American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® Review [2024]: Free Flights, No Annual Fee

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
Use this credit card to earn valuable American Airlines miles — without paying an annual fee. (Citi is a FinanceBuzz partner.)
Updated Feb. 9, 2024
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Airline branded credit cards are a great way to quickly earn miles with your favorite airline. The American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® is an excellent example. It’s a $0-annual fee airline card that can earn cardholders free flights through spending, and it also comes with a modest welcome bonus.

However, there are many airline credit cards on the market, so how do you know which is the right one for you? Does the MileUp card have the earning power and perks to compete with other travel credit cards? Keep reading this American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card review to find out.

Earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles

4.0

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®

Current Offer

Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services; 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases; and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Key takeaways

  • If you always fly American Airlines and you want a card with a $0 annual fee, then the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® has a decent rewards rate on grocery stores (including grocery delivery services) and eligible American Airlines purchases.
  • This card doesn’t give you high-level American Airlines perks, like a free checked bag or priority boarding. But you can earn Loyalty Points to increase your AAdvantage status.
  • There are other no-annual-fee travel cards with higher rewards rates on everyday spending, like gas and entertainment, that might be more rewarding for you than the MilesUp card.

Who should get this card?

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card is best for occasional travelers who prefer flying American Airlines. It’s also perfect for American Airlines fans who want to earn miles for free travel, but don’t want to pay any annual fees or have a strong preference for travel perks.

Other people who could benefit from having the AAdvantage MileUp Card are those who spend a significant amount of money at grocery stores, which is one of the ways you can earn extra miles. That’s because this card earns you 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services; 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases; and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.

If you’re a more frequent traveler, other travel credit cards may suit your needs better and come with more perks. Other American Airlines credit cards, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, are better suited for those who travel regularly and would benefit from perks like free checked bags and priority boarding with American Airlines — neither of which is offered with the MileUp card. Additionally, if you aren’t tied to American Airlines, there are many great travel credit cards with more bang for your buck, as well.

Finally, if you like to travel internationally, pass on this card. The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card carries a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.

AAdvantage MileUp card basics

Card Type Travel
Card Issuer Citi
Annual Fee $0
Welcome Bonus Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

Why we like this card: benefits and perks

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening as a new cardholder.
  • No miles cap: There’s no cap on the miles you can earn with the MileUp card.
  • In-Flight savings: When you fly American Airlines, you get 25% off of inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card.
  • No annual fee: The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card has no annual fee to worry about.
  • Loyalty Points: Earn one Loyalty Point per one eligible mile earned from purchases. Loyalty Points can help you achieve elite status with American Airlines.

What we don't like about this card: drawbacks

Unlike some other airline credit cards, the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® doesn’t come with perks like a free checked bag or priority boarding. If you want these more premium benefits, then you should consider other American Airlines cards like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

Earning and redeeming AAdvantage rewards

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your rewards can add up with the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1.77 cents each.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $1027.04

Year two earnings: $800.04

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending and the welcome bonus.

Best ways to earn

Like most airline credit cards, one of the most effective ways to quickly earn points with the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card is through purchases eligible for bonus rewards points. Cardholders earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services; 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases; and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. 

Eligible American Airlines purchases include direct purchases made through American Airlines’ website, reservation phone line, ticket counters, and American Airlines Admirals Club.

Categories Rewards rate
Grocery stores (including grocery delivery services) and eligible American Airlines purchases 2X
All other purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card offers a handful of redemption choices for its cardholders. The main draw of having an airline credit card is to redeem your miles for award travel, and this is indeed the best use of your AAdvantage miles. Your miles can also be used for upgrades on American Airlines flights as well as partner flights on British Airways and Iberia.

Beyond free flights, your AAdvantage miles can be used for other redemptions. These include car rentals, hotel reservations, vacation packages, Admirals Club membership, gift cards and other products, and Lifelock identity theft protection. You can even donate your miles to various charities if you desire.

FAQ

Do you get priority boarding with the AAdvantage MileUp Card?

No, unfortunately the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card doesn’t provide any special boarding privileges on American Airlines.

Can you use the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card anywhere?

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card is a Mastercard, which means it is widely accepted around the world. However, it does charge a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.

How many miles do you need for a free flight on American?

To earn a free flight on American Airlines, you’ll need a minimum of 7,500 miles for MileSAAver award flights of a distance less than 500 miles. Most MileSAAver flights longer than 500 miles start at 12,500 miles. Flights outside of the U.S., as well as premium economy, business class, and first-class flights, require more miles.

Do the American Airlines miles I earn with the AAdvantage MileUp Card expire?

American Airlines miles don’t expire as long as you earn or redeem miles with American or one of their travel partners at least once every 18 months.

What is the best American Airlines credit card?

The best American Airlines credit card depends on your specific needs and what you are looking for in a credit card. For example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles (after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months) and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® offers a welcome bonus of 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles (after spending $7,000 in the first 3 months), but both these cards also have annual fees.

Other cards to consider

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a more robust overall travel credit card for loyal American Airlines travelers. It has a 70,000-mile welcome bonus (after spending $7,000 in the first 3 months) and earns 4X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases (after spending $150,000 per calendar year this goes up to 5X for the remainder of the calendar year). With this card, the first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines travel for you and up to four companions. You’ll also receive priority boarding on all American Airlines flights. The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite does have an annual fee of $595.

If you’re looking for a good travel credit card that isn’t tied to a specific airline, check out the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. It has a $0 annual fee, and you can earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. The VentureOne Rewards Credit Card also earns unlimited 5 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Venture miles can be redeemed for statement credits on travel purchases or transferred to one of Capital One’s many travel partners. This card is one of the most versatile no-annual-fee travel credit cards available.

Bottom line

The American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® can be a good choice for frequent flyers on American Airlines who want rewards back on everyday spending like groceries. While this card doesn’t come with some classic airline benefits like a checked bag, it’s $0 annual fee is a perk.

Check out our best travel credit cards for other options to earn travel miles.

Earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles

4.0

American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp®

Why We Like It

Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

See how these cards compare:

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening (limited time offer)
  • 4X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases (after spending $150,000 per calendar year this goes up to 5X for the remainder of the calendar year)
  • First checked bag free
  • Admirals Club membership and priority check-in
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 19.99% - 29.99% (variable) APR; Balance transfer fee applies
  • 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • Rates and fees

Author Details

Kevin Payne Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in student loans, credit cards, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Club Thrifty, Millennial Money, and Student Loan Planner. As the budget and family travel expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com, Kevin recently turned his writing side hustle into his full-time career. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.

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