Earn 100K American Airlines Miles with These Two Cards
earn american airlines miles

How to Quickly Earn 100K American Airlines Miles (And Why You Should)

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Flying isn’t top of mind for even the most die-hard travelers right now. And others might be wary of flying American Airlines, as the carrier isn’t blocking middle seats during the pandemic. But with hopes for travel on the horizon and some amazing ways to use AAdvantage miles, this is a great time to start earning American Airlines miles.

It’s undeniable that American Airlines and its AAdvantage mileage program are incredibly valuable – their amazing partner airlines make AA miles among the best to fuel your future travels. So even if you’re not planning to get on a plane anytime soon, earning American Airlines miles is never a bad idea. Better yet, it’s easier to earn a big stash of these miles fast than with perhaps any other major airline.

We’ll outline how you can quickly and easily earn 100,000 American Airlines miles – and why you might want to.

Read more: 7 Reasons You Should Be Earning American Airlines Miles.

 

How to Earn American Airlines Miles Fast

The easiest way to earn miles isn’t by flying. It’s through credit cards – and especially credit cards that offer big sign-up bonuses after spending $1,000 to $4,000 within the first few months.

Most airlines offer these co-branded credit cards through just one bank. Delta has its suite of SkyMiles American Express credit cards. United Airlines, meanwhile, has a handful of Chase credit cards like the United Explorer Credit Card.

But American Airlines is different. They have co-branded credit cards with two different banks: Citi and Barclays. The Barclays card is a holdover from the merger of American and U.S. Airways back in 2015. But both credit card relationships have survived to this day.

Why does this matter? It means you can apply for and open credit cards from both banks – and earn the sign-up bonus on each.

But before you do this, you’ll want to make sure you have an American Airlines AAdvantage account. That way, you can use your account number on both card applications. If you don’t have one, you can create one here first.

To start with, few credit cards offer a better, more lucrative sign-up bonus offer than the AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard from Barclays. Just for opening the card, making a single purchase, and paying the upfront $99 annual fee, you will earn 50,000 American Airlines miles.

While most credit cards require you to spend $2,000 or more in the first three months to unlock a big welcome bonus, that’s not the case here. For less than $100, you can earn a quick and easy 50,000 miles that will be worth much, much more than that price. They’re some of the easiest points and miles you will ever earn.

Make sure to read our full review of the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. 

 

aviator card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Barclays AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard (for full disclosure this is not an affiliate link) 

 

And then there’s American’s relationship with CitiBank, which means you can also apply for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. This card currently offers 50,000 AAdvantage Miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of card membership. And the card’s $99 annual fee is even waived for the first year of card membership.

Read our full review of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. 

 

Beat American Basic Economy

 

Click Here to learn more about the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.

 

Put these two cards together: Pay one $99 annual fee (on the Aviator Red Card), and spend just $2,500 on the other (the Citi Platinum Select World Elite card) in the first three months. Bam: You’ve got 100,000 American Airlines miles.

That’s an easier (and cheaper) path to pile up more than 100,000 miles than you’ll find with almost any other airline.

Of course, it requires opening two credit cards and responsibly meeting the minimum spending requirement. Credit cards are not something to apply for lightly, and if your financial situation doesn’t allow it, you shouldn’t move ahead.

If you don’t want to keep these cards past the first year and keep paying annual fees, you don’t have to. You could cancel them and your American Airlines miles would be safe and sound in your American Airlines account. You can read more about this in our post about what happens to your points and miles after you close a credit card.

Read more: 4 Credit Card Myths You Should Stop Believing

 

How Far Can 100K American Miles Take You?

“What can I even do with 100,000 AA miles?” you may ask. The answer? A lot.

Whether your goal is to fly in some of the world’s best business & first-class seats or simply fly in economy for a very reasonable price, AA miles offer something for most.

For example, you can use AA miles to book a seat in the Etihad Apartment, one of the world’s best first class cabins. Keep in mind the fate of these first class suites is currently in flux – Etihad is not currently flying their Airbus A380s equipped with Apartments during the pandemic.

