The American Airlines AAdvantage frequent-flyer program is nothing to overlook. The value of American Airlines miles is noteworthy due to the number of partner airlines you can book using them. The program is free to join, so if you’re flying American Airlines at all, there’s no reason not to sign up and earn miles for your travels.
In this article, you’ll learn all about the American Airlines AAdvantage program, the airlines you can fly with AAdvantage miles, and how to get the most value out of your hard-earned American Airlines miles.
- What are American Airlines AAdvantage miles?
- All the airlines you can fly with your AAdvantage miles
- What are AAdvantage miles worth?
What you can get with your AAdvantage miles
- Los Angeles to Las Vegas one way for 5k miles as an Economy Web Special
- A 50k round-trip flight from Los Angeles to New York in business class
- New York City to Cancun, Mexico: Round trip in business class for 50,000 miles
- Miami to London Heathrow round-trip economy for 60k miles and $175
- Seattle to Honolulu round trip for 90,000 miles
- An advanced tip for making the most out of your AAdvantage miles
- Use co-branded credit cards to earn more AAdvantage miles
- Things to remember when flying on American Airlines
What are American Airlines AAdvantage miles?
American Airlines AAdvantage miles are the currency of the airline’s loyalty program. Members earn AAdvantage miles by flying with American, spending with its partners, and making purchases with co-branded American Airlines credit cards. AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for flights, seat upgrades, gift cards, or an Admirals Club lounge membership. However, we recommend saving your miles to redeem for flights on American Airlines and its Oneworld partners.
Since American Airlines is part of the Oneworld Alliance, you'll have access to all 13 of its partner airlines. That means you can travel with a number of different airlines through both the Oneworld Alliance and other non-alliance partners.
All the airlines you can fly with your AAdvantage miles
American Airlines is currently part of the Oneworld Alliance. Oneworld is an alliance of 13 airlines that work together to allow travelers to use their frequent-flyer miles and airline status across the Oneworld partners. The 12 other airlines in the Oneworld Alliance are British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, and SriLankan Airlines.
American Airlines also has non-alliance partners. These include Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, Cape Air, China Southern Airlines, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Interjet, and Seaborne Airlines.
For all of the listed airlines, you don’t need to transfer your AAdvantage miles to redeem them. You can simply search for and book flights for partner airlines right on the American Airlines website. This is super helpful as it eliminates any complications in the booking process.
To schedule a flight using AAdvantage miles, simply visit AA.com and start your booking on the homepage. When you’re typing in your dates and airports, be sure to click “Redeem Miles.”
Once you hit the search button, you’ll be presented with flights that best match your requirements, either from American Airlines or the partners mentioned above. The ability to use American Airlines AAdvantage miles across a wide variety of airlines absolutely increases their value. But what’s the actual value of American Airlines miles?
What are AAdvantage miles worth?
Points-and-miles experts have done their best to estimate the value of each airline loyalty program. But as more programs shift to dynamic pricing of airline tickets (i.e., pricing based on customer demand instead of fixed prices), estimating the value of a point or mile is becoming more difficult.
Generally, the travel community estimates that the value of AAdvantage miles is roughly 1.4 cents per mile. This is according to points-and-miles experts who are constantly looking at the shifting values of rewards programs. While you can use that number as a rule of thumb, the best way to understand the value you’re getting from your miles is to look at each potential redemption on a case-by-case basis.
To calculate your miles value, use this equation: Cash price of airline ticket / number of miles needed = value of each individual mile. Your number will come out to be a decimal, so make sure to move the decimal point two places to the right to get your final cash value (or multiply by 100). For example, .0123456 = 1.2 cents per mile.
So, doing the math, if a flight is priced at $300 and it will cost you 20,000 American Airlines miles, your value is 1.5 cents per mile (300 / 20,000 = 0.015). This isn’t bad at all. If your flight requires 30,000 American Airlines miles and the cash price is $275, your value is 0.9 cents per mile (275 / 30,000 = .009) — not so great.
In the latter case, you may want to find a different flight. Or simply book using cash and save your miles for another day. Understanding the value of your miles is important. You’ve earned these miles by spending your money on your travel rewards credit cards — so you should treat these miles like hard-earned cash as well. Thankfully, there are many ways to redeem your AAdvantage miles for your next business trip or vacation that allow you to get tremendous value out of them.
What you can get with your AAdvantage miles
If you’re looking to use your AAdvantage miles, it’s simple to get started. Visit the American Airlines website, log into your AAdvantage account, and begin your booking. Before you hit submit, be sure to click “Redeem miles.” Once you do this, all the flights that pull up will be ones you can purchase with your AAdvantage miles.
