Why I’m Racking Up American AAdvantage Miles Again

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Last year and for the bulk of this year, I’ve been focusing most of my regular spending on Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. On top of that, I’ve been slowly paying off the mortgage on my primary residence with Plastiq.com using my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and a bunch of fee-free dollars I’ve earned through referrals.

With all those rewards earned, I was able to book a bunch of travel, including:

  • 200,000 MR transferred to Air France/Flying Blue for round-trip flights to Europe next summer
  • all of our day trips in excursions for our fall trip to France and Spain
  • Several Airbnb rentals for various trips
  • Spring break flights to Jamaica by transferring Ultimate Rewards to Southwest

Now that I have all our travel booked through next summer, I have some other trip ideas in mind. For example:

  • I want to go to Aruba again next July!
  • I want to go on another Europe trip with my kids next year, after our summer 2018 trip to Italy, Croatia, and Greece.
  • I have 250,000 Hilton Honors points and may fly somewhere in the Caribbean to use them.

How I’m Racking Up American AAdvantage Miles Again

To feed my ever-growing need for points and miles, I’ve started racking up American AAdvantage miles again after a long hiatus. At the moment, my husband has around 78,000 AA miles and I have 28,000 AA miles – mostly earned through actual travel.

But we also just signed up for a few cards that will help us rack up more miles. For example:

  • We both got in on the Barclaycard Aviator 60K offer and we already made the purchase required to earn those miles. Now the only thing we have to do is pay the $95 annual fee on our cards (along with our small balances) and wait for the miles to deposit.
  • My husband got a targeted 50K mile offer for the Citi AAdvantage Gold card. This card didn’t come with the 24-month language that would otherwise prevent him from getting a Citi AAdvantage credit card, so we’re good. Since it’s a MasterCard, I used it to pay $5,000 in mortgage payments through Plastiq.com the other day (with fee-free dollars earned via referrals). Now I just have to wait for the 50,000 miles to post.

Beyond the signup bonuses, I doubt I’ll use these cards for any regular spending. I might be inclined to do so if I buy flights with American, but that’s unlikely since I’ll have so many miles.

Once these bonuses are earned, we should have a grand total of at least 90,000 AA miles for me and 190K miles for my hubby. And I can’t wait!

Why We’re Racking Up more American AAdvantage Miles

While everyone has their own reasons to rack up American AAdvantage miles, I have reasons of my own. Here are a few of my favorite redemptions I could potentially use these miles for:

  • Off-peak to Europe for 45,000 miles each – Off-peak travel dates to Europe fall between October 15th and May 15th on American (with exceptions for holidays), and SAAver awards cost only 45,000 AA miles plus taxes during those dates. I could fly all four of us to Europe and back with these miles – and still have 100,000 American AAdvantage miles to spare. I could also fly us at least one-way in business class, but my husband didn’t like that idea! He doesn’t want our kids to get spoiled, and he would rather save our excess miles for another trip. I guess I can’t really blame him.
  • Off-peak flights to the Caribbean – In my alternate life as an actual travel writer, I focus on the Caribbean and Europe. So that’s where we like to go. Fortunately, you can fork over just 15,000 AA miles per leg to the Caribbean outside of peak season.

The Bottom Line

While I’ll still use our Chase and American Express cards for regular spending, I’m also on a little bit of an American AAdvantage earning spree. If you’re big into earning American miles for yourself, consider doing what I did and signing up for the Aviator AAdvantage World Red MasterCard like I did – or maybe even the Citi AAdvatage Platinum Select MasterCard the next time a 50K offer rolls around.

Are you earning American AAdvantage miles right now? Why or why not?

Holly Johnson is a financial expert and award-winning writer whose obsession with frugality, budgeting, and travel plays a central role in her work. In addition to serving as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for inspiring…
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  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: No
  • Card Type: Bank
FTG Review Reward Breakdown Points Breakdown
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


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