American Airlines Deals and Credit Card Offers

Oct 10, 2016 | Be First to Comment!

American Airlines
Art Konovalov /

American Airlines started in the 1920’s and was incorporated into American Airways, Inc in 1930. Four years later they became American Airlines and are now considered the world’s largest airline based on revenue and overall fleet size.

They operate 12 main hubs within the United States and offer flights to more than 80 domestic destinations and 83 international destinations in 49 countries. In fact, they service the second-largest number of destinations, behind United Airlines. They are the founders of the Oneworld Alliance and have transatlantic partnerships with British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, and a transpacific relationship with Japan Airlines.

American Airlines has a main hub in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. Below are all the U.S. based hubs for American Airlines:

Location Airport
Dallas Ft. Worth, Texas Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
Queens City, New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Los Angeles, California Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
New York City, New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
Miami, Florida Miami International Airport (MIA)
Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
Chicago, Illinois O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
Washington D.C. Ronald Reagan Washington International Airport (DCA)

Latest American Airline flight deals

American Airlines runs various flight promotions which can be found on their website. Remember to read the entire promotion as they may come with certain restrictions, rules, travel blackout dates, and purchase-by dates. Right now they do not have any fare sales available, but you can receive airline bonus miles when you purchase:

  • Qualifying flights between the U.S., Canada or Australia for First Class, Business Class or Economy Class tickets and complete your travel by 5/31/16. Use code AUS16 and you could earn up to 90,000 bonus AAdvantage bonus miles.
  • Qualifying non-stop round trip flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo Haneda (HND) and travel between 2/11/16 - 4/30/16. Use code LAHND and you could earn up to 36,000 bonus AAdvantage bonus miles.

American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program

To reward frequent flyers, American Airlines offers the AAdvantage program as way to earn miles towards flights and other travel adventures. This program is free to join and you can apply simply by submitting your name, gender, and birthdate as it appears on your photo ID, in accordance with the TSA Secure Flight guidelines.

How do you earn miles?

As a member of the AAdvantage frequent flyer program, you earn miles by traveling via American Airlines flights and its Oneworld partners, or by booking a hotel, car rental, vacation package, or cruise through the American Airlines website.

All members earn a base of 1 point for every mile you fly on American Airlines and its Oneworld partners. You’ll also receive 1 ½ points per qualifying mile for booking a ticket in economy, first class, or business seats.

You can also earn miles through American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards from various financial institutions, such as CitiBank and Aviator MasterCard (more on this below). These miles don’t expire as long as you continue to earn and redeem miles every 18 months on American Airlines qualified flights. You can view the exact expiration date under "miles balance summary" in your online account.

Can you buy miles?

With the American Airlines AAdvantage program you can purchase bonus miles, which cost roughly $29.50 for every 1,000. However, you can receive bonus miles via limited-time bonus mile offers that are available on their website when you purchase miles during special events.

Additionally, you can purchase miles as gifts or share them with friends and family for added bonus miles. For example, their current spring promotion includes a bonus of 115,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for you when you purchase a gift of 115,000 for a friend or family member. That’s a total of 265,000 miles.

How do you redeem miles?

In order to redeem your miles, simply check the balance on your AAdvantage account online and book flights on American Airlines directly or with any Oneworld partner. Review the award map to choose from over 1,000 destinations worldwide and then cash in your miles to book the trip.

You can choose to redeem miles for nearly anything else, including magazine subscriptions or gift cards, or you can donate the miles to your favorite charity. The number of miles needed varies depending on what you purchase, but you can redeem miles for flights starting at just 12,500 miles.

To cash in your miles for flights or anything else, simply log on to your AAdvantage online account, click the AAdvantage button, and choose the "redeem miles" option to book now. Each mile earned works out to roughly 1.8 cents per mile when cashing them in for flights or other vacation packages.  

Are there different levels of frequent flyer status?

