American AAdvantage Loyalty Points Program Guide

American AAdvantage Loyalty Points Program Guide

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American Airlines made radical changes to its loyalty program as of 2022. The Fort Worth-based airline completely reimagined how elite status is earned, and eliminated the concept of elite qualifying miles and elite qualifying dollars.

Instead earning AAdvantage elite status has been significantly simplified, and doesn’t just account for how much you fly with American, but also accounts for how much you engage with American’s partners. You can now earn top tier status exclusively through credit card spending, if you wanted to. This is such a radical departure from the old system, and I’d largely consider that to be a good thing.

In this post I wanted to cover everything you need to know about the Loyalty Points program.

Earn American AAdvantage elite status with Loyalty Points

American AAdvantage elite status is earned exclusively based on how many Loyalty Points you rack up. Every qualifying AAdvantage mile accrued earns you one Loyalty Point. For 2022, AAdvantage elite status requirements are as follows:

  • AAdvantage Gold status requires 30,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum status requires 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro status requires 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum status requires 200,000 Loyalty Points

American’s invitation-only Concierge Key status continues to have unpublished qualification requirements. However, we have reason to believe that some non-flying activity may also be considered toward earning Concierge Key, unlike in the past.

American AAdvantage elite status requirements

Note that with the Loyalty Points program, status is earned between the beginning of March of a particular year and the end of February of the following year, and is then valid through March 31 of the year after that. That means status is no longer based on the traditional calendar year.

You’re probably wondering what’s considered “qualifying” for the purposes of Loyalty Points. Yes, spending $200,000 on a credit card would earn you Executive Platinum status, but buying 200,000 AAdvantage miles wouldn’t earn you Executive Platinum status. So let’s go over those details.

Each eligible AAdvantage mile earns you a Loyalty Point

How to earn Loyalty Points for flying American Airlines

The most popular way to earn Loyalty Points is by flying with American Airlines. When flying American Airlines:

  • You earn 5x base miles per dollar spent, all of which qualify as Loyalty Points
  • Elite status bonuses also count as Loyalty Points, ranging from 40% to 120%; Gold members get a 40% bonus, Platinum members get a 60% bonus, Platinum Pro members get an 80% bonus, and Executive Platinum members get a 120% bonus
  • In other words, an AAdvantage Gold member earns 7x Loyalty Points per dollar spent, while an Executive Platinum member earns 11x Loyalty Points per dollar spent
  • American basic economy tickets are eligible to earn Loyalty Points
  • You can earn up to 75,000 Loyalty Points per ticket
American AAdvantage elite bonuses count as Loyalty Points

How to earn Loyalty Points for flying partner airlines

In addition to being able to earn Loyalty Points for flying with American Airlines, you can also earn Loyalty Points for flying with partner airlines:

  • You can earn Loyalty Points for flights on all oneworld airlines, plus JetBlue and GOL
  • You earn redeemable miles at the same rate as before, and those miles also qualify as Loyalty Points
  • Elite status bonuses also qualify toward Loyalty Points on partner airlines, and those range from 40-120%
  • Cabin bonuses (where you earn miles for flying premium economy, business class, or first class) also qualify toward Loyalty Points

Let me give a couple of examples. Say you’re an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member booking an Alaska Airlines first class ticket from Los Angeles to Seattle in the “I” fare class. That flight covers a distance of 954 miles, so how many Loyalty Points do you earn? Based on the mileage earning chart:

  • You earn 100% base miles, so that’s 954 miles
  • You then receive a 50% class of service bonus, so that’s 477 miles
  • You then earn a 120% elite bonus, so that’s 1,145 miles
  • Altogether you earn 2,576 AAdvantage miles, all of which would qualify as Loyalty Points

Say you’re an AAdvantage Gold member booking a British Airways first class ticket from San Francisco to London in the “A” fare class. That flight covers a distance of 5,367 miles, so how many Loyalty Points do you earn? Based on the mileage earning chart:

  • You earn 100% base miles, so that’s 5,367 miles
  • You then receive a 150% class of service bonus, so that’s 8,051 miles
  • You then earn a 40% elite bonus, so that’s 2,147 miles
  • Altogether you earn 15,565 AAdvantage miles, all of which would qualify as Loyalty Points
You can earn Loyalty Points for travel on partner airlines

How to earn Loyalty Points for credit card spending

Most American AAdvantage credit cards issued by Barclays and Citi earn Loyalty Points:

  • You earn one Loyalty Point for every base mile earned on the card, which would generally be the rate of one Loyalty Point per dollar spent
  • Welcome bonuses don’t count as Loyalty Points
  • If you’re spending in a category that’s bonused, you only earn Loyalty Points for the “base” spending, meaning one Loyalty Point for every dollar spent; in other words, if a card offers two AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on American Airlines flight purchases, you still only earn one Loyalty Point
  • There are some opportunities to earn bonus Loyalty Points for credit card spending, which you can learn more about here

But long story short, spending $200,000 on a co-branded American Airlines card, whether it’s the no annual fee American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card (review) or the $450 annual fee Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review), would earn you Executive Platinum status.

See this post for all the details on earning Loyalty Points with credit cards.

You can earn American status through credit card spending

How to earn Loyalty Points for other partner activity

As far as non-flying activities go, there are some other partners beyond credit cards that allow you to earn qualifying Loyalty Points. Specifically, base miles earned with the following partners can earn you Loyalty Points:

  • Platforms: AAdvantage Dining, AAdvantage eShopping, SimplyMiles
  • Hotels: bookaahotels.com, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, Marriott Vacations, RocketMiles (this includes miles earned with the American & Hyatt partnership)
  • Cars: aa.com/car, Avis, Budget, Payless, Hertz, Dollars, Thrifty, Alamo, National, Sixt
  • Cruises & vacation packages: bookaacruises.com, aavacations.com
  • Retailers: Shell, WeWork, Vinesse, FTD, Vivid Seats, NRG Energy, Reliant Energy, Xoom, Miles for Opinions

Even if you hadn’t considered these programs in the past, these could be worth another look, as you can rack up Loyalty Points based on your everyday purchases.

You can earn Loyalty Points for dining out

What activity doesn’t earn Loyalty Points?

There are several types of activity that don’t earn Loyalty Points, including:

  • Buying, gifting, or transferring miles
  • Government taxes, fees, and other charges associated with buying airline tickets
  • Conversion of another program currency to AAdvantage miles (for example, converting Marriott Bonvoy points, rather than selecting Bonvoy points as your earnings preference for stays)
  • For AAdvantage credit cards, welcome bonuses don’t qualify, and neither do “accelerators” or “multipliers” (like extra miles for each dollar spent in certain categories)
  • Miles earned with Bask Bank, which offers AAdvantage miles based on how much money you have deposited

I find these exclusions to be interesting. I’m not surprised that buying miles doesn’t count toward Loyalty Points, though at the same time, I don’t follow the logic of that:

  • Presumably American selling AAdvantage miles directly to consumers is higher margin than when American sells miles to partner programs (whether it’s Citi or SimplyMiles)
  • I suppose the logic is that American thinks it would be too easy to earn status that way, and doesn’t want to do that; but what does and doesn’t qualify really doesn’t fully make sense
Buying miles doesn’t count toward Loyalty Points

American AAdvantage Loyalty Choice Rewards

American AAdvantage offers Loyalty Choice Rewards, whereby Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members can choose rewards when earning Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum status. These rewards can include perks like systemwide upgrades, though the intent is that this program gives people the flexibility to choose the rewards that matter most to them.

There’s one major catch, though. In order to be able to earn Loyalty Choice Rewards, you need to log 30 segments on American or a qualifying partner airline during your membership year. American Airlines marketed award flights even count toward that requirement.

In other words, this is a way to avoid giving those perks to people who don’t actually fly American frequently. There are Loyalty Choice Rewards perks at the following tiers:

  • Level 1 — 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • Level 2 — 200,000 Loyalty Points
  • Level 3 — 350,000 Loyalty Points
  • Level 4 — 550,000 Loyalty Points
  • Level 5 — 750,000 Loyalty Points

See this post for all the details on Loyalty Choice Rewards, and which represent the best value.

American AAdvantage Loyalty Choice Rewards tiers

Platinum Pro Loyalty Choice Rewards

When earning 125,000 Loyalty Points plus completing 30 qualifying segments, Platinum Pro members are able to select one of the following:

  • One systemwide upgrade
  • 20,000 AAdvantage bonus miles (25,000 AAdvantage bonus miles if you have an AAdvantage co-brand credit card)
  • One-time 15% AAdvantage award savings (applies to a roundtrip award for up to two travelers on any oneworld airline in any cabin, and the rebate will be applied after travel)
  • $200 American Airlines travel voucher
  • Six Admirals Club one-day passes
  • Carbon emissions offset
  • $200 donation to one of 10 partner charities
Select a systemwide upgrade as a Loyalty Choice Reward

Executive Platinum Loyalty Choice Rewards

When earning 200,000 Loyalty Points plus completing 30 qualifying segments, Executive Platinum members are able to select two of the following:

  • Two systemwide upgrades
  • 25,000 AAdvantage bonus miles (30,000 AAdvantage bonus miles if you have an AAdvantage co-brand credit card)
  • Gift of AAdvantage Gold status
  • Admirals Club membership (this requires two choices)
  • Choice of Bang & Olufsen products (this includes headphones, speakers, and earbuds)
  • Carbon emissions offset
  • $200 donation to one of 10 partner charities
  • $200 American Airlines travel voucher

Perks are similar at the higher Loyalty Choice Rewards thresholds.

