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How American Airlines sucked me back into AAdvantage with Loyalty Points


I’ve had quite a multiyear journey with American Airlines. I had given up on its frequent flyer program, quitting in disgust as AAdvantage upped the qualification requirements for Executive Platinum back in 2018 (to $15,000 in spending). That led me into the arms of Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines — at least until the pandemic hit. My Platinum Pro status from 2019 carried over all the way until early 2022, when I dropped back down to the dreaded “member” status.

Those years also saw the rollout of the Loyalty Points program, which I had once derided as too complicated.

But American Airlines has found a way to reel me back into the AAdvantage system. I’ve become obsessed with earning Loyalty Points and have made it back to Executive Platinum status, and I’m aiming to do it again next year. My quest for Loyalty Points has gotten so bad that I’ve been doing some seemingly irrational things.

Nevertheless, this has worked for me — and in light of the upcoming deadline for earning AA status (Feb. 29), here’s why it might make sense for you, too.

Shortcut to status? Instant Status Pass is still available for some

Signing up for the American Airlines Instant Status Pass challenge. AA.COM

American did something pretty big to lure me back into the Oneworld fold. I was lucky enough to get in on what American Airlines called an Instant Status Pass back in 2022.

American granted me Platinum Pro status until the end of March 2023 with the opportunity to extend it through July 28 if I earned 42,000 Loyalty Points. If I managed to earn a total of 67,000 Loyalty Points by then, I could even get boosted to Executive Platinum.

AMERICAN AIRLINES
AA status tracker for 2023. AMERICAN AIRLINES

And I did just that.

I earned 67,000 Loyalty Points in all three phases of the challenge. I’ll go into some detail below on how I did it, but suffice it to say it wasn’t via butt-in-seat flying.

AA status tracker for 2023. AMERICAN AIRLINES

While AA isn’t offering that Instant Status Pass to all right now, it launched a new status challenge for upper-tier Delta and United Airlines elite members only.

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You can head to this landing page for more information and to apply.

You’ll need to accumulate a set number of Loyalty Points in each phase, which lasts four months.

  • 13,000 Loyalty Points: AAdvantage Gold
  • 25,000 Loyalty Points: AAdvantage Platinum
  • 42,000 Loyalty Points: AAdvantage Platinum Pro
  • 67,000 Loyalty Points: AAdvantage Executive Platinum

Related: After 7 years as an American Airlines Executive Platinum, requalifying is no longer a must for me: Here’s why

It’s very similar to the challenge I’d been partaking in. I highly recommend it if you have status with Delta or United. Not only does it give you valuable miles and Loyalty Points, but it’s fun.

So how did I do it? Read on.

Get an AAdvantage cobranded card

This was the single biggest method of boosting my Loyalty Points balance. I opened a brand-new Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (see rates and fees), which awards 10,000 Loyalty Points after you reach 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year and another bonus of 10,000 Loyalty Points after you reach 90,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year.

That alone gave me 20,000 Loyalty Points, plus the points I got for the spending I put on the card to get the sign-up bonus (the bonus miles earned as part of a welcome offer do not count toward Loyalty Points). Since I already had earned 90,000 Loyalty Points in 2023, the bonus was posted very quickly after I opened the card.

Tracking bonus Loyalty Points with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive card. AA.COM

Remember, even if you don’t want to open the Citi / AAdvantage Executive card, you’ll get Loyalty Points for all spending on cobranded AAdvantage credit cards. You earn 1 Loyalty Point for every dollar you spend. Of course, some spending categories earn more than 1 redeemable mile per dollar, but you won’t earn more than 1 Loyalty Point per dollar using your AAdvantage credit card (barring special promotions).

Eligible cards include all Citi AAdvantage cards and all Barclays AAdvantage Aviator credit cards (except for the no-annual-fee AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard®, which earns 0.5 Loyalty Points per dollar on purchases)

I also have the AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® and earned another 5,000 Loyalty Points because I spent $20,000 in 2023.

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Your ultimate guide to American Airlines AAdvantage

World of Hyatt dual accrual

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

Another option for earning Loyalty Points comes via American’s partnership with World of Hyatt. All you have to do is make sure your accounts are linked if you have elite status with at least one of them.

I’ve earned 4,203 Loyalty Points in the last six months alone through this method.

Related: How Hyatt and American loyalists can earn more rewards by linking accounts

Here’s a screenshot of a few of the dual accruals I got as an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member with Hyatt Globalist status.

Hyatt dual accrual postings. AA.COM

SimplyMiles

SimplyMiles offers. SIMPLYMILES

SimplyMiles is a great way to beef up your Loyalty Point balance. It’s effectively like a shopping portal, and once you sign up with your AAdvantage number and link any Mastercard, you can activate offers to earn bonus miles (and Loyalty Points).

