American’s Loyalty Points are coming up on their first birthday, meaning your balance will reset to zero March 1. And unlike the other airlines, American uses a March 1-Feb. 28 status year, so there’s still time to qualify for your 2022 status.
Here are six ways to earn enough Loyalty Points to get you to your desired AAdvantage status before Feb. 28.
A Loyalty Points elevator pitch
American Airlines replaced elite qualifying miles, segments and dollars with Loyalty Points a year ago. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier claimed to be “simplifying” the way you earn AAdvantage status by crediting 1 Loyalty Point (toward status) for every AAdvantage mile you earn.
Of course, there are notable exceptions to various mileage-earning activities that don’t earn Loyalty Points. Still, given the numerous ways to earn AAdvantage miles without flying, many AAdvantage members have qualified for status using methods that don’t generally earn airline status, like online shopping and hotel reservations.
As a reminder, here’s the number of Loyalty Points required to earn AAdvantage status this year:
Now, as we get into some last-minute ways to earn Loyalty Points, I’m going to skip some earning options like the AAdvantage dining portal and dual accrual with Hyatt. While these activities have merit, you generally need several months of activity to make a significant difference. So with that in mind, I’m focusing on ways to earn Loyalty Points quickly for your end-of-the-elite-year sprint.
Related: Chasing American Airlines elite status? Here are 14 ways to earn Loyalty Points
While it might seem obvious, you can earn Loyalty Points by flying American Airlines — or on most tickets booked on aa.com. American Airlines-issued tickets (indicated by a ticket number that starts with 001) earn Loyalty Points on the base fare and carrier-imposed fee(s). Your mileage and Loyalty Point accruals depend on your AAdvantage status when you fly:
- General member: 5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
- Gold: 7 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
- Platinum: 8 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
- Platinum Pro: 9 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
- Executive Platinum: 11 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
Let’s say you’re an AAdvantage Gold member with 68,000 Loyalty Points. An American Airlines-issued ticket with a base fare of $1,000 would earn 7,000 Loyalty Points, pushing you over the 75,000-Loyalty Point threshold to qualify for Platinum status. Whether or not it’s worth the money is up to you.
Sign up for our daily newsletter
Related: Perfectly fine but nothing more: American Airlines premium economy across the Atlantic
Fly a partner
While tickets purchased from American earn Loyalty Points from the amount you spend, partner-issued tickets that are credited to American Airlines earn Loyalty Points on four criteria:
- The operating airline.
- Your fare class.
- The flight distance.
- Your AAdvantage status.
If you find a bargain long-haul partner ticket that earns Loyalty Points at an advantageous rate, this is a great way to earn status. One TPG staffer earned nearly 30,000 Loyalty Points from a Finnair trip to Asia.
Let’s look at what this round-trip Qatar Airways ticket in the P fare class (125%) earns. It has a total flight distance of 22,550 miles:
- General member: 28,188 Loyalty Points and miles.
- Gold: 37,208 Loyalty Points and miles.
- Platinum: 41,718 Loyalty Points and miles.
- Platinum Pro: 46,228 Loyalty Points and miles.
- Executive Platinum: 55,248 Loyalty Points and miles.
Again, if you decide to go this route, make sure not to purchase your ticket with American Airlines. You will earn Loyalty Points as if it was an American Airlines flight (as discussed in the previous section) if you do this. Try and book directly on the operating airline’s website whenever possible.
Related: Quick Points: Earn American AAdvantage status and Loyalty Points quickly with Oneworld partner flights
Cobranded credit card spending
Some of us don’t want to get on a plane if we can avoid it. High credit card spenders can consider closing the Loyalty Points gap by spending on their cobranded AAdvantage credit card(s).
It’s pretty simple — you earn a Loyalty Point for every dollar you spend. Of course, some spending categories earn more than 1 mile per dollar, but you won’t earn more than 1 Loyalty Point per dollar using your AAdvantage credit card.
Eligible cards include all Citi AAdvantage, Barclays AAdvantage Aviator credit cards (except for the no-annual-fee AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® which earns 0.5 Loyalty Points per dollar on purchases) and AAdvantage cards issued outside the U.S. (though you might have to contact your issuer for its exact terms).
