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American Airlines has completely overhauled its AAdvantage loyalty program, and now those pursuing elite status need to care about just one thing: Loyalty Points. In this comprehensive guide, we look at the many ways earn Loyalty Points — what counts and what doesn't — to help you on your way toward AAdvantage elite status.
Let's dig into the many ways to earn American Airlines Loyalty Points.
- What Are American Airlines Loyalty Points?
- How to Earn American Airlines Loyalty Points
- What Doesn't Count for American Airlines Loyalty Points?
- Loyalty Points Will Impact American Airlines Upgrade Priority
- Note on Loyalty Points & American Airlines Status Timeline
- Bottom Line
What Are American Airlines Loyalty Points?
Before we get started, let's make sure everyone is on the same page. Starting March 1, 2022, American Airlines has completely overhauled its loyalty program (AAdvantage) and introduced Loyalty Points. These are now the single metric you need to follow when pursuing elite status with AA.
Instead of the complicated math involved with the old system and three metrics to track (EQM/EQD/EQS), you now just need to care about one thing: Loyalty Points.
You'll need to earn the following amounts of Loyalty Points for the status tiers in American Airlines AAdvantage going forward:
- Gold: 30,000 Loyalty Points
- Platinum: 75,000 Loyalty Points
- Platinum Pro: 125,000 Loyalty Points
- Executive Platinum: 200,000 Loyalty Points
How to Earn American Airlines Loyalty Points
So, how do you earn these Loyalty Points? Here are the various activities for earning and the rates at which you earn.
Flying with American Airlines
The most obvious, you earn Loyalty Points every time you fly with American Airlines. In a positive change, Basic Economy flights will qualify for Loyalty Points earning.
The above chart from AA shows that all of its fare codes for American Airlines-operated flights qualify for Loyalty Points. But the rate is going to depend on how much you pay for your ticket and your AAdvantage status level.
When flying with American Airlines, you earn AAdvantage miles based on the cost of your ticket, at the following rates:
- General member (no status) — 5 miles per $1 spent
- Gold — 7 miles per $1 spent
- Platinum — 8 miles per $1 spent
- Platinum Pro — 9 miles per $1 spent
- Executive Platinum — 11 miles per $1 spent
For American Airlines flights, every AAdvantage mile that you earn nets you a Loyalty Point.
If you would book a $100 flight (before taxes and fees) from Los Angeles (LAX) to San Francisco (SFO), you would earn the following AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points:
- General member — 500 AAdvantage miles and 500 Loyalty Points
- Gold — 700 AAdvantage miles and 700 Loyalty Points
- Platinum — 800 AAdvantage miles and 800Loyalty Points
- Platinum Pro — 900 AAdvantage miles and 900 Loyalty Points
- Executive Platinum — 1,100 AAdvantage miles and 1,100 Loyalty Points
Flying with Partners
Unfortunately, earning Loyalty Points through partners isn't as clearcut.
You can earn Loyalty Points when flying with numerous American Airlines partners. And AA has a ton of partners. The simplest way to understand which partners qualify for Loyalty Points is this: You'll earn Loyalty Points when flying Oneworld alliance members, JetBlue and GOL. You will always earn Loyalty Points on these flights by crediting your flight earnings to your AAdvantage account.
For other partners, it's more complex. The partner page for Air Tahiti Nui says this: “You can only earn AAdvantage® miles and Loyalty Points when you fly on American Airlines marketed flights (booked as an AA flight number) operated by Air Tahiti Nui.” The same policy applies to Cape Air and Silver Airways.
On the flip side, you see this on the partner page for Fiji Airways: “Flights marketed by Fiji Airways (booked as a FJ flight number) are not eligible to earn Loyalty Points.” The same applies to Hawaiian Airlines and China Southern Airlines.
In its own category, the partner page for Etihad Airways doesn't specify one way or another. But we've been able to confirm with American Airlines that you won't earn any Loyalty Points when flying Etihad Airways.
For all partners except JetBlue, you will earn miles and Loyalty Points based on the fare class you book, the distance of the flight, and your status level. With JetBlue, you earn based on the cost of your ticket — just like you do when flying American Airlines. You can see the partner earning rates for each airline here, since they vary.
Except as noted, for each AAdvantage mile you earn from these flights, you will also earn 1 Loyalty Point.
When you book a combination of flights / hotels / rental cars at AAvacations.com, you earn 1,000 miles per booking. These miles count as Loyalty Points.
However, it’s unclear if the “up to 30,000 bonus miles for booking featured hotels” will count toward Loyalty Points. In all likelihood, it won't. That's because American Airlines notes that bonuses from partner promotions don’t count.
While you'll only earn 1,000 base miles / Loyalty Points from AA Vacations bookings, remember that American Airlines flights flown as part of these packages will earn Loyalty Points as well.
AA Cruise Portal
If you book at bookaacruises.com through December 31, 2024, you earn 1 mile per $1 spent on cruises. If you pay with an American Airlines co-branded credit card, you get an extra mile per $1 spent.
