The best way to currently earn American Airlines miles is by signing up for the Citi Executive AAdvantage card with a 100,000-mile bonus. It has a $450 fee (really $250 since you get a $200 statement credit) and requires $10,000 of spending (which may be tough now that CVS will stop selling Vanilla Reloads with credit cards).
But many of us also have other flavors of Citi AAdvantage cards – I also hold the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card since it offers a 10% rebate on miles I’ve redeemed, up to 10,000 miles returned per year. The fee is $85, but both Scott and I got a $95 statement credit to keep it. A family member also has a Citi Business AAdvantage card, but I have the account under my e-mail so I can keep track of any promotions.
I found two separate promotions for earning 3X American Airlines AAdvantage miles in my inbox yesterday on these cards. The first one offers 3X American Airlines miles for the personal Citi AAdvantage card for certain purchases, such as grocery, gas, drugstores, dining, and commuter expenses. There is a 2,500 bonus mile limit, so it would only work for the first $1,250 you spend (since you earn 2 bonus miles on top of the 1 mile you already earn). You have to enroll by 5/31/2014 (and there’s a 2 day lag in the offer registering) and spend by 6/30/2014.
While you may not be able to by Vanilla Reloads at CVS, many grocery stores, drugstores (including CVS), and gas stations still sell Visa and Mastercard gift cards. Those gift cards have PIN functionality, but if you don’t want to trek to a store that allows you to buy things like money orders, you could also liquidate them on Amazon Payments. You could also buy gift cards for other things, like Amazon.
The T&C state:
* This offer starts within 2 business days of when you enroll and will end on 06/30/14. AAdvantage® miles are only earned on eligible purchases. Earnings associated with this program will equal 2 AAdvantage® bonus mile(s) per $1 spent on eligible purchases and may overlap with other special offers in which you are currently enrolled. AAdvantage® miles earned with this offer are subject to a maximum of 2,500 AAdvantage® bonus miles. Eligible purchases exclude purchases made at discount stores, balance transfers, cash advances, convenience checks, items returned for credit, fees and interest charges. Grocery stores, including supermarkets, are classified as merchants that provide a complete line of food merchandise for home consumption. This offer includes convenience stores which are classified as merchants who sell a limited variety of food items. Gas stations are classified as merchants that primarily sell vehicle fuel for consumer use. Restaurants are classified as stand-alone dining establishments that primarily prepare food and drinks for immediate consumption by consumers, either on the merchant’s premises or packaged for takeout, and include bars, cocktail lounges, discotheques, nightclubs, taverns and fast food restaurants. Drugstores are classified as merchants that sell prescription and proprietary drugs and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines. Commuter transportation merchants are classified as merchants that provide mass passenger transportation including railways and buses, bridge and tunnel fees and temporary parking, but does not include the purchase of Amtrak tickets. All purchases must be posted during the promotional period. We do not determine how merchants are classified, however, they are generally classified based upon the merchant’s primary line of business. We reserve the right to determine which purchases qualify for this offer.
Business Card Offer
I also got an offer on our Business Citi AAdvantage card, and the bonus categories are different. You can earn 3X American Airlines miles on Travel, Dining, Office Supplies, and Car Rentals, with the same 2,500 bonus mile cap ($1,250 spent).
You could use this program to buy gift cards at Office Supply stores – while you’d normally earn 5X Ultimate Rewards with Chase Ink card, those don’t transfer to American Airlines miles, so 3X here is still a pretty good temporary offer.
The T&C for this card state:
* This offer starts within 2 business days of when you enroll and will end on 06/30/14. AAdvantage® miles are only earned on eligible purchases. Earnings associated with this program will equal 2 AAdvantage® bonus mile(s) per $1 spent on eligible purchases and may overlap with other special offers in which you are currently enrolled. AAdvantage® miles earned with this offer are subject to a maximum of 2,500 AAdvantage® bonus miles. Eligible purchases exclude balance transfers, cash advances, items returned for credit, fees and finance charges. All purchases must be posted during the promotional period.