You can also earn some bonus Loyalty Points with two AAdvantage credit cards. Travelers with an AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® earn 5,000 Loyalty Points when they spend $20,000 in a single status year. Plus, they earn an additional 5,000 Loyalty Points when spending $40,000 and $50,000 on the card.
The information for the Advantage Aviator Silver Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
On the other hand, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® awards 10,000 Loyalty Points when you spend $40,000 in a status year.
Our data points indicate that American posts Loyalty Points and miles upon the closing of each statement period. So, credit card purchases at the end of February will likely post as Loyalty Points and miles when your statement closes in March — which is after the 2022 elite year has ended. As a result, we recommend getting your credit card spending done sooner rather than later if this is how you’re planning to earn enough Loyalty Points.
Related: Your ultimate guide to American Airlines AAdvantage
American Airlines offers its own hotel portal, but if you want to maximize Loyalty Points earnings on hotel stays, check out Rocketmiles. It’s effectively an online travel agency that allows you to earn airline miles and Loyalty Points for hotel reservations. Occasionally, you’ll find hotels that offer north of 25 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar spent.
Here are several test searches in February for popular U.S. destinations, each of which has a five-night stay:
Don’t forget that you can earn an extra Loyalty Point per dollar by charging your hotel stay to an AAdvantage credit card (except for the no-annual-fee AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® which earns 0.5 Loyalty Points per dollar on purchases).
Sometimes, nightly rates on Rocketmiles are higher than if you book directly with the hotel. Also, you generally won’t earn hotel points and will not receive hotel elite status perks when booking through Rocketmiles. So, compare rates if you book directly with the hotel and ask yourself, “Are the AA miles and Loyalty Points worth forgoing hotel points and status?”
Related: Using Rocketmiles to earn points, miles or gift cards on hotel stays
At this same time a year ago, I hadn’t used the AAdvantage shopping portal. Now, I’ve earned about 15% of my 2022 Loyalty Points from online shopping.
AAdvantage has some appealing merchants. Some of my favorites include:
- Viator: Currently 7 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar (though it was at 8 earlier this week).
- Ted Baker: Currently 10 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
- AG Jeans: 5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
- Otter: 5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar.
- Apple: 1 Loyalty Point and mile per dollar.
Unfortunately, giftcards.com has recently disappeared from the AAdvantage shopping portal. In the fall, I purchased a $300 Uber gift card ahead of a few airport runs and earned 900 Loyalty Points and miles.
Related: Why I’m focusing on the American Airlines shopping portal this year
If you’re still short on Loyalty Points and miles, consider looking into SimplyMiles. The portal is free and easy to use. Once you sign up with your AAdvantage number, link any Mastercard.
Like Amex, Chase and Citi merchant offers, you’ll be able to add various offers to your credit card. When you make a qualifying purchase, you’ll automatically receive Loyalty Points and miles.
Best of all, you’ll earn SimplyMiles in addition to credit card and shopping portal bonuses. Say you make an $80 purchase at Wine Insiders (a SimplyMiles offer I currently have) and charge it to a cobranded American Airlines credit card like the AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®. Here’s what you could earn:
- SimplyMiles: 1,395 Loyalty Points and miles (fixed award offer after spending $80 or more).
- AAdvantage shopping portal: 400 Loyalty Points and miles (5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar).
- Credit card rewards: 80 Loyalty Points and miles (1 Loyalty Point and mile per dollar).
On this $80 purchase, you’d get a return of 1,875 Loyalty Points — effectively 23.4 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar. Note, however, you might not earn Loyalty Points and miles on shipping and taxes from the AAdvantage shopping portal.
The information for the Aviator World Elite Business 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: How to earn miles in the American Airlines AAdvantage program
There are plenty of ways to earn Loyalty Points, and getting caught up in the “gamification” of earning American Airlines status is easy. Although you might be tempted to push yourself to earn the highest status by Feb. 28, remember the status you earn will expire Feb. 29, 2024 — which is just over a year away.
That’s why I’m deferring significant Loyalty Point-earning activities until March. After all, the status you begin earning in March will be valid until Feb. 28, 2025.
So consider saving that big Viator purchase or Rocketmiles spree until the spring. That way, you’ll be on your way to holding AAdvantage status for another year.
Leave a Reply