Update: Credit card offers are constantly changing. See our Hot Deals page for the latest info on credit card bonuses.
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. Update 6/1/17: The bonus is now 50k miles!
Some of the card benefits include free checked baggage for you and four companions and priority 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.
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.
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?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.