American Airlines frequent flyer program is entering a new era. In 2022, American Airlines will use loyalty points to earn elite status instead of airline miles. Each loyalty point counts towards status. Loyalty points are earned by flying American Airlines or by spending money with several partners. The more engagement you have with American Airlines and partners, the higher elite status you can learn. Elite levels are staying the same. Yet, the path to elite status is changing drastically. In this new Guide to American Airlines AAdvantage program, we will review how to earn status in 2022 and changes to the AAdvantage program.
What are Loyalty Points
Frequent Flyer programs have become overly complicated. Previously, to earn status it required a mix of spending requirements. Members had to calculate butt in seat miles verse elite qualifying miles verse spending requirements. Now, American Airlines is looking to simplify their program though Loyalty points. Loyalty Points replace the complex formula previously utilized to determine elite status. Gone are Elite Qualifying Miles, Elite Qualifying Dollars, and Elite Qualifying Segments. Instead, nearly every American Airline mile now equals one loyalty point.
American Airlines is trying to drive loyalty through not only flying, but their partner programs. Airmiles are earned by flying and through partners. Partners, such as online portals, car rentals, hotel stays, and credit cards all reward customers with American Airlines miles. Now, for each time you choose to earn American Airline miles, you are working your way towards AA status. Elite status and awards are no longer focused solely on flying. Differently, your total engagement with American Airlines Advantage will determine Elite status.
Earning Loyalty Points
American Airlines Loyalty points are easy to earn. The most basic ways to earn miles is still through flying. Flying earns fewer miles than other sources, but more of this later. Base members will earn at least 5 points for every dollar spent on airfare. Taxes and fees do not earn loyalty points. Elite members will also earn a bonus on base miles. The higher your status, the more points per dollar.
- Base member – 5 miles for every U.S. dollar.
- Gold Elite AAdvantage member – 7 miles / U.S. dollar (40% bonus).
- Platinum Elite AAdvantage member – 8 miles / U.S. dollar (60% bonus).
- Platinum Pro Elite AAdvantage member – 9 miles / U.S. dollar (80% bonus).
- Executive Platinum Elite AAdvantage member – 11 miles / U.S. dollar (120% bonus).
Loyalty Point Partners
Other ways to earn loyalty points are through American Airlines approved partners.
- Online Portals: AAdvantage eShopping, AAdvantage Dining, SimplyMiles
- Hotels: bookaahotels.com, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, Marriott Vacations, RocketMiles
- Car rentals: aa.com/car, Avis, Budget, Payless, Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, Alamo, National, Sixt
- Cruises: bookaacruises.com
- Retail: Shell, WeWork, Vinesse, FTD, Vivid Seats, NRG Energy, Reliant Energy, Xoom, Miles for Opinion
- Airline Partners: OneWorld Airlines, GOL, JetBlue
- Credit Cards: American Airlines co-branded credit cards. Base points only. Bonus points earned in bonus categories and sign up bonuses do not count.
Do note, that cars and hotels have their own loyalty programs. Cars and hotels usually let you choose if you want to earn points in their program towards free stays and rentals, or credit the points to a partner program. In this case, to earn loyalty points you will have to credit the miles to American Airlines instead of the hotel or car rental program. I personally thing this is a bad choice, as I value free car rentals and hotel stays. Yet, this is up to you.
The easiest way to earn American Airlines loyalty points will be through credit card spending and their online portals. AAdvantage Eshopping awards miles for shopping online. Earn miles at over 1200 online stores from Walmart, to Bestbuy, to Home depot and beyond. Usually, online shopping earns between 1-10 points per dollar spent. Similarly, Simplymiles award bonus points for shopping in locations where you already shop. Link offers to your cobranded American Airline cards to earn miles.
American Airlines Elite Status Levels
American Airlines still has four elite status level. To earn status, you must earn enough loyalty points through engagement of American Airlines and their loyalty partners.
- AAdvantage member – 0 loyalty point
- Gold member – 30,000 loyalty points
- Platinum member – 75,000 loyalty points
- Platinum Pro member – 125,000 loyalty points
- Executive Platinum member – 200,000 loyalty points
Elite status still comes with select benefits such as upgrades, free luggage, priority boarding, and other benefits. Yet, for those people who want the best benefits that American Airlines offers, such as system wide upgrades American Airlines will require passengers to fly at least 30 segments on American Airlines.
Elite Choice Rewards
American Airlines is granting choice rewards to passengers who actually fly American Airlines. As an incentive to earn Loyalty Points by flying, AAdvantage Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members who fly 30 or more segments will have choice rewards. Starting in March 2022, Loyalty Point award levels start at 125,00 points. For each award level, a choice award will be granted. Currently, Choice awards include System Wide Upgrades, Admiral Club day passes, and AAdvantage award bonus miles. American airlines claim other awards will be available later in 2022.
American Airlines elite status no longer requires flying American Airlines to earn status. Instead, nearly all interactions which earn American Airline miles earn Loyalty Points. The more you engage and earn, the higher the status you will earn. American Airlines is not actually changing their Advantage program benefits, but instead changing how you earn and keep status. Elite levels are staying the same, with new qualifiers. The dramatic changes are now in effect. Although earning status will be possible through bonus and credit card spend, the most sought after rewards, such as System wide upgrades still requires true loyalty to flying. Only those who spend hours on planes, and fly the necessary segments will find themselves earning American’s best rewards.