The AAdvantage frequent flyer membership program is broken down into two main categories: Basic and Elite. From there, the Elite membership is further broken down into three classes: Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum.

With each status level, members receive access to a long list of travel and flight benefits that includes free checked bags, priority boarding, seating upgrades, and an expedited security process. Gold members earn an additional 25% bonus of their base miles when traveling with American Airlines or participating Oneworld partners. Platinum and Executive Platinum members earn 100% bonus miles on their base miles along with cabin upgrades, guaranteed seating, and lounge access.

How does one qualify for Elite status?

As an AAdvantage member, you can earn Gold, Platinum, or Executive Platinum Elite status by flying a minimum of 30 qualifying flight segments on AA or its affiliated partners, or earning at least 25,000 qualifying miles. In order to keep your Elite status, you must fly at least four segments on AA or US Airways carriers within the qualifying year.

You can earn and redeem miles with American Airlines and any of its Oneworld partners, including:

oneworld airline partners
airberlin Japan Airlines
Air Tahiti Nui Jet Airways
Alaska Airlines LAN Airlines
British Airways Malaysia Airlines
Cape Air Qantas Airways
Cathay Pacific Qatar Airways
Etihad Airways Royal Jordanian Airlines
Fiji Airways S7 Airlines
Finnair Seaborne Airlines
Gulf Air SriLankan Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines TAM Airlines
Iberia WestJet

American Airline Credit Cards

American Airlines issues two credit cards through Visa and MasterCard. Each offer the option to earn miles in accordance with every purchase you make using that specific card.

Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard

Citi Platinum Select Advantage World MasterCard®This card offers entry-level benefits like earning 1 mile for every purchase charged to the card. It comes with a 30,000 bonus miles offer if you spend at least $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of opening your account. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

With the Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard you get Priority 1 boarding, free checked bags, no foreign transaction fees, and access to the Reduced Mileage Program, which allows you to redeem miles starting at just 7,500 miles.

Citi® AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

Citi AAdvantage Executive CardMuch like Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard, with the Citi® AAdvantage® Executive World EliteMasterCard® you’ll earn 1 mile for every dollar spent as well as access to the rest of the basic benefits. However, this card comes with an increased bonus offer of 50,000 miles after spending at least $5,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account.

Additional perks include Admiral Club membership, enhanced airport experience, and a credit for the Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee. The Citi AAdvantage Executive card comes with a $450 annual fee.

There is no maximum number of American Airlines AAdvantage miles you can accumulate when using any of the Citi AAdvantage credit cards. These cards also don't charge foreign transactions fees, making them a perfect fit for international travelers.

AAdvantage® Aviator™ MasterCard®

With the AAdvantage® Aviator MasterCard® from Barclaycard, you’ll earn 1x mile for every $2 you spend on everyday purchases as well as 25% off in-flight purchases on American Airlines operated flights. This card has no annual fee.

AAdvantage® AviatorBlue MasterCard®

AAdvantage Aviator Blue MasterCardThis card is one level up from the basic AAdvantage® Aviator™ MasterCard® and offers the chance to earn 1 mile for every $1 spent on everyday purchases. It too comes with 25% off in-flight purchases - but with the added bonus of no foreign transaction fees for international travelers. It comes with a $49 annual fee.

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red MasterCard®

AAdvantage Aviator Red MasterCardThis card is one level up from the Aadvantage® Aviator Blue MasterCard®. It offers the same earnings of 1x mile for every $1 spent on everyday purchases. But in addition to the basic perks, it comes with free checked bags, boarding privileges (for up to four companions) and $100 flight discount when you spend $30,000 or more in purchases during the year.

You can also redeem your miles starting at 7,500 miles and get 10% of your redeemed miles back, up to 10,000 miles, each year. get It too comes with 25% off in-flight purchases but with the added bonus of not charging foreign transaction fees for international travelers. It comes with an $89 annual fee.

