How to Earn & Burn American Airlines Miles Fast

3
1956

It’s really easy right now to earn a lot of American Airlines miles fast. It’s totally realistic that you could have 0 miles today and 166,000 miles three months or less from now.

How to Earn 166,000 American Airlines Miles

CITI CARDS

  • The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is now offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
  • The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard is also offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months.

The normal offer is 30,000 AAdvantage miles for spending $1,000 on each and the standard “elevated offer” we see on each is 50k for $3k spend. So 60k for $3k spend is great–if you’ve been waiting on this card, now’s the time, especially because both are limited time offers.

Each card will garner at least 63,000 miles for meeting the minimum spending requirement (60k + 3k for non-bonused spend).

63,000 x 2 = 126,000

Eligibility

As long as you haven’t opened or closed a Citi / AAdvantage Platinum card or a Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard in the last 24 months, you are eligible for one and its bonus. As long as you haven’t opened or closed a CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum card in the last 24 months, you are also eligible for it and its bonus. Having a personal card doesn’t affect your ability to get the business card, nor vice versa.

BARCLAYCARD AVIATOR RED CARD

  • The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard is now offering 40,000 American Airlines miles after just one purchase (and paying a $95 annual fee).

Even if you had/have the Barlcaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World MasterCard that was product changed from the old US Airways card, you’re still eligible for this new Aviator card because it is considered a different product.

126,000 miles from the two Citi cards + 40,000 = 166,000 miles

And there we have our 166,000 American Airlines miles

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How to Burn 166,000 American Airlines Miles

Not everyone will be able (or want) to earn and burn these 166,000 miles in the next three months, so I’m going to go through a few different scenarios and give ideas about how to redeem the miles you’re earning. All prices are for one traveler (unless otherwise noted), and no redemption ideas require you to have any more miles than what you would earn from the card or cards you’re opening.

If you’re opening a Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator card (40,000 miles)
  • Mainland United States to Hawaii roundtrip in American Airlines economy during Off-Peak travel times (To Hawaii: December 29 – March 12, August 11 – November 18, November 24 – December 10 // From Hawaii: January 7 – March 19, August 18 – November 27, December 3 – December 25) = 40,000 American Airlines miles
  • United States to Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean roundtrip in American Airlines economy during Off-Peak travel times (September 7 – November 14, April 27 – May 20)  = 25,000 American Airlines miles 
  • United States to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Manaus in Brazil (jumping off point for Amazon), Peru roundtrip in American Airlines economy during Off-Peak travel times (January 16 – June 14, September 7 – November 14) = 35,000 American Airlines miles
Photo cred Sarah Page Maxwell
Machu Picchu (American flies to Lima from Miami and Dallas)
If you’re opening one Citi AAdvantage card (63,000 miles)
  • Reduced Mileage Awards (all cardholders of either Citi AAdvantage card get access to these discounted domestic awards)
  • United States to Northern South America in LATAM or American Airlines Business Class roundtrip= 60,000 American Airlines miles
If you’re opening one Barclaycard + 1 Citi card (103,000 miles)
  • Two travelers between the United States and Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America in American Airlines Business Class = 100,000 American Airlines miles
  • Two travelers between the United States and Europe roundtrip in American Airlines economy during Off-Peak travel times  (January 10 – March 14, November 1 – December 14)= 90,000 American Airlines miles
If you’re opening both the personal and business Citi AAdvantage cards (126,000 miles)
  • United States to Japan or Korea roundtrip in Japan Airlines Business Class = 120,000 American Airlines miles
  • United States to Southern South America (i.e. Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay…) roundtrip in LATAM or American Airlines Business Class = 115,000 American Airlines miles
If you’re opening all three cards (166,000 miles)
  • United States to Southeast Asia roundtrip in Cathay Pacific Business Class = 140,000 American Airlines miles. Yes, it’s much cheaper to redeem Alaska miles on this same award (100,000 Alaska miles, but if you can open all three of these cards at once, you’ll earn the necessary miles in three months versus the six you’d need to earn 100,000 Alaska miles)

    Scott flying Cathay Pacific Business Class. I have also flown this cabin... it was my first premium cabin experience and it was awesome!
    Scott flying Cathay Pacific Business Class. I have also flown this cabin… it was my first premium cabin experience that got me hooked.
  • United States to the Middle East or Indian Sub-Continent (like the Maldives) roundtrip in Etihad Business Class = 140,000 American Airlines miles
  • United States to Africa roundtrip in Qatar Business Class (via Doha) = 150,000 American Airlines miles
  • United States to Japan or Korea roundtrip in Japan Airlines First Class = 160,000 American Airlines miles

**Note that if you plan on applying for all three cards, it’s advisable to apply for the Barclaycard first, as Barclays is known for being the most inquiry sensitive.

Bonus

You won’t have enough miles to book this roundtrip, even if you open all three cards, but I can’t help myself from mentioning it as award space is very good at the moment

  • Abu Dhubi to New York City (JFK) in the Etihad First Class Apartment on an A380 – 115,000 American Airlines miles
  • There is also apparently Etihad First Class Apartment award space in the other direction as well, you just need to follow the steps outlined in this View from the Wing post to find it and book it (more to come on this shortly…)

Getting Matched

If you signed up for a lower sign up offer for one of the Citi AAdvantage cards within the last 90 days, Citi has a pretty good track record of matching sign up bonuses to what’s currently available. Call the number on the back of your card or send a secure message through your online account–the sooner the better.

Bottom Line

There are multiple ways to earn heaps of American Airlines miles right now, depending on what cards you’ve opened/closed in the last 24 months.

These three cards are the key right now:

  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard
  • CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard
  • Barlcaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard

Whether you just want to take a quick jaunt to Mexico or an epic trip across Southeast Asia, American Airlines miles can get you there. American Airlines miles have a bad rap these days for lack of SAAVer Level award space–understandably so. But the majority of these redemption suggestions have at least a decent amount of award space if not more.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. AA my new it Airline EU , Grand Cayman , Hawaii and I have 30K points Hawaii airlines for inter island flts..

    Paris is warm right now and so is the wine. ” Oh how I Hate the Rich ” But Card Flippers are OK ..

    THANKs

    CHEERs

  2. Do any of the above mentioned 3 offers have a specific time limit when it will be pulled out?
    Or it can just be pulled out any day?

    • No specific days mentioned for any of the three offers. The Citi cards 60k bonuses are marketed as limited time offers however, while the Barclaycard’s offer is not.

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