Looking for a rewards program that lets you redeem miles for every major cost of your travel plans?

The American Airlines AAdvantage program is here for you. You can redeem miles not just for flights, but also vacation packages, hotels, car rentals, and more.

And not only can you redeem miles on American Airlines (one of the world’s largest airlines), but also 12 Oneworld partners and 9 other airlines.

Like many airline programs, AAdvantage gives you a lot of options for redeeming your points, each with varying values. And to make it easier to earn miles, you get to choose between 4 different credit cards to earn on every purchase.

Here’s everything you need to know about the AAdvantage program, so you know you’ll be getting the best value you can get from your miles.

Related: Save Money Every Time You Fly – Credit Cards With Airline Miles

American Airlines AAdvantage at a glance

Value of an AAdvantage mile: High: $0.056 for magazine subscriptions
Low: $0.0077 for car rentals
Ways to redeem AAdvantage Miles: * Flights – 1.2 cents per mile (CPM)
* Vacation packages – 1 CPM
* Hotels – 0.87 CPM
* Car rentals – 0.9 CPM
* Magazine and newspaper subscriptions – 5.61 CPM
* Donations to charity
How to earn AAdvantage Miles: * Flights
* Hotels
* Car Rentals
* AAdvantage e-shopping
* 4 credit cards
Who these rewards are good for: * World travellers
Frequently Asked Questions: * Level of flexibility? Medium
* Blackout dates? No
* Do rewards expire? No
* Rewards cover taxes and fees? No
* Can these rewards be transferred? No
* Is there a way to earn rewards faster? Yes
* How to access AAdvantage login
* American customer service contact info

Calculating the value of an American AAdvantage mile

The AAdvantage program lets you use your miles to redeem for all the travel basics – flights, vacation packages, hotels, and car rentals.

Here’s an overview of each option and their value.

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for flights – 1.2 CPM

If you’re collecting AAdvantage miles, you’re most likely interested in redeeming for flights.

Good news – flights are the most valuable travel option available. We surveyed 20 different flights to a variety of destinations inside the U.S., as well as to Canada, Europe, and Asia – coming to an average value of 1.2 cents per mile.

How to redeem for flights

American Airlines uses a strict redemption chart system for flightsthis redemption option. There are many different charts and the one you use depends on where you’re departing from and what class you’re flying.

For example, here’s the chart for departing from the Continental U.S. or Canada in economy class:

American AAdvantage flight redemption chart

You can find more charts (and the smaller details) here.

The value of your points when redeemed for flights

So how did our numbers look? Flights to destinations outside the U.S. had a slightly better value, but overall there wasn’t much difference. You don’t have to worry too much about losing value when flying certain routes.

One thing you do have to worry about? Who you’re flying with. American Airlines charged much lower taxes and fees than other airlines, giving us consistently low charges on international flights, as well as the standard $11.20 on domestic flights. Other airlines had much higher taxes and fees charges.

A great example is our Chicago to London flight, which you can also book on Oneworld partner British Airways. But if you choose to do that, the taxes and fees were more than double what American would charge, severely reducing the value you get from your miles (and the amount you would save as well).

So, the only caveat with using miles is to stick to redeeming on American Airlines. If booking with another carrier, make sure to check the taxes and fees bill before confirming your booking.

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for vacation packages – 1 CPM

Looking to bundle all your travel expenses together in a vacation package? You can get everything covered with your American Airlines miles.

When redeemed this way, each mile is worth the same – 1 cent. That’s a bit less than the average flight value, but still decent and slightly easier to redeem.

How does it work? Simply make your booking, and you can then choose to use your miles to cover a portion of the price (or all of it, if you have enough miles), making your miles easy to use for vacation packages.

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for hotels – 0.87 CPM

For free hotel nights, the AAdvantage program has a wide selection of hotels from all over the world – more than 150,000 different properties are available.

We looked at 17 hotels in different cities across America, and came to an average value of 0.87 cents.

And while the average value is less than flights, a few hotels provided very good value. It can be a good option to at least check out when making travel plans.

Related: Best Hotel Credit Cards

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for car rentals – 0.77 CPM

Coming in last among the travel options are rental cars. We test booked 16 rental cars across the U.S. for one-day rentals.

Our average value came to 0.77 cents, with all but one of our rentals coming in under 1 cent per mile.

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for magazine and newspaper subscriptions – 5.61 CPM

If you have some spare miles lying around and are looking to do something with them, you can use them for magazine and newspaper subscriptions – and get pretty great value for them too.

Here are a few examples of what’s available and the kind of value you could expect to get. Please note that these are all magazine options, we couldn’t look at newspaper subscriptions as the site wasn’t working at the time of writing.

Subscription Miles Required Actual Cost Value Of 1 Mile (cents)
Bon Appetit – 10 Issues 600 $24.99 4.17
Vanity Fair – 12 Issues 800 $25.00 3.13
People – 54 Issues 2700 $123.66 4.58
Sports Illustrated – 78 Issues 700 $84.00 12.00
GQ – 10 Issues 600 $25.00 4.17

Surprisingly, this option has the highest redemption value – an average of 5.61 cents per mile.

