American Airlines Shares All The Ways You Can Earn Elite Status In 2022

With the new American Airlines elite status-earning system going into effect for 2022 it’s super easy to keep elite status if you engage with the program across a variety of earning streams, rather than just by flying.

American has now shared the full list of activities and partners that will count towards elite status under the new program.

When “Loyalty Points” were first introduced, American Airlines explained that it would take,

  • Gold: 30,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum: 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • Platinum Pro: 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • Executive Platinum: 200,000 Loyalty Points

Normally the earning period will be March through February. But you’re going to have an extra two months to earn status this coming year (January 2022 – February 2023).

American had announced that you’d be able to earn Loyalty Points for flying, for spend on their co-brand credit cards, online shopping through their portal, transactions with SimplyMiles and Rewards Network dining. And they shared that additional partners would count, too.

You don’t need to fly at all to earn elite status – even Executive Platinum – though earning ‘choice benefits’ that accrue starting at the Platinum Pro level requires at least 30 flight segments, and award travel issued by and flown on American count.

All The Ways To Earn Elite Qualifying Points In 2022

American Airlines has now shared all of the partners that will begin accruing Loyalty Points beginning January 1, 2022.

  • Flying American. This generally earns 5 points per dollar plus elite bonuses (so up to 11 loyalty points per dollar spent on tickets for Executive Platinum members).

  • Flying most partner airlines. You can earn loyalty points flying all oneworld airlines plus JetBlue and Gol. (The Points Guy had erroneously reported that Etihad and Hawaiian flights would earn loyalty points, but that’s not correct – you can only earn loyalty points on other carriers if booking an American Airlines codeshare where that option exists.)

    Generally mileage-earning on joint venture partner airlines has increased (like British Airways) in premium cabins, and you earn elite points equal to the redeemable mileage you earn for flying on airlines that count towards loyalty points.

  • Cobrand credit card spending. This means 1 point per dollar spent on U.S. credit cards plus threshold bonuses in 2022 for the Citi and Barclays premium cards.

    Initial card bonuses and bonus earning in accelerator categories are excluded. Some cards issued outside the 50 U.S. states earn at 1.5 or 2 loyalty points per dollar

  • AAdvantage shopping portal. Online purchases made through the American AAdvantage portal earn loyalty points at the same rate as redeemable miles (but shopping portal bonuses, such as spend $x earn Y additional miles do not count).

  • AAdvantage dining Miles earned dining at participating restaurants through American’s branded Rewards Network program, though bonuses such as new member bonuses do not count.

  • SimplyMiles miles earned using this card-linked offer site paying with an eligible Mastercard.

  • Other retail Shell gas (when linking through the AAdvantage partnership, WeWork, Vinesse, FTD, Vivid Seats, NRG Energy, Reliant Energy, Xoom, Miles for Opinion

  • Hotel stays that are booked through American’s portal or Hyatt, IHG, Marriott (as well as Marriott Vacations) and Wyndham stays credited to American. Rocketmiles bookings count as well and while those don’t earn hotel points or elite status credit, they can earn substantial miles – all of a sudden Rocketmiles becomes a very interesting site for booking hotels especially those not part of a major chain program.

    Maybe the best thing here though is that you can credit Hyatt stays to a World of Hyatt account but still take advantage of the American-Hyatt earning partnership where elites who link their accounts earn 1 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent at Hyatt up to 10,000 miles per year as a double dip and these miles count as loyalty points.

  • Rental cars. Cars booked through American’s portal as well as rentals with Avis, Budget, Payless, Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, Alamo, National, and Sixt credited to AAdvantage.

  • Cruises and vacation packages. booked through American’s cruise booking site and bookings made with AA Vacations

Non-oneworld Airlines Earning Miles

This is interesting. It was obvious that JetBlue would earn status credit, it already does, and the two carriers have a joint venture out of New York and Boston.

American has taken a stake in Gol and the partnership is even intended to offer elite benefits, so elite qualifying makes sense here. They’re even working on a single co-brand credit card with Gol.

I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see Jetsmart added to this list, since Vasu Raja has talked about AAdvantage becoming their frequent flyer program. However an ownership stake doesn’t imply elite earning – you don’t hear much about the stake American took in China Southern for instance.

Not Counting Bask Bank Is Disappointing

A lot of people (including me) were hoping that Bask Bank earning would count as Loyalty Points. At some level that would make status-earning too easy, but that isn’t likely the main issue. Instead, Loyalty Points are something American sells to partners and with very low interest rates there can’t be much of a margin for Bask Bank awarding miles for savings balances as it is. They probably just couldn’t make the economics work.

And while we’re on the topic of earning options left out, I was disappointed not to have Stand Up To Cancer included. American awards 10 AAdvantage miles per dollar donated (for donations $25+). The charity isn’t funding this, so there’s no revenue to pay for Loyalty Points, and your donation won’t earn elite credit.