Any “base” AAdvantage miles earned on this site will also earn Loyalty Points at a 1:1 ratio. Any AAdvantage mileage bonuses on top of this base earning rate likely won't count as Loyalty Points.
Stays at Partner Hotels
If you book a stay at bookaahotels.com (which is powered by booking.com), you can earn up to a maximum of 10,000 miles per night. However, that is the maximum, and most stays earn far less than this. These stays earn Loyalty Points at a 1:1 ratio from the miles you earn on each booking.
You can also earn Loyalty Points on stays with Hyatt. You get 500 miles and will earn 500 Loyalty Points on each stay. AAdvantage elites can enroll to also earn 1 mile per $1 spent. The maximum earning in this partnership is 10,000 miles per year.
With Marriott (including Marriott Vacations), you earn 1-2 miles per dollar spent. Lower-tier properties earn 1 mile, while higher-tier properties earn 2 miles per dollar spent. These earnings qualify for Loyalty Points at a 1:1 ratio.
For stays at IHG properties, you earn 2 miles per $1 spent at all brands except Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites. At these properties, you earn 1 mile per $1 spent. All of these earnings qualify for Loyalty Points at 1:1.
For hotel bookings made with rocketmiles.com, you can earn up to 10,000 miles per night. That is the maximum, and many bookings will earn less than that. All miles earned here qualify for Loyalty Points earnings.
Stays at Wyndham do not qualify for Loyalty Points. More on that in the section on “what doesn't count”.
Important note: In order to earn American Airlines miles (and thus Loyalty Points) with these programs, you need to change your account settings in the partner program. You must choose to earn AA miles (not points from the hotel program) on your hotel stays. Take that into consideration, since you wouldn't earn Marriott Bonvoy points on future Marriott stays, for example. This is especially important when considering the fact that many hotel promotions require you to earn their points (not some partner program) to qualify for the promotions.
As with vacations, hotels, and cruises, American Airlines offers a rental car portal at aa.com/car. All miles earned from these bookings qualify for Loyalty Points at 1:1.
You can also earn AA miles (and thus Loyalty Points) on bookings with Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, National, Payless, and Sixt. As with the hotels above, you will need to choose to earn AA miles (and not points from the car rental program) in order to earn Loyalty Points on these bookings.
With Avis/Budget, you will earn a minimum of 500 miles per rental (basic members) or 1,250 miles as a maximum for Executive Platinum members. Rentals from Alamo or National will give 50 miles per day.
All base mileage earnings will give you 1 Loyalty Point for each mile you earn on rentals with these partners. Any mileage bonuses or promotions likely won't count for Loyalty Points.
Online Shopping Portals
American Airlines' own shopping portal and SimplyMiles both provide mileage earning when clicking through before making purchases. You will get 1 Loyalty Point for each 1 base mile you earn through these portals.
For SimplyMiles, you must live in the U.S. and have a Mastercard to enroll.
See also: Beginner's Guide to Shopping Portals
American Airlines Dining Program
The AAdvantage Dining program offers miles if you sign up, store a credit card in your profile, and then eat at participating restaurants. New member bonuses for this program are common, so be sure to check for any bonus mile opportunities. Again though, these mileage bonuses likely won't count as Loyalty Points.
As with other programs, any miles you earn will also earn Loyalty Points at a 1:1 ratio. However, promotions and new member bonuses do not count toward Loyalty Points earning.
See also: Beginner's Guide to Dining Programs
Credit Card Spending on AA Credit Cards
This represents the most significant change to AAdvantage status because you can earn Loyalty Points by spending on American Airlines co-branded credit cards. The earning of Loyalty Points applies only to daily spending, however.
Every $1 spent on virtually all U.S.-issued American Airlines credit cards from Barclays and Citi will yield 1 Loyalty Point. This includes the following U.S. cards:
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ MasterCard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®
Remember that you only earn 1 Loyalty Point per $1 spent. Category multipliers where you earn extra miles for certain types of spending will not yield extra Loyalty Points. An example is the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, which earns 2 miles per $1 spent at grocery stores. While you would earn 100 AA miles after spending $50 at the supermarket, you would still earn just 50 Loyalty Points.
There is also the AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® issued in the U.S. As a no-fee card, it earns just 1 mile / 1 Loyalty Point for every $2 spent.
Additionally, there are international American Airlines co-branded credit cards. Some of these can earn 1.5-2 Loyalty Points per $1 spent. Check the list of countries here to see which cards are available in your country and what the earning rates are.
As mentioned, only daily spending counts toward Loyalty Points earning with credit cards. Bonus category earnings, welcome offers, sign-up bonuses, retention offers, referrals for your friend to sign up for the card — none of those will generate Loyalty Points.
Bonus Loyalty Points from Credit Card Spending
The American Airlines FAQ for credit cards indicates the following opportunities for earning bonus Loyalty Points with credit card spending:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® — earn 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after spending $40,000 in eligible purchases during the qualification year.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® — earn 5,000 Loyalty Points if you spend $20,000 on purchases, another 5,000 Loyalty Points if you spend $40,000 on purchases and another 5,000 Loyalty Points if you spend $50,000 or more on purchases during the qualification year.
Only available in select states in the U.S., these electricity companies offer energy at variable rates (meaning prices can go up and down). Take that into consideration if you sign up, but these companies sometimes offer welcome bonuses of 10,000-15,000 AA miles for new members. While these new member bonuses might not qualify as Loyalty Points, you'll earn AA miles and Loyalty Points when paying your monthly bill.
You can earn AA miles (and Loyalty Points at 1:1) when purchasing gas with Shell. You will need to link your rewards accounts on this page. Note that the same thing applies as with the hotel and rental car partners: you will no longer earn Fuel Rewards points or save 3-5¢ per gallon at the pump if you choose to earn AA miles via this program. Additionally, you only earn miles (and thus Loyalty Points) on the first 20 gallons of fuel in each purchase.
You can also earn Loyalty Points from select partners on the AA promotions page. Partners that qualify for Loyalty Points include Vinesse, FTD, and Vivid Seats.
Additionally, you can earn miles for taking surveys with Miles for Opinions. These will qualify for Loyalty Points.
What Doesn't Count for American Airlines Loyalty Points?
Now that we know what counts, here's a look at what doesn't. These activities can generate AAdvantage miles (which you can redeem for flights), but those will not translate to Loyalty Points. Thus, they don't help you achieve elite status.
Flying with Non-Alliance Partners
Simply put: if it's not a Oneworld partner and the partner page on AA's website doesn't say you will earn Loyalty Points, then you won't.
AA has a large list of partners, but flights on China Southern Airlines, Etihad, Fiji Airways, and Hawaiian Airlines won't earn Loyalty Points — even though you can earn AA miles when flying on these airlines.
There's a workaround though. If you're able to book the flight with an American Airlines flight number, you'll earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points as if you're flying on an American Airlines flight number.
While the Bask Bank savings account is popular because you can earn AA miles as the interest on your account, these earnings will not convert to Loyalty Points. They are miles that you can redeem for travel, but these are not elite status-qualifying earnings.
While you can transfer numerous different types of points and miles to American Airlines AAdvantage, none of these generate Loyalty Points. This includes transfers from bank partner Bilt and even transfers from Marriott — despite Marriott being a preferred hotel partner (see above).
Buying and Gifting Miles
This won't count. Gifting or buying AA miles will not generate any Loyalty Points.
Wyndham Hotel Stays
Even though you can earn AA miles from stays with Wyndham, these do not earn Loyalty Points. This is different from the hotel partners mentioned above, which do generate Loyalty Points.
You can earn 10 miles per dollar if you donate $25+ to Stand Up to Cancer, due to its partnership with American Airlines. Unless AA changes course, these donations will not qualify for Loyalty Points.
Loyalty Points Will Impact American Airlines Upgrade Priority
As American Airlines introduces Loyalty Points, the way that the airline prioritizes members for upgrades on flights will shift.
In years past, priority was given to those with higher Elite Qualify Dollar (EQD) spend in the rolling 12 months before the flight. This would put one member in front of another when other factors like status and type of upgrade request were equal.
As of March 2022, the tiebreaker will be a rolling 12-month Loyalty Point balance. Given that this is a new system, the rolling 12 months for the first year will factor in your EQDs prior to March 1, 2022 until a full 12 months has passed in the new program.
The math on this EQD-Loyalty Point combination for upgrade priority works as follows:
- Your rolling 12-month number of EQDs on February 28, 2022 will be assigned an equivalent number in Loyalty Points in AA's system. This is a number in theory, and you will not actually get these Loyalty Points in your account — FYI.
- The conversion will be done based on your status as of January 1, 2022, factoring in your Loyalty Points earning rates at this tier.
Note on Loyalty Points & American Airlines Status Timeline
Remember that the introduction of the new American Airlines AAdvantage program represented a complete overhaul not just with the introduction of Loyalty Points but also in the qualifying timeframe. Previously, you qualified January 1-December 31 for status in the ensuing year. Going forward, you will qualify from March to the following February. Status earned during that period will be valid through March 31 of the year following the end of the qualifying year.
Here's an example: Between March 1, 2022 (technically January 1, 2022 this year due to the transition period) and February 28, 2023, you qualify for Platinum status with American Airlines. The date in which you qualify won't matter, but you will enjoy your new status from that date until the end of March in 2024. It's the end of March in the year after the end of the qualifying period.
Loyalty Points represent not just a new way to earn status with American Airlines AAdvantage but something truly novel in the world of airline loyalty programs. In this guide, we took a deep look at what does and what doesn't qualify for Loyalty Points. If you are pursuing AAdvantage status, this is the one metric that matters going forward. This guide should help you understand the various ways to earn your Loyalty Points, so you can chart the path that best suits you.
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