American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card Review: Free Flights, No Fee [2020]

Use this credit card to earn valuable American Airlines miles — without paying an annual fee.
Last updated Nov 19, 2020 | By Kevin Payne

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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 Card 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 miles

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

Benefits

  • Earn up to 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent
  • No mileage caps
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Best suited for American Airline travelers
  • 3% foreign transaction fee


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 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at grocery stores and on American Airlines purchases, plus 1X on everything else.

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.

Card basics

Card Type Travel
Card Issuer Citi
Annual Fee $0
Welcome Bonus Earn 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles (and a $50 statement credit) after making $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
Recommended Credit Score Excellent
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%

Top card benefits

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles (and a $50 statement credit) after making $500 in purchases in the first 3 months 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.

Earning & redeeming

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 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at grocery stores and on American Airlines purchases, plus 1X on everything else. 

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), American Airlines purchases 2X
All other eligible 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.

Common questions

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 Mastercard offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles and the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles, but both these cards also have annual fees.


Other cards to consider

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is a more robust overall travel credit card for loyal American Airlines travelers. It has a 50,000-mile welcome bonus and earns 2X miles on American Airlines purchase. 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 Platinum Select World Elite does have an annual fee of $450.

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 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. The VentureOne Rewards Credit Card also earns unlimited miles per dollar spent on . 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-fee travel credit cards available.

Earn American Airlines miles

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

Special Offer

Earn 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles (and a $50 statement credit) after making $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
  • 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus mile sign-up offer
  • 2X miles on American Airlines purchases
  • First checked bag free
  • Admirals Club membership and priority check-in
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
  • 20,000 bonus mile welcome offer
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months
  • 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee