Best Credit Cards

It’s Raining AA Miles! Should You Scoop Them Up?

If your goal is to accumulate a lot of American Airlines miles for travel, now is a good time to get some through credit card offers. A household with two adults can easily scoop up 180,000 200,000 AA miles through two new credit cards each. If you qualify for a small business credit card, add another 50k 60k miles on top of that!

However, AA miles are not the best for all travelers and every situation. Let’s dig into this more to see who will benefit most from these offers.

Current Credit Card Offers for AA Miles

Two different banks currently offer credit cards with hefty AA bonuses.

The quickest way to get some AA miles is with the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator World MasterCard (non-affiliate link). Although it has a $95 annual fee that is not waived the first year, you get 40k miles after your first purchase.

Some of the card benefits include free checked baggage for you and four companions and Group 1 boarding. You also get 10% of your redeemed miles back after booking a ticket.

If you and your spouse/partner/adult household member each get this card, that’s 80,000 AA miles at a cost of $190.

The next card is the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard. Note: This card is in our affiliate network and pays us commission if you apply through our site. You cannot get the bonus on this card if you have opened or closed a Citi AA card within the past 24 months.

After spending $3000 in the first three months, you get 50,000 60,000 bonus AA miles (limited time higher bonus). The annual fee is waived the first year, and the benefits are similar to the Aviator card above. Update: the bonus offer on both Citi cards is temporarily increased to 60k miles.

With the spending requirement to get the bonus, this card requires more time to collect the miles. However, you only need to put $1000 per month on the card to get the bonus after three months. If two people in your household get this card, you would have 100,000 120,000 AA miles after 3-6 months with no annual fee. Combined with the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator card, that’s 180,000 200,000 AA miles!

If you have a small business, you can also apply for the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard for an additional 50,000 60,000 bonus AA miles. The spending requirement is also $3000 within the first three months, annual fee waived. Update: the bonus offer on both Citi cards is temporarily increased to 60k miles.

Total potential miles: 230,000 260,000 AA miles

How Far Can Those Miles Take You?

If sAAver coach awards are available (and that’s a big IF), 230k miles can get you:

  • Nine domestic round-trip tickets (25k each)
  • Nine round-trip flights to Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America (25k each)
  • Five round-trip tickets to Europe during off-peak travel times (45k each)
  • Five round-trip flights to Hawaii (40-45k each depending on season)
  • Two round-trip tickets to New Zealand (80k each)

See where else you can fly on miles on AA’s Award Chart.

 

Landing on Oahu, my favorite AA miles redemption ever

Should You Scoop up These AA Miles?

That really depends. Some people report being frustrated at not finding enough low-level award seats on American Airlines. However, if you are flexible with your travel plans, it can be done.

I recommend collecting AA miles if:

  • You live near an AA hub. I live near Dallas, and have had good luck using my AA miles for award flights. I was able to fly my family of five to Hawaii and back, although we had to fly to Las Vegas on the way home and use Southwest points to get us all the way back to Dallas. I’ve found award availability to Puerto Vallarta last fall and to Denver over Thanksgiving on AA.
  • You are flexible. Award seats can be hard to snag if you can only leave on one specific date. If you have flexible travel dates, using AA miles is so much easier. If you have a large family, it also helps if you are open to splitting up your family on different flights.
  • You are open to positioning yourself to a nearby AA hub. Sometimes, you can find award space at a city farther away. If you are willing to fly to that city (via a cheap flight or Southwest points, for example) you can more easily use your AA miles for flights.
  • You need to diversify. Don’t keep all your eggs in the same basket, right? The same goes for miles and points. When it comes time to book award flights, you want to have several currencies at your disposal to have more options. If you currently only have United or Delta miles, consider adding AA miles to the mix.
  • You need to book a hotel on points. What?!? Yes, see Leana’s post about booking hotels with AA miles.

Other Considerations

Before you decide to apply for these cards to collect AA miles, make sure you can responsibly pay your credit card bill in full each month. Ensure you can spend enough to meet the minimum required for the bonus miles without over-extending your budget.

Also, think about your travel goals in the next 1-2 years. Do you see yourself actually using the miles you collect?

Finally, consider the opportunity cost of collecting these AA miles through new credit card sign-ups. What other credit card rewards are you forgoing that could be more useful?

Readers, are you considering stocking up on AA miles?

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Author: Nancy

Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.

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20 thoughts on “It’s Raining AA Miles! Should You Scoop Them Up?

  1. It’s great that the aviator card is taking new applicants. I read somewhere that you could only apply at airports or on a plane, maybe it’s not like that anymore. I always welcome AA miles 🙂 At this point I get whatever they want to give me, I can’t be picky because with all those rules limiting the bonus you can get, I don’t have many options.

    • @Leticia–The online link above for the Barclay Aviator is working. I think the airports/plane thing has to deal with where Barclay can advertise vs. where Citi can advertise for their respective cards, since they are offering competing products. I love a little competition, it’s better for us! 🙂

  2. Do you think the Barclaycard offer will be around for a while. I like cards that don’t have a minimum spend requirement, but right now I’m working on Chase offers since I’m under 5/24.

    • I personally think that the Barclay Aviator 40k offer will be around for a while, since it was just re-launched in late December. However, if (and when) the Citi AA card lowers its sign-up bonus, it wouldn’t shock me if Baraclay lowered its AA bonus as well.

    • I’ve had good luck finding sAAver availability from Dallas. But, I’ve had to stalk the website every day around ~11 months out. And by stalk I mean check it first thing in the morning and a few times during the day. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but it works!

  3. Haha, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only who thought of this. 🙂 I did these exact two cards for my January credit cards. Yay for 90k miles.

  4. We’ve been stocking up. But we live 15 minutes from an AA hub, we’re familiar with the route we usually use the miles for, we’re flexible with the travel times, and we regularly get 2-3 cents of value per mile. Given the lack of low-level award availability, I definitely recommend having a trip in mind and checking availability patterns before you pull the trigger. That, or be destination-agnostic since there’s always availability somewhere.

  5. Today in the mail I received a preapproval for a 60k Citi AAdvantage card. I opened one in 2014 and closed it in January 2016. Am I correct in my understanding that I won’t qualify for a bonus if I reapply for this card until January of 2018, 24 months after closing?

    Thanks.

    • @Michelle Check the language on the offer. If it doesn’t list 24-month restriction, you should be OK. Save the mailer just in case. If it does mention it, you probably won’t get the bonus till 2018. I say “probably” because you never know with Citi. You may get lucky, but it’s tough to say.

    • @Michelle In that case, you should be able to get the bonus. Check and make sure this wording isn’t anywhere in the mailer. But yeah, you should be good to go. Let me know how it works out and good luck!

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