Easier Than Ever To Earn Status

Under the new program it’s harder to earn status from flying alone and that’s especially true earning status the first time. But status is much easier to earn overall. And this is finally a reason to spend on American Airlines co-brand credit cards, something I wouldn’t have advised previously. Not only do you earn status with Loyalty Points, but they’re the tie-breaker for upgrades after elite status level too. So you want as many as possible.

Indeed, starting at 125,000 points and then at 200,000; 350,000; 550,000; and 750,000 you’ll earn choice benefits like systemwide upgrades and bonus miles. The list of choice awards isn’t expected to be published until mid-January.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. @ Gary — We now plan to credit zero LP to our AA accounts. I guess we will regain our EXP status when/if they acquire AS. In the meantime, all of our flight crediting will be going to Alaska, and I guess we will be finding a new home for most of our Bask savings. It is difficult to justify parking significant cash at Bask after the Simply Miles windfall last month. AA LT Plat will serve our needs just fine…

  2. @Gene, Series I savings bonds rate is 7.12 percent. Crazy to use Basks savings at the current Inflation rate.

  3. @Gary: I am concerned about what RocketMiles earnings will count as loyalty points.

    The Terms and Conditions at RocketMiles currently read: “Unless specified, AAdvantage miles earned through this promotion/offer do not count toward elite-status qualification.”

    Is there to be a clarification, or update of the RocketMiles T&C?

  4. William, the premium cabin bonus applied to EQMs. There are no more EQMs. There’s Loyalty Points. For actual travel, it is all revenue multiplied by your elite status multiplier — just like award miles. In a sense, there is a premium cabin bonus in the fact that you are paying more dollars.

    Main cabin: $300 x 11 EP = 3300 award points, which equals 3300 Loyalty Points.

    First class: $600 x 11 EP = 6600 award points, which equals 6600 Loyalty Points

  5. I made a lot of AA eshopping purchases on January 1 and I’m waiting to see how they’re reflected in my account. I made 2,300 on about $400 worth of purchases. I’m confused about whether that will be 400 or 2,300 loyalty points

  6. @Nate ‘regular earn’ of 2300 points should yield 2300 loyalty points. when you earn shopping portal bonuses on top of regular earn of x points per dollar spent, e.g. ‘spend $250 and earn 500 bonus points’ then those bonuses do not count

  7. @Bill Cummings – that was true…. up until January 1, 2022. Those t&c need to be updated, though ‘unless specified’ sort of covers this since American has now specified.

  8. Gary, you made an important distinction regarding the shopping portals. Please correct me if I’m wrong. With an offer at (say) Best Buy that is 3 points per dollar, those 3 points will count as Base Award Miles (“eligible” miles) and thus will count as Loyalty Points.

    But, with a different offer at Best Buy that is “spend $300 and get 1500 points” — essentially a fixed point amount — those 1500 points will count as Bonus Award Miles (which are not “eligible” miles) and thus will not count as Loyalty Points.

    Whatever is the correct categorization, it’s probably worth a stand-alone post to clarify. I have seen comments on various blogs suggesting a misunderstanding of Base Award Miles, Bonus Award Miles, and “eligible” miles. Some individuals have suggested that all points above 1 point per dollar are not “eligible” miles. In the example above, only 1x out of the 3x would be eligible as Loyalty Points. Just trying to help people set expectations. Thanks.

  9. William, you asked about AA flights and my prior comment is correct. But, it is worth noting that flights on partner airlines follow the “old rule.” That is, physical miles multiplied by a cabin multiplier. So, in the case of flights on partner airlines, Loyalty Points would be earned at a rate similar to EQMs. This is the one oddball feature about the new system.

  10. RocketMiles has intrigued me for years BUT I have found that the rates they quote are higher than on the hotel websites for those properties without points programs, i.e. Mandarin, FS etc. And with Mandarin and FS now having elite programs you also miss out on the perks. Yes, you get a LOT of points with Rocket, but it comes at a pretty significant cost. I only see it useful should you need to mileage run at the end of the year and can find a few generous offers with bookings.

  11. I do not share your rosy view that earning/keeping status will be so much easier. Not everybody puts a gazillion dollars on credit cards or lives in an environment where AAdvantage Dining has restaurants (or simply doesn’t go to restaurants and prefers to cook!). From everything that I have seen (and I am still trying to understand the nuances of this Loyalty Point crap) I have been kicked my AA once again, as somebody who as mostly a privateer has been able to stay ExPlt for more than a decade. I may be able to squeak by one more time because of the extra 2 months, but I see the writing on the wall.

  12. @Gary I have been trying to find a link to the AA announcement that your article refers to. Although it’s probably my fault that I am missing it, could you post a link or a copy of the document that you are working off of?

    Thanks

  13. Super easy?
    If you want to play a lottery to seat upfront and drink $5/bottle wine to complement your cold sandwich, just jump through the hoops of dining in sub-par restaurants and put everything on a mastercard to get the miles you redeem at (mostly) ridiculous rate. Right now AA LP is the stupidest program around.
    I am sure travel bloggers like the change because it makes an opportunity to pitch the credit cards.
    For the rest of us, this is an excellent opportunity to look around for switching your loyalty.

