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

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

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There has perhaps never been a more lucrative time to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

Even if you have no plans to fly with American Airlines, the airline's AAdvantage mileage program is incredibly valuable – their amazing partner airlines make AA miles among the best to fuel your future travels. 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. And that is especially true right now.

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.

Let's be clear: Credit cards are serious business. You should never open one credit card, let alone several, and spend money you don't have just for the sake of earning miles. If you can't pay off every charge in full, it's not worth it. But if you're financially responsible, this opportunity is great.

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 – miles that will be worth much, much more than that price tag. 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 Citi, which means you can also apply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. This card is currently out with a welcome offer bonus to earn 50,000 AAdvantage Miles after spending $2,500 within the 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. 


Citi aadvantage platinum select card


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.

If you don't want to keep these cards past the first year and keep paying annual fees, you don't have to. 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 110K 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.


Book Qatar Airways Qsuites

While there is a new way to book Qsuites with Qatar Avios, American AAdvantage miles remain the best way to book a flight in Qatar's incredible Qsuites business class.

You’ll need 70,000 AAdvantage miles to book a one-way flight from the U.S. to Qatar’s hub in Doha (DOH), or vice versa. You can also continue onward elsewhere in the Middle East – to Muscat (MCT) in Oman, Dubai (DXB), or Amman (AMM) in Jordan- and still pay just 70,000 miles. Best of all, you can easily search and book Qatar Qsuites on the American Airlines website.

By the time you met the spending requirement on the Citi card and earn the bonus on the Aviator card, you should have right around 115,000 American miles – enough for a one way ticket in Qsuites to the Middle East with miles to spare.


book qatar qsuites with American Airlines miles


Want to get to the Maldives or Seychelles? Or even as far as India or Sri Lanka? It's still just 70,000 AAdvantage miles, with a connection in Doha on your way.

Or you could head from the U.S. down to South Africa (or anywhere else on the continent) and pay just 75,000 AAdvantage miles each way. It’s a massive sweet spot on the American Airlines award chart, and one of the best deals in points and miles.


book qatar qsuites with American Airlines miles


For the time being, American Airlines has one award chart for all redemptions on its partner airlines. Select your departure region to determine the number of points required. As you can see from the chart below, flying Qatar Qsuites from the U.S. to the Middle East or the Maldives (defined as part of the “Indian Subcontinent”) would also cost just 70,000 AAdvantage miles.


american airlines award chart


Qatar Airways has a massive network so it’s easy to get just about anywhere in the world if you have American Airlines miles. But, as is often the case in the world of points and miles, just because it is possible, doesn't mean you'll be able to book it. There needs to be award availability to book, which often comes in waves.

We send award alerts for Qatar Airways Qsuites availability to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members!

American's website makes it fairly easy to zero in on award space. Just search a nonstop Qatar Airways route, like Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Doha (DOH), on and be sure to click “Redeem Miles.” From there, click the calendar view, and filter for only nonstop flights in business class. All the dates in green have availability to fly Qsuites to Doha.


best ways to book qsuites


Your best bet is to be flexible with your dates if you want to book Qatar Qsuites with American Airlines AAdvantage miles – or any points and miles, for that matter.

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


Book Japan Airlines Business or First Class

Or what about flying in style to Japan once it reopens? 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 seats 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 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. With 100,000 miles, you would have enough miles to book it round-trip.

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


Bottom Line

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, but with the ability to quickly earn 100,000 miles, right now is one of the most lucrative times we've ever seen. And 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 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.

17 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?


    • 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.

  • Hello, wondering how long it takes to get the 60,000 miles. Do you have to wait the full 90 day period or do you receive them soon after your first purchase. Thanks!

    • In our experience, the 60K miles post right after your statement closes after making a purchase – so within about 1 month of opening the account.

  • I travel for business and already have the AA Aviator with Barclays and got the 60k. How do I get 100k with another card? Thx

  • Nick.. does citi and Barclay’s give u the same info as Amex in terms if ull get bonus mileage or not before accepting the offer?

    • Not to my knowledge, but both banks are pretty leinent. As long as you get approved, you are eligible for the offer.

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