With American Airlines AAdvantage miles, there are a ton of different flights you can redeem for. Here are just a few examples I found:
Los Angeles to Las Vegas one way for 5k miles as an Economy Web Special
A 50k round-trip flight from Los Angeles to New York in business class
New York City to Cancun, Mexico: Round trip in business class for 50,000 miles
Miami to London Heathrow round-trip economy for 60k miles and $175
Seattle to Honolulu round trip for 90,000 miles
The first half of this trip is seated in the main cabin, and the second half in first class. This flight is also unique, since you fly to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines and return on American. This is possible through the working partnership that American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have.
Lastly, if you’re looking to have a better experience while flying, you can use your miles to upgrade your seats. There’s a full AAdvantage miles upgrade chart on the American Airlines website that will tell you exactly how many miles you need to upgrade to the next available class.
An advanced tip for making the most out of your AAdvantage miles
Another way to make the most of your AAdvantage miles is by earning points with Marriott-branded credit cards, which are some of the best travel credit cards for converting to AAdvantage miles. You can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to AAdvantage at a 3:1 ratio. So, for example, if you have 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, this will transfer to become 10,000 AAdvantage miles.
Also, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer in the same transaction to American, you’ll earn a bonus 5,000 AAdvantage miles. So, if you were to transfer 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, that would equal 50,000 AAdvantage miles. These 50,000 AAdvantage miles are enough to earn you the round-trip flight from Los Angeles to New York City in business class shown above.
|Card name||Sign-up bonus||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card||Earn 3 Free Night Awards (up to a 150,000 Total Point Value) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening (each night valued up to 50,000 points)||up to 17X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy; 3X points at grocery stores, gas stations, and dining on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year; and 2X points on all other purchases||$95|
The Marriott card I recommend is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card. You’ll be able to earn 3 free night awards (up to a 150,000 total point value) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening (each night valued up to 50,000 points), along with automatic Marriott Bonvoy Silver status and a low annual fee of $95.
Use co-branded credit cards to earn more AAdvantage miles
Co-branded credit cards are another great way to earn valuable American Airlines miles, especially when you can earn them in large quantities through a sign-up bonus. Along with the miles, the following are some of the best airline credit cards that can also deliver serious value and savings as you travel:
|Card name||Sign-up bonus||Reward rate||Annual fee|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®||Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening||2X miles at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases; and 1X miles on all other purchases||$99 (waived first year)|
|AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®||Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase and pay the annual fee in the first 90 days||2X miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases||$99|
|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)||10X miles on hotels booked through aa.com/hotels and eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars, 4X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases (after spending $150,000 per calendar year this increases to 5X for the remainder of the calendar year), and 1X miles for every $1 spent on other purchases||$595|
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard is a great choice for traveling families because of the potential to save on American Airlines baggage fees. One of the largest ways airlines make money is through baggage fees. For example, one checked bag on American Airlines now costs $30 each way on a domestic flight. So for one round-trip flight, you’re out an extra $60. If you’re traveling with your significant other, you can double that price to $120. That’s a lot of money just to get your bag from Point A to Point B.
But with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, the first checked bag is free for you and up to four traveling companions on your reservation. With a party of five each traveling with a checked bag, that comes out to be $300 in checked-bag fees saved.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
The AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® is excellent for someone just beginning to learn about earning miles and looking to get a quick boost to their American Airlines AAdvantage miles balance. With this card, you’ll earn earn 50,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase and pay the annual fee in the first 90 days. This quick additional mileage is helpful for someone who wants to rack up enough miles for a specific trip. This card also has a low annual fee of $99.
Additionally, this card is worth having for being able to earn a Companion Certificate. Plus, you’ll get a $25 rebate on inflight Wi-Fi and your first bag checked free on domestic American Airlines flights for you and up to four companions on the same reservation.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is fantastic for individuals who travel frequently for business or leisure. You can earn earn 70,000 american airlines aadvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening (limited time offer). You’ll also enjoy access to the American Airlines Admirals Club lounges, as well as have your first bag checked free for you and up to eight traveling companions when flying on the same itinerary. Additionally, you’ll get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit for up to $100 every five years. However, these perks do come with a $595 annual fee.
Things to remember when flying on American Airlines
American Airlines AAdvantage miles are a great currency to earn. This is because the opportunities to redeem these miles are nearly endless with American being in the Oneworld Alliance, as well as it having non-alliance partners, too.
Keep in mind that while flying using AAdvantage miles is the end goal, earning them is best approached strategically. Whether you’re racking up AAdvantage miles through flying, spending, or transferring, each mile scored gets you one step closer to your next free flight. Don’t be discouraged if your miles balance is low, as there are always opportunities to earn more AAdvantage miles.
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Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
$99 (waived first year)
2X miles at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases; and 1X miles on all other purchases