  14. @Bill Cummings – I don’t have a link, AA sent me the details and then I asked questions when the list looked incomplete (e.g. some other sites provided the list without AA Vacations and without noting that their Hyatt partnership earns Loyalty Points for elites without having to credit a Hyatt stay to AA)

  15. @ ABC — That is great if you hold them to maturity. Bonds lose value as interest rates rise, and I’d say there is about a 100% chance of that happening. Show me a true guaranteed return of 7% and I’ll invest all of my money today.

  16. @ABC – You can only get the 7% interest rate up to $10k (and possibly another $5k if you have a refund). Even at $15k, that’s $1,000 you’ve earned. That’s it. There are credit card offers with $1k sign-up bonuses.

  17. Gary, my BIG problem (besides being an educator with a salary to match) with this ludicrous we-don’t-care-how-much-you-fly “loyalty” program is that the credit cards basically tossed the real benefits a while back. I have them, but I recently flew back from ORD (fortunately, my flight DID go, despite the storm, and COVID, too), and I used my Barclay card because I flew in January. But it did not escape me that if I had been stuck at ORD overnight, that dumb card, unlike a multitude of my other cards, had NO protections for delays. It would be my dime–but heck, I would get some LPs. It was about that time I decided it’s not really worth it to be loyal–I finally earned my way to PP last year. But I live close to OKC–and still decent driving distance to DFW, leaving my airline choice to virtually any of the big three, or to Alaska, which has a presence at OKC. I am beyond frustrated. For you who earn good money, it’s easy, sure, but I earn status by flying a lot of miles, and then barely making minimum spend. I know, it’s elite for a reason, but my big international trips each year, plus my monthly tips domestically were enough. I get nothing from AA cards, but Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, even IHG, for Pete’s sake, those actually give me something each year–at least a free hotel room. And the United card gives me primary car insurance and travel insurance. AA cards need to do way better to compete for us “average consumers” because my guess is the big spenders already use their cards more. This is the first time since joining AA in 1999 as a first year middle school teacher that I have really considered bailing. They don’t care at all, of course, but there are a lot of us out there–more status and upgrades for you all after Feb. 2023. We will see what this year brings. It just seems tone deaf when flying is so miserable to make it all worse.

  18. So… as someone who won’t have/use an AA credit card and will basically depend on flying with AA and friends for points, are these changes negative or positive overall? I suspect the former. I have no status and have been trying for gold for years.

  19. @No card – you don’t have to depend on a card for status under this new program, there are amazing ways to earn status with other partners e.g. online shopping portal. If you fly ONLY for status this is negative. Flying earns 5-11 miles per dollar spent depending on status, whereas there are numerous partners that’ll earn more than that (think flowers when ftd is @ 40 miles per dollar)

  20. I understand linking credit card spending to status, but a few things seem gimmicky

    1) The elevation of “partner” activity over regular flying – it seems like booking hotels via bookaahotels or Rocketmiles can earn 10-15x per dollar. Why such the premium over actual flying, especially for a general member?

    2) It seems like earning by flying is too punitive for new members trying to earn status for the first time – in other systems, you get an redeemable mile bonus for being an existing elite, not a qualifying bonus

    3) The thresholds for Platinum Pro and EXP seems too high for those that just fly and spend on cards as opposed to use partners

    I think I will build up status on AA this year – oddly the program disincentives me from flying on AA (I would rather fly Delta and use my elite status there) while I build up status via card spending, a few hotel bookings, etc. I guess flying is low margin, but still

  21. Any idea whether the 75,000 cap on earned miles per ticket applies to LPs? I would assume not, but the general rule seems to be if you don’t earn miles, you don’t earn LPs. As a mostly J TATL traveler, I typically hit the cap. Mind you, the 30 segments is horrible and non-sensical for us 20 segment / $100k / CK fliers…

  22. Trying to figure out best way to book tickets for MAXing loyalty points while doing at least fare. I am a AA Platinum Pro=OW Emerald . Looking at a flight to UK in May. I can book via AA or via BA. I am looking to go business class. American offers BA Cabin Bonus at 50% for codes I,R and 150% for codes J,C,D. I have found a business ticket RT for $4,636 on BA that has International segments from USA with code I (50% cabin bonus) and in UK segments with code J (150% Cabin Bonus). What would I earn booking BA as opposed to AA? AA is below and straightforward. I could buy the same ticket on AA for $4,608 but I believe I do not get the Cabin Bonus. Is this accurate? With 9X per dollar, would earn 41,472 loyaltiy points and miles booking via AA. I still haven’t gotten my secret decoder ring in the mail to make sense of all of this.. THANKS!

  23. @Gary – You mentioned that shopping portal bonuses don’t count as loyalty points in the context of the AAdvantage eShopping Portal.
    However, SimplyMiles also has several offers that are structured as “Earn 500 miles on a purchase of $40 or more.” Are these miles similarly excluded, or would they count as loyalty points because they come from SimplyMiles rather than a shopping portal?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.