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9 Ways to Earn AAdvantage Status Without Flying

Soar to the next elite status without getting on a plane with these 9 tips for earning Loyalty Points

Advertiser Disclosure: Slickdeals Money has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Slickdeals Money and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain.

When American Airlines introduced its new elite status metric this year, earning status became more accessible than ever. Previously, members had to fly a certain distance, complete a certain number of segments and spend a minimum amount on airfare. Now all of that has changed. 

Every dollar spent, whether on credit cards or airfare, counts towards American Airlines elite status. If you’ve ever wanted to chase AAdvantage status, this is as good a time as ever to go for it. You can earn status with American Airlines whether you’re flying, driving, taking a cruise or shopping online. Here are nine ways to earn AAdvantage elite status without flying:

American Airlines Elite Status Requirements

family traveling on American Airlines flight watching movies
American Airlines

To earn elite status with American airlines, you need to earn between 30,000 – 20,000 Loyalty Points per qualification year. The qualification year runs between March 1 and February 28 of the following year. 

  • Gold: 30,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum: 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum Pro: 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • Executive Platinum: 200,000 Loyalty Points

Loyalty Points are different from redeemable miles in that they calculate your progress towards elite status. For example, you might earn 2 miles per $1 at gas stations on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, from our partner Citi, but you’ll only earn 1 Loyalty Point per $1 on that purchase. We’ll expand on how Loyalty Points are calculated shortly. 

Activities That Count Towards American Airlines Elite Status

Whether you’re close to achieving your AAdvantage status goals or starting from scratch, there are many ways to earn Loyalty Points. Here’s a look at all the activities that count towards elite status with American Airlines:

Credit Card Spending (up to 1 Mile Per Dollar Spent)

Every dollar spent on an AAdvantage credit card earns 1 Loyalty Point, regardless of category bonuses. So if you spend $50 at gas stations with the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Card, you’ll earn 100 redeemable miles and just 50 Loyalty Points. 

If you want to earn additional Loyalty Points through credit card spending, look no further than the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. Cardholders who spend $40,000 a year will earn an extra 10,000 Loyalty Points, which gets you a third of the way to AAdvantage Gold status.

While credit card spending only earns 1 Loyalty Point per dollar, you can stack it with other earning methods to reach your status goals faster.

American Airlines Vacations

Jade Mountain Resort St. Lucia
Jade Mountain

American Airlines vacations offer convenience and value. Rather than making separate reservations for hotels, airfare and rental cars, you can book a complete package and earn lots of bonus miles along the way. Right now, American Airlines Vacations offers up to 20,000 bonus miles at select Hilton resorts or the fifth night free at the famed Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia.  

While the redeemable miles are pretty lucrative, you’ll only earn 1,000 Loyalty Points per booking. Depending on your vacation package cost, this might not be the best option. After all, American Airlines issues 5 miles per $1 spent on flights alone. So if the airfare portion of your vacation package costs more than $200, you’re better off booking your hotel separately (unless you’re saving significantly on a vacation package).

Hotel Bookings

AAdvantage members have three ways to earn Loyalty Points on hotel bookings: By booking with American Airlines Hotels, Rocketmiles or directly with Hyatt, IHG or Marriott. The number of miles you earn depends on your booking method. Rocketmiles can be particularly rewarding since it offers up to 10,000 miles a night. That’s a third of the way towards Gold status!

However, by booking directly with Hyatt, IHG and Marriott you’ll retain elite benefits. Those are generally not offered when you book with a third-party site like AA Hotels or Rocketmiles. 

  • IHG: 1-2 miles per dollar spent, depending on the brand
  • Marriott: 1-2 miles per dollar spent, depending on the brand
  • World of Hyatt: 500 miles each stay, plus one mile per dollar spent for AA elites 

Car Rentals

If you’re ready to hit the road this summer, you can drive your way to AAdvantage elite status with a rental car booking. American Airlines partners with all major rental car companies to offer Loyalty Points and miles on car rentals. The earning rate will vary by company, but you’ll usually get 500 miles per booking.

Cruise Bookings

cruise at sunset
Unsplash

Cruises offer an affordable all-inclusive experience for those who crave relaxation and the option of adventure. Whether you’re taking in the grand vistas of Alaska or relaxing poolside in the Caribbean, you can score some terrific deals on cruise packages year-round. Book through AA Cruises and you’ll get 1 Loyalty Point for every dollar spent, plus bonus miles on select cruises. 

Currently, American Airlines is offering AAdvantage credit cardholders 2 Loyalty Points per dollar spent. All you have to do is book by December 31, 2024 and you can earn up to 20,000 bonus Loyalty Points this way.