AAdvantage® Aviator™ Silver MasterCard®

AAdvantage Aviator Silver MasterCardThis card is one level up from the Aadvantage® Aviator Red MasterCard® and features 1x miles for everyday expenses as well as 2x miles for hotel and car rental purchases. In addition to the basic perks, it comes with free checked bags, Zone 1 boarding privileges, and baggage fee waiver (for up to eight companions). Other benefits include 5,000 elite qualifying miles for $20,000 in annual purchases and a $100 credit to cover the Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee.

Finally, this card allows you to earn a companion certificate for one or two additional tickets at $99 on paid flights every year more than $30,000 is spent using the card.

You can also redeem your miles starting at 7,500 miles and get 10% of your redeemed miles back (up to 10,000 miles) each year. It too comes with 25% off in-flight purchases and no foreign transaction fees for international travelers. It comes with an $195 annual fee.

American Airlines baggage fees

On most flights, American Airlines charges $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second checked bag. On some originations and destinations, the baggage fees can vary. Additionally, the fees become much more expensive for checking more than two bags. The American Airlines website has a comprehensive table for the exact fees.

These are the weight and size measurements for checked bags to not be considered “oversized”:

  • No more than 51 lbs (23 kgs)
  • No larger than 62 inches (157 cm) when the bag’s dimensions are added together

How to avoid checked bag fees on American Airlines

There are several ways that American passengers can check their bags for free.

  • Fly business or first class.

Generally, American passengers who have a business ticket are allowed to check up to two bags for free. First class passengers can check up to three complimentary bags.

  • Have certain Citi AAdvantage or AAdvantage Aviator credit cards.

The Citi® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and Aadvantage® Aviator Red MasterCard® will waive the first checked bag fee for the cardholder and up to 4 travel companions. The Citi® AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® and the AAdvantage® Aviator Silver MasterCard® will waive the first checked bag fee for the cardholder and up to 8 travel companions. Companions must be on the same reservation.

  • Have AAdvantage elite status.

AAdvantage Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum elite status members get up to one, two, and three free checked bags, respectively.

  • Be active or veteran U.S. military personnel.

American Airlines will waive up the baggages fees for up to three checked bags in support of active or veteran servicemembers of the U.S. military.

Baggage fees are similar to other major U.S. airlines

The baggages fees charged by American Airlines are relatively similar to what the other major U.S. airlines will charge:

Airline First checked bag Second checked bag
American Airlines $25 $35
JetBlue Airways $20 $35
United Airlines $25 $35
Delta Airlines $25 $35
Southwest Airlines $0 $0

American Airlines Admirals Club airport lounges

American Airlines operates more than 50 Admirals Clubs worldwide. These airport lounges provide spaces for American passengers, who can use them to relax, work, eat, or freshen up.

Once you gain access to an Admirals Club, there’s a long list of free amenities including light snacks and house drinks, Wi-Fi Internet access, and charging stations. Many locations also provide workspaces with computers, copiers, and fax machines. Some locations also provide shower suits and children’s rooms. Premium meals, drinks, and conference room rentals are also available for purchase.

Ways to obtain Admirals Club access

Here are the many ways that you can gain access to an Admirals Club location:

1. Buy a One-Day pass.

A One-Day pass is typically available for purchase at most Admirals Club locations for $50 each. If you are flying to multiple airports with Admirals Clubs during the course of the day, the same pass will grant access to all those lounges. The cost of the One-Day pass can be applied toward an annual membership within a 30-day window.

2. Get a 30-day membership.

A 30-day membership is available for $99. During that time period, you have unlimited access to Admirals Club lounges. Membership can be purchased online, at an Admirals Club, or by phone. While still active, the cost of the 30-day membership can be applied toward an annual membership.

3. Get an annual Admirals Club Membership.

Annual membership to Admirals Clubs is available from $400 to $500. The price decreases as you get a higher AAdvantage elite status. Also, renewals cost $50 less than the standard price. Admirals Club annual memberships can also be bought and renewed with AAdvantage miles. (A household membership includes access for your spouse or domestic partner.)

