American Airlines has a loyalty program called AAdvantage. As a member of the AAdvantage program you can earn miles and then use earned miles for award flights on American. Miles are earned when you fly or shop with the partners. While it is quite clear how you can earn miles on American Airlines, you may find it difficult to redeem them.
How to use frequent flyer miles with American Airlines
If you are an AAdvantage member with, for example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® credit card or the AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard and you’ve managed to collect a bunch of miles, you may want to redeem them for your next flight with American Airlines or Oneworld partners. But before you redeem, you should know how many frequent flyer miles you will need for an award flight with American Airlines. With flexible plans, you can grab MileSAAver awards for as low as 7,500 miles each way. Remember that taxes and fees are paid with cash. With no blackout dates, you can use AAnytime awards for any seat on an American Airlines flight for 20,000 miles each way. For example, if you have the above-mentioned Citi/AAdvantage credit card and managed to grab the promo offer of 25,000 miles, then you will have enough miles for a round-trip domestic ticket.
Keep in mind that award levels vary by date and region. To redeem, you should simply log in to your AAdvantage account and book your flight using miles. Note that not all redemptions are available online, for some redemptions you will need to contact American Airlines Reservations.
How to use regular travel card miles with American Airlines
Those who are not members of the AAdvantage loyalty program, can use a travel rewards credit card to earn miles and then redeem them for airfare with any airline or hotel stays. An example of the travel rewards card can be the Discover it® Miles card. With this card, you earn miles everywhere – 1.5 miles on all purchases. You don't even have to fly to get miles because everyday purchases also earn miles.
To understand how many miles you will need for a flight is easy with a travel rewards credit cards. In most cases, you simply add two zeros to the cost of your airline ticket and get the required number of miles. That means that 1 mile on a travel rewards credit card is usually equal to 1 cent. To be able to redeem miles, you should buy your airline ticket with your travel rewards card (the Discover it Miles in our example) and then go to your account and apply your miles to the cost. Depending on the terms of the reward program, you can use miles to cover the whole cost or only a part of it.
As you can see, being a member of the AA loyalty program is not the only way to fly with American Airlines for free. Today banks offer travel rewards credit cards that are not tied to any airline but still allow you to earn rewards and redeem them toward airline tickets or hotel stays.