Select bonus miles as a Loyalty Choice Reward

How to see your AAdvantage Loyalty Points total

You can always easily see your AAdvantage Loyalty Points total by logging into your AAdvantage account, either through aa.com or the American Airlines app. There’s a simple graphic that shows your status toward qualifying for the various Loyalty Points thresholds.

You can click on the “Activity” tab to see a breakdown of the Loyalty Points you’ve earned for all your AAdvantage accruing activity.

American AAdvantage account showing Loyalty Points activity

If you want to figure out your progress toward the 30 eligible flights needed to earn Loyalty Choice Rewards, click on the “Promotions” tab. There you’ll see how many eligible flights you’ve taken. However, this will typically only show if you have Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum status.

American AAdvantage account showing qualifying segments

Loyalty Points determine upgrade priority

Complimentary upgrades are one of the best perks of airline elite status. Loyalty Points can play into your odds of getting upgrades. American Airlines upgrades are prioritized first by elite status, and then by your rolling 12-month total of Loyalty Points.

In other words, the more Loyalty Points you rack up on an ongoing basis, the higher your upgrade priority will be within your elite tier. Nowadays all AAdvantage elites are eligible for complimentary upgrades within North America, and upgrades even extend to companions.

However, there are lots of people eligible for upgrades and limited seats to upgrade to, so higher elite status and a higher Loyalty Points total really makes a difference for clearing into an available seat.

Upgrades are now prioritized based on Loyalty Points

How to earn American AAdvantage Million Miler lifetime status

American AAdvantage has lifetime elite status, whereby you can earn AAdvantage Gold or Platinum status for life, for passing one million or two million lifetime miles (respectively). The requirements to earn that are remaining unchanged, and are unrelated to Loyalty Points.

Instead miles toward Million Miler are calculated based on the distance flown for American marketed flights, or base miles earned for travel on eligible partner marketed flights. That means you can’t earn lifetime status through credit card spending (as an example).

Unfortunately American’s lifetime elite status program continues to be woefully uncompetitive, especially in comparison to Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus.

Million Miler status is unrelated to earning Loyalty Points

American AAdvantage 2022 status double-dipping

As mentioned above, qualifying for elite status in the AAdvantage Loyalty Points program is based on activity between March 1 of a given year, and February 28 of the following year.

However, for 2022 American Airlines has made it a bit easier to earn status. For 2022 only, all activity between January 1, 2022, and February 28, 2023, will qualify toward status for this year. In other words, you have 14 months to earn status, rather than 12.

AAdvantage status is easier to earn in 2022

Crunching the numbers on AAdvantage Loyalty Points

How hard is it to earn AAdvantage elite status with the Loyalty Points program, compared to the previous one? For context, AAdvantage Executive Platinum status used to require earning 100,000 elite qualifying miles and 15,000 elite qualifying dollars in a year. Now the status requires 200,000 Loyalty Points (plus 30 segments, if you want to earn Loyalty Choice Rewards).

With that in mind, a few thoughts on the math here:

  • If you’re earning 11x Loyalty Points per dollar spent on American flights, you’d have to spend ~$18,200 per year on flights to earn Executive Platinum status, which is a significant increase compared to the previous requirement
  • Interestingly Executive Platinum status is harder to earn than before if you’re starting from scratch, since you don’t earn the same 120% mileage bonus from the start; you’d have to spend over $27,000 on flights to get to Executive Platinum status from scratch
  • On the other end of the spectrum, spending $200,000 per year on a co-branded credit card would also earn you Executive Platinum status, though you’d only receive the Loyalty Choice Benefits if you flew at least 30 segments
  • To take a hybrid approach, if you’re an Executive Platinum member you could spend $100,000 per year on a co-branded credit card and spend ~$9,100 per year on flights to maintain Executive Platinum status
You can take a hybrid approach to earning AAdvantage status

Why American shifted to the Loyalty Points system

Some road warriors are confused and frustrated about why American has made these changes, which increasingly incentivize qualifying for status through non-flying means.

The reality is that this reflects how American makes money. Flying is incredibly low margin for airlines, and in most quarters American’s cost per seat mile is higher than the revenue per seat mile. That means American makes most of its money through non-flying means, including the AAdvantage program.

So it’s entirely rational that American would want to give people an incentive to engage in the activity that’s profitable and high margin.

See this post for more on why this program makes sense.

American is incentivizing what’s most profitable

Bottom line

New as of 2022, American AAdvantage elite status is exclusively earned based on how many Loyalty Points you accrue, rather than based on how many miles you fly, or how much you spend on flights. Loyalty Points can be earned through flying, credit card spending, and activity with AAdvantage partners.