I’ve accumulated quite a few Loyalty Points this way, including several thousand by booking Viator tours and a couple thousand by shopping at Gopuff.

SimplyMiles offers. SIMPLYMILES

I also found an offer for SimplyBlooms.com, a flower delivery service. I sent flowers to a friend in Miami and earned 10 miles per dollar spent — some 980 Loyalty Points.

SimplyMiles offers. SIMPLYMILES

There was also an offer for a subscription to the Washington Post where you could earn 930 miles on a purchase of $40 or more. It turns out a one-year special offer for a subscription to the Washington Post was exactly $40. That got me another 930 Loyalty Points.

SimplyMiles offers. SIMPLYMILES

AAdvantage eShopping

Another great way to earn Loyalty Points is through the AAdvantage shopping portal. Using online shopping portals allows you to earn bonus points, miles or cash back at lots of online retailers simply by going through the portal. This is in addition to the rewards you earn on the credit card you use. I have earned thousands of Loyalty Points this way, including from vendors like Blue Apron and The Motley Fool.

AAdvantage eShopping portal offer. AADVANTAGE ESHOPPING

The amazing thing is that some of these offers stack with SimplyMiles offers.

As you can see in the screenshot below, I earned miles and Loyalty Points for Viator and Gopuff purchases via AAdvantage eShopping — and I also earned them through SimplyMiles. It’s a great way to double dip.

AAdvantage eShopping tracker. AADVANTAGE ESHOPPING

AAdvantage Dining

Another easy way to earn Loyalty Points (and AAdvantage miles) is via AAdvantage Dining. Go to aadvantagedining.com to register and link your credit card and AAdvantage accounts.

Related: Guide to AAdvantage Dining

All the miles you earn while dining count as Loyalty Points, which can help inch you closer to American Airlines elite status. Keep in mind that you will only earn miles when dining at participating restaurants and paying with a linked card, but lots of restaurants participate. You just need to look up restaurants near you on the AAdvantage Dining website.

I was hitting this pretty hard last year, but I’ve been more focused on Bilt Dining lately (you can only link each of your dining credit cards with a single program). Still, the AA Dining miles continue to trickle in, and every little bit helps.

AA Dining earnings. AMERICAN AIRLINES

Rocketmiles and AAdvantage Hotels

Rocketmiles booking page. ROCKETMILES

One of the easiest ways I was able to earn Loyalty Points was via Rocketmiles — though this has since been dramatically scaled back. As you can see from the booking page above, I earned a whopping 8,000 Loyalty Points from a one-night stay in Washington, D.C.

I also tested out a hotel in New York City, where I earned another 8,000 Loyalty Points.

Rocketmiles booking page. ROCKETMILES

Unfortunately, these earning rates have been dramatically scaled back. For example, a one-night stay at the Washington Hilton through Rocketmiles now earns just 500 miles (and 500 Loyalty Points).

Beyond Rocketmiles, American has its own hotel booking site called AAdvantage Hotels, where you can also earn Loyalty Points. While it doesn’t appear to be as generous as Rocketmiles once was, you can still earn quite a few Loyalty Points — especially if you have elite status and a cobranded AA credit card.

AAdvantage Hotels landing page. AADVANTAGE HOTELS

I haven’t used this frequently, but this one-night stay last year earned me 2,000 Loyalty Points for less than $300.

AAdvantage Hotels booking. AADVANTAGE HOTELS

I’ve seen much better deals than that recently — like this two-night stay in Cancun that would earn me 14,900 Loyalty Points.

AAdvantage Hotels booking search for Cancun. AADVANTAGE HOTELS

However, both these sites count as third-party booking platforms, so if you book a property that’s part of a major hotel loyalty program, you likely won’t earn points on the stay, nor will you be able to access any elite status perks.

Read more: 6 reasons to avoid booking through an online travel agency

Bottom line

Flagship First seats on AA’s A321T. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

American Airlines has found the formula to lure me back into the AAdvantage program. While some of the easiest Loyalty Points-earning opportunities have been scaled back, there still are a ton of fun opportunities to play the status game with American. Not only have I climbed from member to Executive Platinum in just a few months, but I’ve kept that status and even opened up a new AAdvantage credit card.

Related: Chasing American Airlines elite status? Here are 14 ways to earn Loyalty Points

Whether it’s via credit card spending, online shopping or dining out, there are lots of ways to hit status milestones now. And AA recently unveiled more changes to the program that make me even more excited to pursue status — including the ability to earn Loyalty Points on paid upgrades (coming soon).

If you are one of the many folks trying to requalify before the status year ends Feb. 29, good luck — and I hope this article gave you some good ideas.

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