American Airlines has this week launched SimplyMiles, which is a new opportunity to earn bonus miles with retailers using your American Airlines credit cards. Don’t get too excited, at least initially (and frankly probably don’t even get too excited long-term).
What is American Airlines SimplyMiles?
SimplyMiles is essentially a program for earning bonus miles for making purchases with select retailers. This is available on co-branded Citi and Barclays American Airlines credit cards, and when you register you can start earning bonus miles with some retailers.
This is largely similar to the Amex Offers and Chase Offers concept, except the rewards come entirely in the form of miles.
How American SimplyMiles Works
The process of getting started is easy. You just have to create an account, link your credit card, and then start adding offers to the card.
In order to register your card, just enter your AAdvantage number, last name, and choose a password.
Then select the AAdvantage card you want to add — again, this has to be either a Barclays or Citi card. While I don’t generally use any American Airlines credit cards for spending (because there are better options out there), I added my Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, which is an exceptional card for its lounge access benefit, and it’s the only American Airlines credit card I keep long term.
And that’s it — at that point you’re registered and can start looking at the offers available to you.
What Are American SimplyMiles Offers Like?
To launch there are a total of 30 offers, and I imagine they’ll cycle these over time. You have to register your card for each individual offer you want to consider.
Their launch offers sure are disappointing. For example:
- Earn 250 bonus miles for spending $75 or more at Olive Garden
- Earn 200 bonus miles for spending $100 or more at Aldo
- Earn 1x bonus miles per dollar spent at Shoe Carnival
- Earn 3x miles per dollar on American Airlines Vacations packages of $3,000+
Yeah, I can’t say I’m too excited about this.
The big thing to keep in mind is that you actually have to pay with your linked American Airlines card to earn the bonus miles, and in many cases there’s a huge opportunity cost to that.
For example, you earn 250 bonus miles when you spend $75 at Olive Garden, but the card ordinarily earns just one mile per dollar spent. So if you spent exactly $75 at an Olive Garden you’d be earning ~4.3 American miles per dollar spent. With other cards I could earn a flat 5x points per dollar spent on dining. So even after jumping through all these hoops I’m still not coming out ahead.
SimplyMiles is worth being aware of and is a concept that could be cool in theory, but I just don’t see myself ever bothering to check this again. The offers so far are pretty lame, and in most cases you’re already forgoing a lot of points by using an American Airlines credit card compared to some of the other cards out there for everyday spending.
Anyone see value in the new SimplyMiles program?