And while you may not get the best selection, it’s definitely a great use of your miles if you’re interested.

Redeem American AAdvantage miles for donations

Finally, you can also donate miles to charity.

There’s no value for your miles, but they can be donated to a variety of different charities.

You can find more details about the options here.

Earning American AAdvantage Miles

Now that you know everything about redeeming AAdvantage miles, how do you earn them?

Here are the 5 ways you can get them.

Earn American AAdvantage Miles by flying

Like most airline programs, flying is the fastest way to accumulate miles.

On American Airlines, how much you earn depends on how much you paid for your flight and your status level in the AAdvantage program. You earn miles on base airfares and any carrier surcharges, but not on government-imposed taxes.

Here’s what you’ll earn, based on your status:

Earning AAdvantage miles on American flights

When it comes to Oneworld and other American Airlines partners, earn rates vary between them. You can find more about their different policies here.

Earn American AAdvantage Miles at hotels

Every time you book with select hotels, you can earn AAdvantage miles on your stay. How much you’ll earn depends on what hotel, since each chain has its own policy.

There are quite a few partners available. This page has all of them, as well as how many miles you can earn at each.

For example, if you stay at select Marriott Bonvoy locations, you’ll be earning 2 miles for every $1 you spend on qualifying purchases. But other chains, like Hyatt, give you a flat 500 miles per stay.

Earn American AAdvantage Miles on car rentals

You can also earn miles on car rentals. All the major car rental agencies will let you earn AAdvantage miles for your rentals, with a total of 12 partners to choose from.

Again, how much you earn depends on the agency. You can check out this page for all the details.

Earn American AAdvantage Miles on shopping

To earn miles while shopping, you can use the AAdvantage e-shopping mall. There are 950 different merchants you can shop with to earn extra miles.

The earn rate varies by merchant, and there are also lots of opportunities to earn bonus miles as well.

You can find out more about the e-shopping mall here.

American AAdvantage credit cards

To earn miles on everyday purchases, consider getting an American Airlines credit card. Issued by both Barclays and Citi, it’s the fastest way to earn miles if you’re not a frequent flyer.

Here’s a brief overview of each card.

Related: Best Travel Credit Cards

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

The only offering from Barclays is the .

You’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines, and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

It also comes with these great American Airlines benefits:

  • an annual companion voucher for $99 plus taxes after spending $20,000 annually,
  • 25% back in statement credits on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and Wi-Fi,
  • free first checked bag, and
  • priority boarding.

Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

The standard offering from Citi is the .

It comes with increased earnings on your everyday purchases:

  • 2 miles per $1 on American Airlines, restaurants, and gas stations, and
  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

It also comes with some great perks on American Airlines:

  • annual $125 American Airlines discount after spending $20,000 annually,
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and drinks,
  • priority boarding, and
  • free first checked bag.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card

If you’re looking for a no fee card, consider the .

Even though it has no fees, it still comes with some great earn rates:

  • 2 miles per $1 on American Airlines and grocery stores and
  • 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

But it only comes with one perk, though it’s still a nice one to have: a 25% savings on in-flight food and drink.

Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

For the most benefits you can get flying with American Airlines, there’s the .

You’ll earn a pretty lacklustre 2 miles per $1 spent on American Airlines and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

But where this card really shines are with its perks:

  • priority check-in and boarding,
  • priority security screening (where available),
  • 25% savings on in-flight food and drinks,
  • 10,000 AAdvantage Elite Qualifying miles after spending $40,000 annually,
  • membership in the Admirals club for complimentary lounge access, and
  • free first checked bag.

There’s quite a lot here for its annual fee of $450.

American AAdvantage questions and answers

How flexible are these rewards?

These aren’t the most flexible rewards you can get. While it’s not hard to redeem for travel products, you can’t use your miles for anything else besides magazines.

Are there blackout dates?

No, there are no blackout dates when you redeem miles on American Airlines flights.

Do these rewards expire?

No, provided you make at least one transaction on your account every 18 months.

Can you use points to cover taxes & fees?

Miles don’t cover taxes and fees when it comes to flights, but they do for every other travel redemption.

Can these rewards be transferred?

AAdvantage miles cannot be transferred to other programs.

Is there a way to earn rewards faster?

Yes, by using your AAdvantage number and an AAdvantage credit card when making travel purchases.

How to access your AAdvantage login

Simply head to aa.com and click login on the top navigation bar.

AAdvantage customer service contact info

To contact AAdvantage customer service, call 1-800-882-8880 within the U.S. and Canada. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, this page has more numbers you can call.

In conclusion

The American Airlines AAdvantage program offers you the ability to cover your transportation and hotels for your next trip. But, with varying values for all redemption options, it’s best to do your research before committing to a redemption so you get the most for your miles.

What about you?

What are your thoughts on the program?

Let us know in the comments below.