The American AAdvantage Partnership With Shell Gas Won’t Fuel Your Mileage Account

American AAdvantage is promoting their gas rewards partnership with Shell. As my late grandfather – prone to Yiddishisms – used to say, it’s better than a hole in the head.

  • 100 miles with your first fill-up after joining. You have to be new to Fuel Rewards and fill up with at least 5 gallons, because they’re worried about you gaming them for 100 miles.

  • Then earn 2 miles per gallon at participating Shell locations up to 20 gallons per fill up.

There’s a couple of reasons I’m not impressed.

  • Other airline gas partnerships have been more lucrative. For instance the old United-BP program let you earn 3 miles per gallon buying premium gas.

  • You give up too much by earning AAdvantage miles on Shell gas. You can join Shell’s program directly and receive 5 cents a gallon back on gas. (Even if you don’t fill up with Shell regularly worst case you’ll receive 3 cents back.)

    You get 5 cents a gallon back as a ‘Gold’ member for 6 months. Starting in your second three month period you’ll need to fill up 6 times in those three months to keep Gold or else you’ll drop to Silver and earn 3 cents back.

To earn 2 AAdvantage miles you’re effectively paying 5 cents. AAdvantage miles aren’t worth 2.5 cents apiece. If you don’t fill up with Shell regularly and later qualify for just 3 cents back that’s closer to a wash, though I don’t value AAdvantage miles at 1.5 cents either.

If Shell’s Fuel Rewards became a Loyalty Points-earning partner that might shift the use case somewhat, though it would sure be a minor way to earn status.

  • Say you fill up 15 gallons of gas a week. That’s more than I’d ever use, but go with it.
  • That’s 30 miles a week
  • And 1560 total miles per year
  • Which I’d value at $20.28


If You Drive One Of These You Can Safely Ignore This

Shell is willing to pay American Airlines for access to customers, and you get something out of the deal – but less than you’d get going to Shell for their program directly. It’s worth doing this if you get nothing for your gas purchases otherwise but unlikely to make a difference fueling your mileage account. It is one way, if you’re 21 years of age or older, to keep your miles from expiring. So there’s that.

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 »

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Comments

  1. Your analysis is true however if you also use a card like the Citi Platinum Select you’ll also earn 2x so that drops the cost per mile down and these should feed your miles toward status in 2022.

  2. This promotion would be better when the management at American Airlines or Shell Oil Company fart petrol into our vehicle gas tanks.

  3. Yet another un-rewarding con where you’re giving away your personal data for someone else’s data base which may end up being sold or leased by Shell, or worse!
    Stay a million miles away!

  4. Another problem is that the program that does the tracking of fuel purchases is beyond terrible! I’ve gone out of my way to dine at supposedly Fuel Rewards-earning restaurants only to have to spend hours and weeks providing documentation of what is supposed to be tracked automatically. So much of a headache that I’ve given up…and I’m pretty tenacious.

  5. I take back my earlier comment. If I remember correctly and I could be wrong but if you put a credit card on the Fuel Rewards program you can’t also have it on the I-dine platforms for some reason.

  6. Add to that negative vibe the fact that Shell stations are almost the highest priced per gallon than any other station. Thanks, but no thanks !

  7. Yup. Better than a hole in the head. Since I have some miles but don’t fly with AA much, I might use this to keep the miles from expiring.

  8. If you are a T-Mobile or Sprint customer and really want to sink some time into saving on gas, there is a 10 cents off code available weekly on Tuesdays in T-Mobile Tuesdays. You could get 10 cents off plus the miles, or 13/15 cents off depending on whether you are a Shell Medallion Elite Travel Warrior.

    I hate that I know this.

  9. I joined it, listed my debit card, and then got an email from AAdvantage Dining saying that my card had been unenrolled from their program. So beware of that as well.

  10. To piggyback on tomri, Shell tends to be the highest priced of the “big name” brands. Where I live, Shell is consistently 35 to 50 cents per gallon more than Sam’s Club. And, unlike Amex, Chase and Citi count Sam’s Club gas stations as gas station category purchases.

    But, also note that the average household spends about $4000 per year on gas — say, $330 per month. As a practical matter, limited time offers will only move the needle so much. Stick with your consistent value provider for ongoing spend.

  11. @Gary, sorry mate, this is as close to clickbait as I have seen you write for a looooong time, and not a cr. card offer in sight.
    In my area there is at least an $0.80 cent per gallon difference between Shell and WalMart/COSTCO gas, in fact this weekend it’s $0.90. If folks are dumb enough to seek a few miles or points — no doubt with someone else’s money, God bless them.

  12. I have Gold at FuelRewards. You’re saying that if I link my AA account, which is an option on the FuelRewards site, I lose the 5c gold discount. Is that correct? I can’t find where they state this.
    I thought this was all one program.

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