Shopping Online

Online shopping offers unparalleled convenience — and rewards, if you use a shopping portal. You can earn both redeemable AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points with AAdvantage shopping and SimplyMiles.

AAdvantage Shopping

The AAdvantage shopping portal offers bonus points at over 1,200 retail partners. Simply look for a retailer you want to shop with, click on the designated link and you’ll have the opportunity to earn up to 25 miles and Loyalty Points per dollar spent, or even more with certain offers. It takes minimal effort and pays off big. Sometimes you’ll see an offer for bonus miles, like 1,000 when you add the browser extension and spend $25 within a specific period.

SimplyMiles Shopping

Earning Loyalty Points towards elite status with SimplyMiles requires a few extra steps. You need to sign up for an account, register a credit card, then choose from a selection of offers. You’ll earn bonus points when you make a qualifying purchase with a registered credit card. The offer selection is much more limited than what you’ll find on the AAdvantage shopping portal. But it’s worth exploring if you want to earn Loyalty Points toward travel. 

AAdvantage Dining Rewards

The next time you’re dining out, you could be inching closer to your AAdvantage elite status goals. American Airlines’ dining rewards program offers up to 5 miles per $1 spent at participating restaurants. All you have to do is sign up, register one or more credit cards and then use that card at participating restaurants. As a new member, you’ll also earn 1,000 bonus miles after spending $25 within the first 30 days. 

It’s worth noting that the 1,000 bonus miles won’t count towards your elite status goals, but every dollar spent does. By combining AAdvantage dining with a co-branded credit card, you can earn miles faster at participating restaurants.

Shell Fuel Rewards

Shell Fuel Rewards
Shell

Shell Fuel Rewards is free to join and typically offers a $0.03-$0.05 cent discount on gas per gallon. But through a partnership with American Airlines, Fuel Rewards members can earn 2 AAdvantage miles per gallon of fuel purchased. Through December 2022, members can earn a 100-mile bonus for joining and completing their first fill-up. 

Energy Bills

Through a partnership with NRG and Xoom, AAdvantage members can earn two miles per $1 spent on energy bills. New members get an extra welcome bonus of up to 15,000 miles. 

NRG Energy

  • Welcome bonus: Earn up to 15,000 bonus miles for switching to NRG
  • 2 miles per $1 spent on monthly service

Xoom Energy 

  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles for switching your electrical account to Xoom Energy or 5,000 miles for natural gas after two months of service
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on monthly service

Filling Out Surveys

Survey sites e-Rewards and Miles for Opinions have partnered with American Airlines to offer miles for surveys. These miles even count towards your elite status goals. While surveys can be time-consuming and not very rewarding at 50-200 miles/Loyalty Points each, it’s a way to bridge the gap if you’re short on your status goals. Additionally, completing surveys for miles can be worthwhile if you’re doing it during breaks from work or to pass the time. 

Activities That Don’t Earn Loyalty Points

While virtually every dollar you spend with American Airlines will count towards elite status, there are a few exceptions.

  • Charitable donations to Stand Up to Cancer will earn 10 redeemable miles per dollar spent, but no Loyalty Points.
  • You also won’t earn Loyalty Points on bonus points, including credit card sign-up bonuses or credit card category bonuses.
  • Most notably, Bask Bank activities don’t count towards elite status. This is unfortunate since Bask Bank offers many ways to earn redeemable AAdvantage miles on everyday banking activities.
  • You also won’t earn Loyalty Points on point purchases or transfers from Marriott Rewards.

FAQs

How Do I Get American Airlines Elite Status?

You can earn elite status with American Airlines by earning Loyalty Points through various activities. These include flying, renting cars, dining out and shopping online. 

What Are Loyalty Points?

Loyalty points are used by American Airlines to calculate progress towards elite status. They’re calculated separately from redeemable miles.
You need 30,000 – 200,000 Loyalty Points per year to earn AAdvantage elite status. The qualification period runs between March 1 and February of the following year. 

How Do Loyalty Points Work?

Loyalty Points are issued for virtually every dollar spent with American Airlines and its partners. You can earn Loyalty Points for dining out, shopping online, completing surveys and other activities. 

How Long Does Elite Status Last?

Once you earn elite status with American Airlines, it’s valid through the end of the following membership year. For example, if you earn status in September 2022, it’s good until the end of March 2024.

Featured photo courtesy of American Airlines

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Advertiser Disclosure: Slickdeals Money has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Slickdeals Money and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain.

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewalhttps://www.pointchaser.com/
Ariana Arghandewal is a rewards travel expert and founder of Pointchaser. She has covered all things points, miles and credit cards for over a decade and served as an editor at The Points Guy, NerdWallet, and FlyerTalk. Her work has also appeared in Forbes, Fodor's Travel, and U.S. News Weekly.

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