Among airlines’ frequent flyer programs, it should come as no surprise that the three “legacy” carriers offer some of the most valuable points. Depending on where you live and your travel style, some programs may offer more benefits than others.
Based on our latest analysis, American Airlines AAdvantage miles may be redeemed for an average of 2.6 cents of value on economy flights, with an average of 1 cent per point on domestic flights, but up to 5 cents per point on international flights to destinations where American and its partners fly.
But as with all programs, your ultimate mileage may vary.
» Learn more: Read more about our methodology for calculating mileage valuations
How can you tell if the AAdvantage frequent flyer program is best for you? Here are four reasons why you may want to consider joining.
1. You live near an American Airlines hub
One of the best reasons to choose any airline is because you live near one of its hubs, giving you access to the widest range of direct flights.
American Airlines’ home airport is at Dallas-Fort Worth, but the carrier operates hubs at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Miami International Airport (MIA), New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia International Airport (LGA), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC.
2. You travel internationally
American Airlines operates one of the most robust networks across the United States and around the world. As the largest airline by passengers enplaned, it operates an average of 6,700 flights every day serving 50 countries. The network reach includes eight airports in the Asia-Pacific region, 23 year-round and seasonal routes across Europe, 28 year-round and seasonal routes in Canada and Mexico, and 58 destinations across Brazil, Central America and South America. This year, American is adding nine new European routes to destinations such as Athens, Munich and Dublin.
3. You want the ability to redeem your miles for flights on Oneworld airlines
One of the perks of joining a frequent flyer program is being able to redeem earned points aboard its partners.
American Airlines is part of the Oneworld alliance, which is made up of 12 other airlines servicing the globe such as British Airways and Cathay Pacific. The airline also has partnerships with other carriers, including Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Airways and WestJet.
While you can book flights aboard other airlines using your AAdvantage miles, some of them will require some extra work. Only 15 airlines are bookable through American’s website – all the others require you to book over the phone. But if you have the American AAdvantage miles to use, this could be an effective way to see the world at a lower price.
4. You want to earn miles through everyday spending
If you plan on flying American Airlines or OneWorld partners frequently, picking a credit card for earning miles can give you a big boost toward redeeming miles for travel.
Generally, sign-up bonuses during the first year can make a big dent in the cost of a flight.
This post was updated on Jan. 24, 2019.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
American Airlines AAdvantage Program: The complete guide
NerdWallet’s top travel credit cards
This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards