AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard Review: Earn Miles With No Annual Fee
Airline frequent flyer programs can help you save money if you're earning miles toward free flights.
Pairing those miles with an airline co-branded credit card can help you rack up miles even faster. The can come in handy if you want to bank miles on American Airlines flights as well as everyday purchases.
This card offers a simplified rewards structure that makes earning miles easy.
Perhaps best of all, this card has no annual fee.
If you regularly fly with American Airlines, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard could be a good fit for your wallet.
Dive into our in-depth review to learn more about what this airline rewards card has to offer.
AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard Pros & Cons
Earn Unlimited Miles Toward Award Flights
The AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard makes it easy and simple to earn miles on purchases.
With this card, you earn:
- 2x miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases
- 2x miles per dollar spent at grocery stores
- 1x mile per dollar on all other purchases
Miles are unlimited and you can increase miles earnings by adding authorized users to your account. The more you spend, the more miles you can earn.
For example, say you spend $10,000 a year on American Airlines flights, $8,000 a year on groceries and $10,000 a year on miscellaneous purchases. Altogether, you'd earn 46,000 miles that you could use for award flights with American.
There's also an introductory welcome bonus that could put more miles in your account. There's a minimum spending requirement you need to meet to qualify but the threshold is relatively low.
Qualifying for the bonus is another easy way to snag more miles, plus you also get a cash statement credit.
And once you're ready to redeem regular or bonus miles, you can use them for:
- Award flights aboard American Airlines
- Flights with American Eagle, oneworld airlines and partner airlines to nearly 1,000 destinations worldwide
- Flight upgrades
- Vacation packages
- Admirals Club membership
American Airlines partners with a number of top airlines to make redeeming miles for flights more valuable. Those partners include:
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Japan Airlines
American Airlines is one of the few airlines that still publishes an award chart so it's easy to see how far your miles can take you.
For example, MileSAAver awards departing within the contiguous 48 states and Canada start at just 12,500 miles for a main cabin fare. Business and First Class bookings for those destinations start at 25,000 miles.
Generally, AAdvantage miles are worth 1 cent each, though you can increase their value to between 2 and 4 cents each, depending on the booking.
Save Money on Inflight Purchases
The AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard doesn't come with a ton of travel perks but there is one money-saving benefit to know about.
When you use your card to purchase eligible inflight food and beverages, you can get a 25% discount on those purchases.
So, if you spend $100 per flight on food and beverages and fly 12 times a year, you could save $300 thanks to the discount.
This benefit doesn't extend to other inflight purchases, such as WiFi. But it's still worth noting if you regularly buy food, drinks and snacks during flights.
Other Card Features and Benefits
The AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard is more of a basic airline rewards credit card.
One of the better perks, however, is being able to use the miles you earn with your card to gain elite status in the AAdvantage frequent flyer program.
For example, once you reach Gold status you can unlock benefits like:
- Complimentary flight upgrades for flights of 500 miles or less
- Upgrades for companion tickets on qualifying flights
- Preferred seating
- One free checked bag
- 24-hour upgrade window
- 40% elite mileage bonus on eligible flights, in addition to the base miles you'd already earn
Ordinarily earning Gold status would require you to accumulate 25,000 Elite Qualifying Miles and $3,000 in Elite Qualifying Dollars.
With the AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard, the miles you earn on purchase could help with qualifying for elite status faster.
While this card has no annual fee, which is great, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee to keep in mind.
If you plan to travel outside the U.S. at all, it's important to be aware of how that fee can increase the cost of purchases. For every $1,000 you spend, for example, a 3% foreign transaction fee adds on another $30.
In terms of the APR, the regular variable APR for purchases and balance transfers is typical of other airline miles credit cards. There are no promotional rates offered for either one.
That's also important to keep in mind if you think you'll carry a balance at all. Carrying a balance month to month can make travel or other purchases more expensive as interest accumulates.
Compared to Other Travel Rewards Cards
The AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard is one choice for earning airline miles.
If you're interested in what else is available, here are three other cards to consider for earning travel rewards toward award flights and other purchases.
Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard can be even more rewarding if you charge American Airlines flights or everyday purchases.
With this card, you can earn:
- 2x miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases
- 2x miles per dollar at restaurants
- 2x miles per dollar on gas
There's also a generous introductory miles bonus to help you get started earning miles faster. What makes this card even more appealing are the added travel benefits.
Those benefits include your first checked bag free, preferred boarding, a 25% savings on eligible inflight food and beverage purchases and no foreign transaction fees. There is a $99 annual fee but it's waived for the first 12 months.
Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
You may be interested in the if you're looking for an airline rewards card that also includes Admirals Club membership.
Membership, which has a $650 value, is included as a card benefit along with fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, priority check-in and priority boarding, a first checked bag free and a 25% savings on inflight food and beverages.
You can earn 2x miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases, along with 1x mile per dollar on all other purchases. You can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year.
This card does have a $450 annual fee. But if you're flying frequently and taking advantage of Admirals Club membership as well as other perks, that can easily balance out the card's value.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The is a premium travel rewards card. Card benefits include:
- Up to $300 in annual travel statement credit
- 3x points per dollar on travel and dining worldwide after earning your $300 travel credit
- 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- 50% more in travel redemption value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 1:1 points transfer to select travel partners
The points transfer feature could prove valuable if you want to turn points into miles you can use to book American Airlines flights. British Airways is a Chase travel partner, as well as an American Airlines partner.
You could transfer points earned with your Chase Sapphire Reserve Card to British Airways miles, then transfer those miles to American. There's a little legwork involved but this card offers a way to earn rewards toward American flights without having an American Airlines co-branded card.
Just keep the annual fee in mind. The regular annual fee is $550 and a separate $75 annual fee applies to each authorized user.
What’s the Verdict?
The could be a good option if you want a basic airline rewards card that allows you to earn AAdvantage miles everywhere you go.
Since there is a 3% foreign transaction fee, this card could be best suited for travelers who primarily stick with U.S. destinations.
In terms of other card options, there are cards that can offer more miles or better travel perks. But the trade-off is paying an annual fee.
So you may be better off with the MileUp card if you'd rather not pay a fee to earn travel miles.