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Long gone are the days of "a mile flown is a mile earned" when you fly a U.S. airline. For the past several years, elite status has been earned mostly based on the amount you pay for your ticket (thus earning you more elite points) rather than the miles you fly. But now, American Airlines is taking its elite status in an entirely different direction that boils down to: "A mile earned is a Loyalty Point earned." Let us explain.
In 2022, American abandoned its multifaceted elite status requirements for a somewhat simple — but revolutionary — way of earning elite status: Loyalty Points.
On March 1, 2023, American Airlines renamed their Loyalty Choice Rewards to Loyalty Point Rewards and added milestone rewards for flyers who haven't earned elite status yet, or are between tiers.
Here are all of the details about how to earn AAdvantage elite status.
What are American Airlines Loyalty Points?
In 2022, American Airlines eliminated elite qualifying miles, elite qualifying dollars and elite qualifying segments. Instead, earning elite status now comes down to just one aspect: Loyalty Points.
Unlike EQMs, EQDs and EQSs, you won't need to reference earning charts and a map to calculate Loyalty Points. Instead, you simply earn 1 Loyalty Point for almost any AAdvantage mile you earn. Note there are some key exceptions to that general rule that we cover below.
New AAdvantage elite status requirements and timing
It's become tougher to earn American Airlines Gold elite status as the airline increased the number of loyalty points needed to earn its Gold tier of elite status by 33%, compared to 2022.
To earn AAdvantage elite status in 2023, you'll need to earn:
40,000 Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Gold.
75,000 Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Platinum.
125,000 Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Platinum Pro.
200,000 Loyalty Points for AAdvantage Executive Platinum.
On March 1, American also introduced new rewards tiers starting at 15,000 Loyalty Points as part of its revamped Loyalty Point Rewards.
Changes to AAdvantage elite qualification period and membership year
Rather than being based on a calendar year, your AAdvantage elite status will be based on your elite earnings from March 1 to Feb. 28 of the following year.
AAdvantage elite status is valid through March 31 of the following year.
Earning Loyalty Points Rewards
On March 1, 2023, American renamed Loyalty Choice Rewards to Loyalty Point Rewards and eliminated the flight segment minimum required in order to unlock rewards.
Now, based on the number of Loyalty Points you earn, you'll unlock benefits after reaching several levels, from 15,000 up to 5,000,000.
Perks include priority privileges, bonus AAdvantage miles, systemwide upgrades, Admirals Club memberships, and options to gift status to another flyer.
Earning AAdvantage Loyalty Points through flying
As with any good frequent flyer program, you'll earn elite status credits when flying. However, how you earn Loyalty Points depends on whether you book your flights through American Airlines or one of its partners.
Loyalty Points when booking through American Airlines
AAdvantage members will earn 5 Loyalty Points for every dollar spent on American Airlines airfare (excluding taxes and government fees), except when booking a basic economy ticket. AAdvantage members will now earn just 2 miles per dollar spent on basic economy fares for all tickets issued on or after Jan. 1, 2023, for travel starting March 1, 2023.
Elite members will earn Loyalty Points even faster. That's because the bonus miles that AAdvantage elites earn count as Loyalty Points. After factoring in this elite bonus, you'll effectively earn the following rates when booking American Airlines airfare:
General member: 5 Loyalty Points per dollar spent.
Gold elite: 7 Loyalty Points per dollar spent.
Platinum elite: 8 Loyalty Points per dollar spent.
Platinum Pro elite: 9 Loyalty Points per dollar spent.
Executive Platinum elite: 11 Loyalty Points per dollar spent.
Elite members will still receive a bonus when booking basic economy fares, but the bonus percentages will apply to the base mileage rate of 2 miles per dollar. This means instead of earning 7 Loyalty Points per dollar spent as a Gold elite member, you'll earn 3 Loyalty Points.
» Learn more: Your guide to earning American Airlines Loyalty Points
Flying on partner airlines
AAdvantage members will also earn Loyalty Points when flying on partner airlines. As with flying on American Airlines, your Loyalty Point earnings are based on your AAdvantage earnings.
For flights on Oneworld partners, you'll earn Loyalty Points based on your AAdvantage mileage earnings. These earnings typically depend on the fare class you book and the distance of the flight. As with flights on American, elite status bonus miles also count toward Loyalty Points.
Note that American Airlines specifically references that Loyalty Point-qualifying airlines include "flights marketed by American Airlines and Oneworld airlines." So it seems that AAdvantage mileage earnings on American's other non-alliance partners (e.g., Hawaiian or Etihad) won't qualify as Loyalty Points.
» Learn more: The complete guide to American Airlines partners
Other ways to earn AAdvantage Loyalty Points
With a few exceptions, you previously couldn't earn AAdvantage elite status through anything other than flying. Now, you'll also earn Loyalty Points when you earn AAdvantage miles through credit cards and through AAdvantage partners.
Earning Loyalty Points through American Airlines credit cards
You'll generally earn 1 Loyalty Point for every dollar spent on an American Airlines co-branded credit card. This includes spending on all Citi/AAdvantage cards, all Barclays Aviator cards and all AAdvantage credit cards.
Note that some AAdvantage co-branded credit cards offer bonus miles in certain categories. For example, the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® earns 2 miles per dollar spent at grocery stores. However, Loyalty Point earnings are based on the base mileage earning rate, so you won't get Loyalty Points for that extra grocery bonus dollar. Likewise, credit card sign-up bonuses or spending bonuses also don't qualify as Loyalty Points.
However, certain cardholders will be eligible to earn a Loyalty Point bonus starting in 2022:
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after reaching 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. Earn another 10,000 Loyalty Points after reaching 90,000 Loyalty Points in the same status qualification year.
AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®: Earn up to 15,000 additional Loyalty Points by spending a total of $50,000 in eligible purchases.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Earning Loyalty Points through other partners
You will also earn Loyalty Points through other types of AAdvantage-earning partners. This includes shopping through the eShopping portal or SimplyMiles, or dining through AAdvantage Dining.
However, American Airlines is "still working through the details" with some of its partners. So it's currently unclear if AAdvantage mileage earning opportunities like Bask Bank, AA Vacations, rental car partners, AA's Hyatt partnership or charitable donations will qualify as Loyalty Points.
What activity doesn't earn Loyalty Points?
Generally, you earn a Loyalty Point for every AAdvantage mile earned. However, there are some key exceptions. Here are the types of activities that do not earn Loyalty Points:
Bonus miles earned from special promotions.
Buying, gifting or transferring miles.
Government taxes, fees and other charges associated with buying a ticket that don't count toward earning AAdvantage miles.
Transferring points from another loyalty program (e.g., Marriott or Citi).
Bonus miles on purchases made on AAdvantage credit cards.
New account bonuses, welcome bonuses or spending bonuses on AAdvantage credit cards.
Final thoughts on American Airlines Loyalty Points
In 2022, earning AAdvantage elite status changed from what frequent flyers were used to. Rather than worrying about flying enough miles and spending enough dollars, the focus shifted to how many qualifying AAdvantage miles you can earn through flying, credit card spending and American's other partners.
The shift to from Loyalty Choice Rewards to Loyalty Point Rewards now offers new opportunities to unlock benefits between tiers, but most of the 2023 changes are better for people who already spend a lot with the airline and earn Platinum status or above.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card