Chasing American Airlines elite status? Here are 15 ways to earn Loyalty Points – The Points Guy

In early March 2022, American Airlines switched from elite qualifying miles, dollars and segments to Loyalty Points as the qualifying metric to earn elite status.

Nowadays, the number of Loyalty Points you earn is largely tied to your spending instead of how much you fly. As a result, you’d theoretically be able to spend your way to top-tier Executive Platinum status without stepping foot on a plane — not that we necessarily recommend doing that.

Beyond flying, you can earn Loyalty Points by spending and engaging with American Airlines’ partners. American added a few new methods of earning Loyalty Points in 2024 when it unveiled 10 changes to the AAdvantage program, including new Loyalty Points rewards and the ability to earn Loyalty Points for upgrades.

Here are some of the best ways to earn Loyalty Points to earn American Airlines elite status.

Earn Loyalty Points by flying American Airlines

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The traditional way to earn elite status — by flying on the airline — is still applicable under American’s Loyalty Points program.

You earn 1 Loyalty Point for each eligible AAdvantage mile from flying on American. Depending on your status tier, redeemable miles are awarded at a multiplier between 5 times and 11 times your base ticket price.

In simple math, if you paid $200 for a ticket (before taxes) from New York to Los Angeles, you’d earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles and 1,000 Loyalty Points as a general member with no elite status. If a top-tier American Executive Platinum member booked the same ticket, they’d earn 2,200 AAdvantage miles and 2,200 Loyalty Points.

You don’t need to keep track of elite qualifying miles, dollars or segments. One redeemable mile earned from flying on American will translate to 1 Loyalty Point.

Related: Last-minute strategies for earning American AAdvantage elite status

Earn Loyalty Points by flying on partner airlines

A British Airways plane at Sydney International Airport (SYD). RYAN PATTERSON/THE POINTS GUY

When flying with one of American’s airline partners, things get a little more complicated.

For flights marketed and operated by most of the airline’s Oneworld partners, redeemable miles (and therefore Loyalty Points) are earned based on distance flown, fare class and the airline.

However, that changed in October 2023 for flights on British Airways and Iberia, which now earn miles and Loyalty Points based on the price of their tickets instead of distance flown and fare class.

It’s important to note that American’s partnership with JetBlue is coming to an end in early 2024. Flyers on JetBlue-operated flights will only receive American Airlines benefits if their AAdvantage or TrueBlue Mosaic member number was added prior to July 21, 2023, and if the travel was booked through Jan. 31, 2024.

Additionally, when crediting a partner flight to American AAdvantage that hasn’t been bought directly with American, you’ll want to look at the earnings tables on American’s dedicated partner webpage. Once you’ve identified your fare class and flight distance, you can compute how many redeemable miles you’ll earn from a given flight.

All the redeemable miles you earn will contribute to your Loyalty Points balance at a 1:1 ratio.

For example, if you splurged for a Qatar Airways business-class fare from New York to Doha, you’d earn 10,040 redeemable miles (6,693 base miles for the flight distance with a 50% cabin bonus), which translates to 10,040 Loyalty Points.

Suppose you’re a top-tier Executive Platinum member. In that case, you’d also receive a 120% elite bonus on the miles earned, earning an additional 8,032 redeemable miles (6,693 base miles multiplied by the 1.20 elite bonus) — translating to 8,032 Loyalty Points.

Related: Can you still book Qatar Airways Qsuite awards with American AAdvantage miles?

Redeem Loyalty Point bonus rewards

In 2024, American Airlines announced a new perk for Loyalty Point collectors, allowing you to redeem a Loyalty Point Reward to earn more Loyalty Points toward elite status. This change will be implemented in the upcoming membership year.

You’ll now have the option to select Loyalty Point bonuses at certain Loyalty Point thresholds, all counting toward status. For instance, you can select 1,000 bonus Loyalty Points at the 15,000 Loyalty Point threshold, 5,000 bonus Loyalty Points at the 175,000 Loyalty Point threshold, and 15,000 bonus Loyalty Points at the 250,000 Loyalty Point threshold.

You can select the option to receive bonus Loyalty Points over other perks at each Loyalty Point threshold.

Earn Loyalty Points by paying in cash to upgrade

YEVGEN ROMANENKO/GETTY IMAGES

American also announced in 2024 that flyers can now earn redeemable miles and more Loyalty Points when paying with cash to upgrade to a premium cabin.

Now, flyers will be able to earn Loyalty Points for their upgrade fee, just like they would earn on a standard paid ticket.

As of January, the airline had yet to set a date for this change.

Related: Here are 5 reasons why I’m thrilled with the AAdvantage changes

Earn Loyalty Points with credit card spending

This one is pretty simple: For every base mile you earn on a cobranded American Airlines credit card, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point. American Airlines notes that base miles vary by credit card type and issuing bank. While the majority of AAdvantage cards earn 1 base mile per dollar spent on eligible purchases, some earn .5 base miles per dollar, and others could earn up to 2 miles per dollar.

Eligible cards include all Citi AAdvantage cards, AAdvantage Aviator cards and AAdvantage cards issued outside the U.S. (though you might have to contact your issuer for its exact terms).

Some popular cobranded American cards include:

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select , Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp, and AAdvantage Aviator Red cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

American has made it pretty straightforward to earn elite status through spending alone.

Unfortunately, sign-up bonuses, limited-time spending offers and bonus category multipliers (groceries, gas, dining, etc.) are excluded from earning Loyalty Points, so you will earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar you spend.

Loyalty Points boost on select cards

These cards will earn bonus Loyalty Points after hitting certain spending thresholds:

  • AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard cardmembers: Per the terms and conditions, from March 1, 2024, and through the end of February 2025, the primary cardholder can earn up to 15,000 additional Loyalty Points for meeting certain spending thresholds within the status qualification period. For instance, you can earn an additional 5,000 Loyalty Points if you make $20,000 in purchases within the qualification period. Earnings increase as more money is spent on the card, as you can earn an additional 5,000 Loyalty Points if $40,000 is spent within the qualification period, and you earn an additional 5,000 Loyalty Points (totaling the maximum 15,000 Loyalty Points bonus) within the qualification period if you spend $50,000 on the card within the qualification period.
  • Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard: Earn 10,000 Loyalty Points after reaching 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. The cardholder will receive another bonus of 10,000 Loyalty Points after reaching 90,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year.

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: The best credit cards for American Airlines flyers

Earn Loyalty Points by dining out (or ordering in)

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Depending on how much you dine out, you might even be able to eat your way toward elite status. The miles you earn through the AAdvantage Dining program count as Loyalty Points.

Participating in the dining rewards program is simple. Just sign up for an account and link your favorite credit cards. Then, you’ll earn miles when you dine at a participating restaurant or order takeout directly.

You can earn 5 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent if you’re a VIP member (earned when you make 11 transactions in a calendar year and you elect to receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining), 3 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent as an online member (if you elect to receive email communication from AAdvantage Dining) and 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent as a regular member.

AAdvantage Dining often offers a welcome bonus for new members, though these miles are not eligible for Loyalty Points accrual.

Related: Complete guide to airline and hotel dining rewards programs

Earn Loyalty Points through a shopping portal

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Likewise, you can earn Loyalty Points through the AAdvantage eShopping online shopping portal or the SimplyMiles program.

Miles earned through these shopping portals count toward earning Loyalty Points at a 1:1 rate.

The AAdvantage eShopping online shopping portal is just one of many online shopping portals you can click through before making online purchases with select retailers such as Home Depot, Apple, Walmart, Best Buy and hundreds more. When you do so, you’ll earn American Airlines miles on the purchase — typically as a multiplier of the cost of your purchase.

However, use a shopping portal aggregator to ensure another shopping portal isn’t offering a significantly better payout.

The SimplyMiles program is similar to Amex Offers in that it lets you add merchant-specific offers to a credit or debit card and earn AAdvantage miles when you use that card to make an online or in-store purchase with the merchant. For the SimplyMiles program, you’ll need to live in the U.S., hold a valid Mastercard and enroll. Once enrolled, you can browse offers and activate the ones that you want to use. Miles are credited to your account when you make a purchase with the participating merchant.

