Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
There are more ways to earn American AAdvantage miles from credit cards than you think. And not all of them involve cards that say American on them. In fact, American branded credit cards aren’t always the fastest way to earn miles on American, though they do offer special perks that give them an advantage over other cards. For you, the fastest credit card for American mile earning could be the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express.
The easiest way to see what card will earn you the most miles is to use MileCards.com’s Card Finder tool for AAdvantage credit cards. You can input your monthly spending habits and see what you can earn and compare the value factoring annual fees and more. There’s no login required and we don’t store any of your personal information.
If you don’t want to do that, we’ll walk you through the cards below. All of the links we provide on this page are to the best available public offers, so you don’t miss out on the biggest introductory mile deals.
There are four personal credit cards that earn full value AAdvantage miles:
Here’s how they compare.
Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature®
This is the most popular American Airlines credit card and useful if you can take advantage of the first checked bag waiver on domestic flights. You earn 1 American AAdvantage mile per dollar spent, and 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases. Here are the details on benefits:
All in, it’s a decent card, but we wish there were more mile earning bonuses, though the 10% rebate is a nice touch, and you can earn back the $95 annual fee of the card quickly if you check bags a few times a year.
The intro bonus on the card is usually pretty generous and may be worth getting on its own.
Citi® Executive AAdvantage®
This is the premium level card and you’ll want it if you value Admirals Club access or want elite qualifying miles. Otherwise it’s not worth keeping with a $450 annual fee. Here’s a rundown of benefits:
This card is for you if you travel American frequently enough to value the lounge access or want to hit the next tier in the AAdvantage elite program. But if you want to earn the most AAdvantage miles overall it’s actually not a great choice. There’s no 10% annual rebate on miles you use like with the Platinum Select card, and as we’ll show you below the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express can earn miles even faster.
Citi® Gold / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®
This card isn’t widely publicized, but it’s the lowest fee credit card that earns AAdvantage miles, with a $50 annual fee.
There are no priority boarding or baggage benefits, but you’ll earn full one mile per dollar on all of your spending. If you rarely check luggage on American this may be a better bet for you than the higher annual fee Platinum Select AAdvantage card.
But for $15 more per year there’s an even better choice that doesn’t say American on the front…
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card American Express
This is the credit card for Starwood Hotels…including Westin, Sheraton, and W hotels. It’s unique because the Starwood points you earn can be transferred 1:1 directly into your American Airlines AAdvantage miles account at any time. It’s one of our favorite travel cards overall because the points you earn are so flexible.
What you trade off are the baggage fee waiver and airport priority of the Platinum cards. You’ll also need to wait about a week from when you request a mile transfer for the miles to show up in your American Airlines account, but that’s not a big deal if you are regularly accumulating AAdvantage miles and can earn them 25% faster thanks to the bonus on transfers.
Consider more than one card to maximize your value
There’s no reason you have to hold only one card that earns AAdvantage miles.
For example, if you check bags several times per year it may make sense to carry the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® for the baggage fee waiver, and use the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express for your daily spending to are created equal.
You’ll save more than the annual fee of the Platinum Select card in baggage fees, and earn more miles than if you only carried the Platinum Select card by choosing the Starwood Card for your earning, since it can earn miles 25% faster. And you can still take advantage of the annual 10,000 mile rebate on miles you use as a perk of holding a Platinum Select card, even if the miles came from your Starwood account.
Or get in on big bonus mile deals
Consider applying for more than one card to collect multiple introductory bonus offers. This is the fastest way to build your AAdvantage account, and you could earn miles quickly depending on the size of the offers. We keep a current list here.
Citi will let you try out all three of its cards if you’d like, the only catch is you can only apply for one Citi card every 8 days or so. And the Starwood card is from American Express which often offers decent intro bonuses as well.
Once you have multiple cards and get the bonus you can try them out and see which one suits your needs best, and keep the one you use most often. They won’t take your miles away if you decide to close an account before the annual fee comes due.
Follow @MileCards on Twitter for the latest updates and new offers
Foreign Transaction Fee Waived
Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?
Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.
"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."