I’m a fan of the concept behind these changes. The Loyalty Points concept simplifies earning elite status, and does a better job of considering a member’s overall engagement in a loyalty program, beyond flying. After all, that’s how a loyalty program makes money and best engages with members.

What do you make of the AAdvantage Loyalty Points program?

Conversations (18)
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  1. Gary Rifkin Guest

    Does anyone know how loyalty points are calculated when you book an AAVacation package? Thinking about booking flight & car through AA Vacation and wanted to know if I'll still get my ExecPlat 11x points on the flight portion. Thanks for anyone with insight on this!
    Gary

    1. Derrick Woolfson Guest

      You unfortunately do not earn 11 points per dollar spent when booking on AAVacations. You will earn LP’s based on “distance” + cabin bonus, and typically a 1,000 point AAVacations bonus. They don’t explain that well at all and it cost me a lot of points. Using the vacations platform can cost you several thousand points depending on the cost vs. Distance calculation.

  2. Ugur Camli Guest

    Loyalty point multiplier is different for each elite level. Thus it is harder to qualify for a higher status than to remain in the same status. It reminds me of a cast system. In the past it was way fairer: fly certain miles , you reach a status, same for everyone. AA rewards program is now regressive. I do not like it. It is the most difficult upgrading from platinum to executive platinum.

  3. Ned Member

    Lucky, also not sure if you've noticed (or I'm just weeks behind) but AA is now letting customers spend AA miles for MCE seat assignments at booking.

  4. Chris Guest

    Do award flights count as a flight toward the 30 minimum for choice awards?

    1. Mike C Diamond

      'American Airlines marketed award flights even count toward that requirement.'

      So yes.

  5. Rob Guest

    Everyone has different needs. As someone who rarely travels. The fact that I can just use my AA branded cards and get free "upgrades" into Main Cabin Extra for the four of us without the extra cost is amazing. I will rarely find myself fighting for an upgrade into first class and I am cool with that.

  6. Lee Guest

    Imagine that you fly round-trip JFK to LHR every month in first class. You are spending about $60k. As an EP (or CK), you are earning 660k Loyalty Points per year. And, they are absolutely worthless. That's because you only have 24 segments and you can't unlock ANY of the Choice Awards. 30 segments are required. AA is stiffing its highest revenue, highest margin customers. Who thunk that up?

    1. Danny Guest

      I concur. I am in the same situation with 24 segments (flying every month) and over 200,000 loyalty points every calendar year.

    2. Ned Member

      Give them long enough and I would expect they'll add a segment waiver similar to Delta's EQD waiver. Great point though.

    3. ChuckB Guest

      At 230K LP, with 13 segments (paid J RTs to SE Asia) this year after ~$30K spend, I'm right there with you, though I don' t see how you'll get a JFK-LHR RT in F for $5K (but I digress). I'm actually considering segment runs to unlock the Choices when Jan rolls around, if necessary. Which does not make me a happy boy.

  7. Mike Guest

    One minor frustration (minor as it does not impact most customers) is a max. limit of 75k LP's per PNR. I got capped twice this week on 8k+ tickets.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Mike -- Great point, I updated the post to reflect that.

    2. ChuckB Guest

      I've found that on most of my flights I can get buy 2 one ways for nearly the same cost (sometimes cheaper!) as an RT and overcome this.

  8. Anthony Diamond

    IMO - the exchange of higher Loyalty Points requirements, especially for those that are trying to either earn or increase their status, is a bad trade for adding things like shopping, hotel bookings, etc. I have never paid attention of any of that stuff (maybe with the exception of buying flowers) for any loyalty program - having to think about it adds more complexity. I would rather have Loyalty Points bonuses on buying first and business class back.

  9. Martin C Guest

    Lucky, You can see and track your 30 qualifying/eligible flights/segments on your app by going into the “promotions” button

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Martin C -- Great point, thanks! Not sure how I missed that. Updating post to reflect that.

    2. Fernsie Guest

      I don't know why but I do not see my qualifying segments when I go into the promotion tab. I only see the promotions that I am eligible for. Is there something I'm missing? Does anybody else have the same problem?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Mike Guest

One minor frustration (minor as it does not impact most customers) is a max. limit of 75k LP's per PNR. I got capped twice this week on 8k+ tickets.

1
Martin C Guest

Lucky, You can see and track your 30 qualifying/eligible flights/segments on your app by going into the “promotions” button

1
Derrick Woolfson Guest

You unfortunately do not earn 11 points per dollar spent when booking on AAVacations. You will earn LP’s based on “distance” + cabin bonus, and typically a 1,000 point AAVacations bonus. They don’t explain that well at all and it cost me a lot of points. Using the vacations platform can cost you several thousand points depending on the cost vs. Distance calculation.

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