Related: How to earn frequent flyer miles shopping in stores — and why these programs matter

Earn Loyalty Points on hotel stays

ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

It’s sometimes easy to forget, but American Airlines AAdvantage members can earn miles when staying at hotels. We don’t typically advise doing that since you often miss out on earning hotel points, but it can make sense if you’d get more use out of American miles than hotel points.

Any base miles earned from spending with hotel partners will count toward Loyalty Points.

Choose to earn miles instead of points

As a quick recap, you earn the following number of points with the following chains:

  • Aadvantagehotels.com: This portal is powered by Booking.com, and by making reservations through it, you can earn up to 10 times more base miles on hotel stays.
  • Hyatt: Earn 500 miles on each stay at select properties, with the opportunity to earn more with elite status
  • Marriott: Earn 1 to 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on qualifying charges. Upscale brands like Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott earn 2 miles per dollar, while budget brands like Aloft and Moxy earn just 1 mile per dollar.
  • IHG: Earn 1 to 2 miles per dollar on qualifying room charges. Stays at Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites earn 1 mile per dollar, while other brands earn 2 miles per dollar.
  • Rocketmiles: Earn up to 10,000 miles per night booking through this online travel agency.

When booking with Hyatt, Marriott and IHG, you must log in to your hotel loyalty program account and opt to earn miles with AAdvantage instead of hotel points. Make sure you take that step before booking if Loyalty Points are your earning priority.

Related: Don’t book hotel stays directly if you want to earn maximum American Loyalty Points

American Airlines-Hyatt partnership

American Airlines AAdvantage and World of Hyatt launched a partnership in 2019 to allow elite members from both loyalty programs to earn bonus points and miles on stays and flights. Those who are elite in both programs can double rewards on qualifying American flights and Hyatt stays.

You can earn 1 World of Hyatt bonus point for every eligible dollar spent on eligible American flights, and you can also earn 1 AAdvantage base mile (and 1 Loyalty Point) for every dollar spent on eligible Hyatt stays and experiences. These earnings are in tandem with the World of Hyatt points typically earned on stays and the AAdvantage miles earned on flights.

So if you’re already an American Airlines elite member and you tend to stay at Hyatt properties (or can change your travel plans to do so), you could rack up a lot of extra AAdvantage miles, and thus Loyalty Points on your hotel bookings. However, while you can transfer various hotel points to AAdvantage, these transfers will not count toward earning Loyalty Points per the program rules.

Related: We tested earning American Airlines miles for 3 different hotel stays — here’s what we found

Earn Loyalty Points with vacation packages

POLA DAMONTE/GETTY IMAGES

American Airlines has long offered a vacation package service that lets you bundle flights, hotels and rental cars or any combination. These packages sometimes offer slightly better deals than if you were to book your flight, hotel and car separately.

Plus, you will earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles for every vacation package you book online and can earn up to 20,000 miles when you book featured hotels.

As always, run the numbers before you book a vacation package over booking directly. Also, note that you most likely won’t earn hotel points and elite status on hotels booked as a part of a package.

Related: The complete guide to booking all-inclusive hotels with American Airlines Vacations

Earn Loyalty Points by booking cruises

American offers the ability to book cruises through its website, and any miles you earn will count toward Loyalty Points. You can earn 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on cruise sailings through Dec. 31, 2025, up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles. In addition, those with an AAdvantage cobranded credit card earn an additional mile per dollar spent through Dec. 31, 2025.

AA.COM

If you’re a cruiser looking to accumulate AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points, it may pay to make a reservation through American’s cruise portal.

Earn Loyalty Points by renting cars

AAdvantage miles earned with rental cars will count as Loyalty Points. The number of Loyalty Points and redeemable AAdvantage miles you’ll earn depends on the rental car partner you book with.

For example, Avis and Budget members can earn at least 2 base miles for every dollar spent on all qualifying rentals at participating airport rental locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Plus, you’ll earn additional base miles with an American Airlines cobranded credit card.

Depending on how often you rent cars, this could be a good way to pad your Loyalty Points balance. Remember that you won’t usually earn rental car points when you credit rentals to American, so consider whether that’s worth it.

Earn Loyalty Points by filling up your car

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American participates in the Fuel Rewards program by Shell. When filling up at a Shell location, you’ll receive 3 miles per gallon of fuel, which count as Loyalty Points. New members earn 250 miles just for joining and completing their first fill-up at Shell, but this specific offer is only valid through Aug. 1.

Related: Earn airline miles for gas purchases

Earn Loyalty Points by paying utility bills

American currently partners with the following three utility companies: Xoom, NRG Energy and Reliant Energy.

American has confirmed that activity through these partners will count toward Loyalty Points, making this an easy way to earn status without much legwork. Just be aware that several of these companies offer electricity at variable rates, so there can be some volatility in your monthly bills. Also, these services are only available in select states.

Note that these services offer welcome bonuses, but you may not earn Loyalty Points from said bonuses.

Earn Loyalty Points by taking surveys

Miles for Opinions allows you to earn American Airlines miles for completing surveys on various topics. American has confirmed that miles earned through this partner will count toward Loyalty Points.

There’s no monetary cost to participate, so you’ll earn Loyalty Points for “free.” However, be aware that it takes a lot of answering questions to earn a small number of miles this way, so consider the value of your time.

Related: The easiest way to top up your points and miles without spending a dime

Status match and challenge

American has relationships with many companies, so you may be eligible for a status match or challenge through your employer’s corporate travel agency. Ask your travel department to see if you’re eligible.

Additionally, there’s currently an American Airlines status option for Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion members and United MileagePlus Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members. The status match is based on your 2022 account activity. You will need to register with your personal information, including a snapshot of your current membership card (expiring on either Jan. 31, 2024, or Jan. 31, 2025), to see if you are eligible for American Airlines’ status match.

Platinum Medallion and Premier Platinum members will receive Platinum Pro status in AAdvantage, while Diamond Medallion and Premier 1K members will receive Executive Platinum status. Status is valid for four months after registering, and you’ll have to earn a certain number of Loyalty Points to extend or upgrade your status for four more months. Once you meet all three Loyalty Point goals, you’ll qualify for matched status for the rest of the year.

Related: Current airline elite status match and challenge options you should know about

What activity does not count?

Unfortunately, not all mileage earning counts toward Loyalty Points.

As mentioned, you won’t earn Loyalty Points for cobranded credit card sign-up bonuses, limited-time spending offers or multipliers on certain categories, such as grocery stores and dining. As discussed, most AAdvantage cardholders will earn 1 mile per dollar spent, regardless of the type of purchase.

Furthermore, you won’t earn Loyalty Points for miles earned from special promotions or those accrued through buy, gift or transfer transactions. This restriction includes miles transferred between individual accounts and those converted from another loyalty program currency, such as Marriott Bonvoy.

Unfortunately, American confirmed that you wouldn’t earn Loyalty Points through Bask Bank interest. A Bask Bank mileage savings account allows you to rack up American Airlines miles instead of cash on your savings.

Finally, American’s periodic donation campaigns do not count toward earning Loyalty Points. For instance, if you want to earn American AAdvantage miles while donating to charity, you can earn 10 miles for every dollar you give to Stand Up To Cancer when you donate $25 or more here. The donation landing page specifically states: “Bonus miles do not count toward status qualification.”

Related: Be careful: 9 times you won’t earn American Airlines Loyalty Points, even if you earn miles

Bottom line

There are several ways to earn American elite status without stepping on a plane. Although you ultimately may spend more time and/or money crediting American Airlines partner transactions to the program than you previously would have, there are many more options than in the previous elite qualifying program.

Additionally, having a cobranded AAdvantage credit card is beneficial with the qualification scheme. That said, non-cardholders will still be able to progress toward status by engaging with American’s other partners, including the dining reward program and online shopping portal.

You’ll have to look at your elite status goals and planned travel for the rest of the status year and decide whether the opportunity cost of committing to American’s non-travel partners is worth it to qualify for AAdvantage elite status.

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