The space and comfort may rival a New York City studio (we’re only exaggerating a little bit). It’s easily one of the most luxurious ways to fly, and you can book it with AA miles. If you’re flying from the U.S., the only option is to head from New York City (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) for 115,000 AAdvantage miles. These flights are bookable online, though it can still be tough to find a seat.

Make sure to read our guide on how to book the Etihad Apartment with AA miles, and check out our recent flight review of the experience.

 

earn American airlines miles

 

With AAdvantage miles, it’s easy to get to Mexico or an island in the Caribbean for cheap. Thanks to low rates and plenty of flights, there’s no better way to book a trip south than with AAdvantage miles.

Much like with Europe, American has flights at cheaper rates during the off-peak season. In this case, you can unlock those rates between Sept. 7 to Nov. 14 and April 27  to May 20. That means you can get to incredible islands like St. Martin (SXM), St. Lucia (UVF), and Aruba (AUA) for as low as 25,000 miles round-trip. Even at 30,000 miles for a normal round-trip, it can be a steal.

And thanks to American’s generous new change and cancelation policy, even flights booked with miles to Mexico and the Caribbean can be changed for free.

 

earn American airlines miles

 

Or what about flying in style to Japan? When you’re flying 13-plus hours to Asia, it’s worth some extra miles to fly in comfort. How about a SkySuite?

Japan Airlines has one of the world’s best business class products out there, and they’re called SkySuites. In the right seat, it’s both spacious and insanely private. Some of the best food you’ll find in the sky doesn’t hurt either.

After our recent sterling review of Japan Airlines Business Class, we’re convinced it’s one of the best ways to use your AA miles.

 

earn American airlines miles

 

The best part? This incredible flight – which normally costs $5,000 or more –  is just 60,000 AAdvantage miles each way.

Want to fly first class to Tokyo? Japan Airlines’ First Class can be booked for only 80,000 AAdvantage miles each way. And we think it’s worth it. Check out our full review of a flight from Tokyo to Chicago.

OK, now AAdvantage miles are just showing off. For just 70,000 American AAdvantage miles each way – you can fly the Qatar Airways QSuites (the world’s best business class) to the Maldives.

Read our full review of the Qsuites experience from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Doha (DOH)!

 

earn american airlines miles

 

Read more: The 7 Best Ways to Use American AAdvantage Miles

 

Bottom Line

Booking travel for 2021 may still feel uncertain, but using your miles is the way to go. Best of all, American now allows free cancellation to get your miles back on all award tickets! That means you can lock in these amazing deals and cancel down the road if necessary.

There is never a bad time to earn American Airlines miles. Great partner carriers and reasonable award rates make AAdvantage miles incredibly valuable.

But above all, these are some of the easiest miles you will ever earn. The ability to quickly earn 100,000 AAdvantage is second-to-none. Don’t sleep on this opportunity as you are thinking about your 2021 travels.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

6 Responses

  • Nick, I wanted to confirm before applying. If we have already had the Citi AAdvantage card in the past, we can apply again and get the bonus, correct?

    Thanks,
    Steve

    • Hi Steve, good question. Generally the rule with Citi is you will need to wait 24 months from when you last had the card to be approved and earn the bonus again. If it’s been that long, you shouldn’t have any issues.

      • Approved!

        I’m going to close our my Barclays AAdvantage card before February (when the annual fee is charged.) I’ll apply for that one after the Citi AAdvantage card is ready to charge me the annual fee.

        Another quick question. My AAdvantage miles are scheduled to expire in November. I thought I remember reading that purchasing something from the AAdvantage shopping portal would renew the miles, is that still true?

        Thanks for all of your continued help Nick!

        • Great to hear! Anything you do to earn or use miles in your account will reset the clock. That includes spending on your new Citi card and also the shopping portal as you mentioned.

  • Nick,

    Great article but you fail to mention that you could also pick up the business version of both of these cards and pick up another 120-140k points. This would get you over 250,000 AA miles.

    • Hi Kyle, absolutely. For the sake of keeping this simple I didn’t mention the business versions of the cards but they’re certainly an option for those who qualify for small business credit cards.

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