The chart below shows the cost of an annual membership depending on AAdvantage elite status and payment method:

Membership type AAdvantage AAdvantage Gold AAdvantage Platinum AAdvantage Executive Platinum
Individual $500 / 80,000 miles $475 / 70,000 miles $450 / 65,000 miles $400 / 55,000 miles
Individual (renewal) $450 / 70,000 miles $425 / 60,000 miles $400 / 55,000 miles $300 / 45,000 miles
Household $825 / 125,000 miles $750 / 110,000 miles $675 / 95,000 miles $575 / 75,000 miles
Household (renewal) $775 / 115,000 miles $700 / 100,000 miles $625 / 85,000 miles $525 / 65,000 miles

4. Have the Citi® AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard or Citi Prestige® Card.

The Citi® AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® and Citi Prestige® credit cards provide unlimited Admirals Club access for the cardmember and up to two 2 guests on the same flight reservation.

5. Fly international business class or first class with certain flights.

Passengers with business or first class tickets traveling to and from Europe, South America, Central America, Asia, and Mexico City have access to Admiral Clubs on the day of their flights. First class passengers can bring one guest.

6. Be on active military duty.

Passengers who are active military personnel have complimentary access on the day of their American Airlines flights.

Airport lounge fees comparison

The airport lounge fees for American Airlines Admirals Club access is just slightly cheaper compared to other major U.S. airlines.

Airline lounge Single visit pass Annual individual memberships
American Admirals Club $50 $450 to $500 (renewals are $50 cheaper)
United Club $59 $450 to $550
Delta Sky Club $59 $450 to $695
Southwest (no lounges) N/A N/A
JetBlue (no lounges) N/A N/A

Tips when flying with American Airlines

Credit card customers get reduce mileage awards

Customers with one of American’s co-branded credit cards can redeem award flights with fewer miles. Cardmembers with the AAdvantage® Gold and Aadvantage® Aviator Blue MasterCard® credit cards will receive a 5,000-mile discount. Those with all other American Airlines credit cards will receive a 7,500-mile discount.

With award flights, flight changes are free

American Airlines is relatively easygoing when it comes to changes to your award tickets. If you need to change travel dates, times, and carrier for no fee as long as the origin and destination does not change. This can be useful for passengers who are unsure of their exact travel plans but want to tweak their flights as the travel date draws closer.

Buy AAdvantage elite status if deemed worthwhile

AAdvantage members who are very close to qualifying for an elite status can choose to pay for a boost to the next tier. However, it can be expensive -- as much as $2,499 for people trying to obtain Executive Platinum status. Frequent fliers who have the most opportunities to benefit from a higher elite status are most suitable for a elite status boost.

American Airlines Ratings Compared to Other Airlines

When put against the other major airlines that serve the U.S., American Airlines does not rank well. See how the airline did with respect to the big factors that affect a passenger's flying experience (source: WSJ):

Rank Overall On-time arrivals Canceled flights Extreme delays 2-hour tarmac delays Mishandled baggage Involuntary bumping Complaints
1 Alaska Airlines Alaska Frontier Alaska Alaska Virgin America JetBlue Alaska
2 Virgin America Delta Virgin America Delta Southwest JetBlue Virgin America Southwest
3 Delta Airlines Southwest Alaska Southwest Virgin America Delta Delta Delta
4 Southwest Airlines Virgin America Southwest Virgin America Delta Spirit Spirit JetBlue
5 JetBlue Airways JetBlue Delta American Frontier Frontier Alaska Virgin America
6 Frontier United JetBlue United JetBlue United American United
7 United Airlines American Spirit JetBlue Spirit Southwest United American
8 Spirit Frontier United Frontier United Alaska Southwest Frontier
9 American Airlines Spirit American Spirit American American Frontier Spirit

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