Another Way to Earn American Miles by Shopping: SimplyMiles

SimplyMiles offers American loyalists a quicker way to rack up miles through personalized earning offers.
Sally French
June Casagrande
By June Casagrande and  Sally French 
Edited by Kevin Berry

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Earning enough points and miles to use for a free American Airlines flight or hotel stay can be slow going, and it might seem like you’re never going to have enough.

If your only strategy for earning American Airlines miles is by flying, accumulating enough for an award redemption can take a while but there are dozens of ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles that don’t involve flying.

One of the most efficient ways is by holding (and using) an American Airlines-branded credit card. Those cards offer opportunities to net a massive pile of points at one time through their welcome bonuses, while also allowing for ongoing earning through spending.

They also allow you to earn even higher bonus points at certain, popular retailers through a service called SimplyMiles. SimplyMiles displays offers at a range of retailers, from hotel brands like Kimpton to gas stations like BP.

You don’t necessarily need an American Airlines credit card to participate in SimplyMiles, but you will need to hold a Mastercard credit card. Alas, SimplyMiles is not compatible with other payment networks, like Visa, American Express or Discover.

Here’s what you need to know about American’s SimplyMiles program, and how you can earn extra American Airlines AAdvantage miles with a little added effort.

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How it works

SimplyMiles is like a cross between travel rewards dining programs, which pay you miles for eating at participating restaurants, and the “bonus offers” programs offered by big banks like American Express and Chase that let you add offers (like discounts at select retailers credits) to your credit card.

Here’s how SimplyMiles works:

  • Sign up (it’s free). You must have an AAdvantage number to sign up.

  • Then register a Mastercard credit card. You can register any valid Mastercard, though you can earn even more miles by registering an American Airlines-branded card like the AAdvantage® Aviator® Blue Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® or AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®. You can register up to three cards at a time, and you can remove cards and add new ones at any time.

  • Once you’ve registered a card, you’ll be able to browse personalized offers to earn extra miles. Offers vary, but expect to see deals like “earn one bonus mile per dollar when you spend at least $20 at an Exxon gas station.” That’s on top of the miles you normally earn with your credit card. You must activate the offers you see on your SimplyMiles account for them to kick in.

  • When making the purchase, there’s nothing extra you need to do except pay with a registered card (as long as you’ve activated the offer). No coupons needed.

Miles can add up fast

Big purchases can be especially lucrative in this program, especially because there’s no limit to the number of miles you can earn. And even smaller purchases — if from retailers you’re shopping from anyway — can make a difference.

Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily see your miles in your account right away, so don’t count on making a purchase via a SimplyMiles offer tonight with the intent to book a flight tomorrow. In most cases, miles will be awarded within 3-5 business days, but in some cases can take up to 15 business days.

Additionally, if you see an offer, you might need to act ASAP. All the offers have expiration dates.

Another downfall of the SimplyMiles program: This isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it program like airline dining programs. You have to log in periodically to see which of your selected offers are still active on your card, which have expired and what new offers are available.

But when you see a retailer where you might shop — even if the odds are low — just add it to your card. You’ll earn miles if you make a purchase, and you’ll lose nothing if you don’t.

The information related to the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

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:

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