000 additional miles if you spend $10,000 total in first 12 months
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard

60,000 miles if you make a purchase in first 90 days and pay the annual fee


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.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Why should you get this card?

The AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard from Citi is worth getting due to its generous sign-up bonus and numerous perks.

More things to know:

  • 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines, gas station and restaurant purchases and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $2,500 in first 3 months
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed miles back each year
  • 25% savings on in-flight purchases
  • First checked back free


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 via the 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

Just like many other rewards programs, the American AAdvantage program has an e-shopping mall 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 Macys and Kohls 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 cobranded AAdvantage credit card.

4. Shop via the AAdvantage shopping portal

Amex Offers is a discount program that connects to all American Express credit cards, including Delta SkyMiles cards. While many of the promotions are cash back offers, you may occasionally see a bonus offer for Delta SkyMiles. Make sure to check Amex Offers frequently so you can take advantage of these offers when they come up.

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 the 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 AAdvamtage 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 cobranded 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: What are American Airlines miles worth?, Which American Airlines credit card is best for you?, Best ways to redeem AAdvantage miles, American Airlines partners, American Airlines elite status, Admirals Club membership, Booking a flight with AAdvantage milesAmerican Airlines shopping mall guide

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Updated: 03-21-2019