AAdvantage credit cards now earn miles towards Million Miler status

a seat in an airplane

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Up until 2011, all miles earned through credit card spending counted towards American Airlines Million Miler status while the miles earned from the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card counted through 2012. Since then, only miles earned by flying (better known as “butt-in-seat” miles) have qualified to move the needle in the Million Miler program…until now.

Back in the middle of April, American Airlines announced a range of measures to try to keep its flyers happy, and among those measures was one that only came into effect on Friday – miles earned through American’s co-branded credit cards now (once again) count towards Million Miler status for a limited time.

American Airlines Million Miler criteria

  • Lifetime Gold status (oneworld Ruby) – 1,000,000 miles
  • Lifetime Platinum status (oneworld Sapphire) – 2,000,000 miles

Flyers achieving Lifetime Gold status also get a gift of 35,000 miles upon reaching the 1,000,000 mile mark while flyers achieving Lifetime Platinum status get a gift of 4 Systemwide Upgrades.

Flyers reaching further million-mile milestones receive 4 Systemwide Upgrades.

Credit cards that contribute towards Million Miler status

Per American Airlines (link)

Every $1 spent on purchases that post to your AAdvantage account between May 1 – December 31, 2020, will count as 1 mile toward Million Miler status. Eligible AAdvantage credit cards include:

  • All Citi/AAdvantage cards
  • AAdvantage Aviator Silver
  • AAdvantage Aviator Red
  • AAdvantage Aviator Blue
  • AAdvantage Aviator Business
  • Select AAdvantage credit cards outside the U.S.

For AAdvantage Aviator White, every $2 spent on purchases that post to your AAdvantage account between May 1 – December 31, 2020, will count as 1 mile toward Million Miler status.

Note: The terms and conditions of this offer clearly state that 1 mile/dollar will count towards Million Miler status so the bonus miles earned by the various credit cards (e.g. bonus miles form American Airlines spending) or the miles from credit card welcome offers will not count.

Should you push for Million Miler status?

Probably not…but there will be some exceptions.

American Airlines Lifetime Gold status is a status whose primary benefits you can (mostly) get with a credit card that costs $95/year, so there is absolutely no point in putting spend on a credit card just to reach this status.

American Airlines Lifetime Platinum status is a status I hold and which has been devalued so significantly in recent years (especially with the introduction of Platinum Pro status) that it’s really not worth very much at all …especially if you’re based in the United States.

The fact is that AAdvantage credit cards generally offer poor earning levels in most spending categories so anyone moving their spending to an AAdvantage card just to earn miles towards Lifetime Status is almost certainly giving up better earnings from another card for a status level that isn’t really worth very much at all.

Having said that, I can think of two situations in which it may make sense for someone to accelerate their progress to Lifetime Platinum status:

1. You’re Based Outside The US

Platinum status matches oneworld Sapphire status and while Sapphire status achieved through the AAdvantage program has limited uses if you’re mainly traveling domestically (in the US), it offers access to oneworld Business Class lounges when the holder is traveling overseas.

Someone with Lifetime Platinum status who is based in the UK, for example, would be able to access any of the oneworld lounges at Heathrow (or anywhere else in the UK) regardless of the cabin they’re booked into or the route they’re flying as long as they’re traveling with a oneworld airline.

Being able to enjoy the comfort of Business Class lounge even when flying on short-haul Basic Economy fares can make traveling a lot more tolerable, so I can see why some may wish to lock-in this benefit as soon as they possibly can.

2. You Can Use The Systemwide Upgrades

If you’re very close to reaching the 2,000,000 mile mark, it may be worth accelerating your advance to Lifetime Platinum status if you can see a good (and immediate) use for the Systemwide upgrades that you’ll be given when you reach your target. The upgrades issued this year will be valid for travel through January 2022 so if you have a trip planned for 2021 and can see that upgrades are available, putting some spending on an AAdvantage co-branded card to earn those upgrades before they disappear may not be a bad idea.

Bottom line

Most American Airlines AAdvantage co-branded credit cards now earn miles which count towards the Million Miler targets, but most people should ignore this and carry on as before.


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