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Personal Finance

How to use the American Airlines shopping portal to earn miles and elite status at the same time

Learn how to earn more American Airlines miles and fast-track your way to elite status.

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Despite their name, frequent flyer miles can be earned without having to set foot on a plane. You can simultaneously earn American Airlines miles and AAdvantage Loyalty Point Rewards by using the right airline credit cards in combination with the American Airlines shopping portal and other deals. And by the time you have enough miles to book an award flight, you might have access to elite benefits as well, like free checked bags or complimentary upgrades.

Let's take a look at how the AA shopping portal works and how you can stack deals to collect miles even faster.

Best AAdvantage cards to use when shopping online

One of the best benefits of using the AA shopping portal is that you can earn rewards from your credit card alongside American Airlines miles and Loyalty Points.

If you want to earn the most rewards from American Airlines, then you'll want to use one of its co-branded credit cards, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or the no-annual-fee American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® card. For each dollar you spend on an American Airlines card, you'll receive one Loyalty Point. Just keep in mind that you won't earn Loyalty Points from the miles given via a card's welcome bonus or from the extra miles awarded for spending in a bonus category.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

  • Rewards

    2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases; 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0 first year, then $99

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases
  • Preferred boarding for eligible credit cardmembers
  • First checked bag free
  • Priority boarding

Cons

  • No special 0% financing offers
  • No airport lounge access
  • Estimated miles earned after 1 year: 78,138
  • Estimated miles earned after 5 years: 190,690

Rewards totals incorporate the miles earned from the welcome bonus

Information about the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

You can also use any other travel card or rewards card with the AAdvantage shopping portal if you want to earn rewards that are useful outside of American Airlines. Purchases with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, for example, would earn 2X miles that you could transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs, like Wyndham, Turkish Airlines and Air Canada's Aeroplan.

Or you could use a card with built-in purchase protection*, like the American Express® Gold Card. The Amex Gold Card covers purchases for up to $10,000 per purchase (up to $500 per purchase for natural disasters) and $50,000 per account for 90 days from the date of purchase. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Goldbelly and other eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

How to use the American Airlines shopping portal to earn miles and elite status

The American Airlines AAdvantage eshopping portal works similarly to other online shopping portals such as Rakuten. But instead of earning cash back or points, you earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points. You can use the American Airlines shopping portal through its website or you can download the browser extension, which will then notify you whenever you're shopping on a website where you can earn rewards.

You can redeem AAdvantage miles for award flights, upgrades, lounge passes and other experiences. The Loyalty Points you earn don't have redemption value, but instead move you up the elite status track. When you earn a mile, you'll typically also earn one Loyalty Point. Right now, you need to accumulate 40,000 Loyalty Points before reaching AAdvantage Gold®, the lowest tier of elite status.

After you set up an account, you can browse the shopping portal for deals at 1,200+ stores. When you find a deal you like, a click on the offer will redirect you to the merchant's site to complete your transaction. You typically either receive bonus miles per dollar or a big chunk of miles for making a purchase that meets specific requirements. For example, right now you can earn 2X miles per dollar spent at Kohl's, and new Blue Apron customers can earn 2,000 bonus miles with an eligible subscription.

Before purchasing anything through the American Airlines shopping portal, be sure to enable cookies in your browser. If you don't do this, American Airlines won't be able to track the purchase and you'll miss out on the bonus miles. You'll also have to avoid using any promo codes not found on the AAdvantage eshopping site when you check out. Using an ineligible discount code could prevent you from collecting your bonus miles and Loyalty Points.

How to stack deals to maximize your earnings

Although you can't use outside promo codes when you're making purchases through the American Airlines shopping portal, you can take advantage of card-linked offers.

Most of the major card issuers have deals you can add to your card to earn bonus rewards or to receive cash back. Since the card issuer applies these offers after you make an eligible purchase, they won't invalidate any bonus you earn through a shopping portal. This means one purchase can earn you rewards from three different sources: your card, the shopping portal, and a card-linked offer.

And if you have a Mastercard, you may be able to stack an additional earning opportunity on top of those three. The AAdvantage SimplyMiles site allows you to add card-linked offers to any Mastercard you add to your SimplyMiles profile.

Here's a real-world example available at the time of this writing. Let's say you want to get a pair of Allbirds shoes for $135. You can make the purchase through the AAdvantage shopping portal (3X miles) with a Citi American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® Mastercard (1X miles), add an offer through SimplyMiles for an additional 3X miles and add a Citi offer for $10 off a $75+ purchase. As long as you add the card-linked Citi and SimplyMiles offers first, here's what you would earn:

  • 405 miles from the American Airlines shopping portal
  • 135 miles from your AAdvantage MileUp card
  • 405 miles from the SimplyMiles offer
  • $10 back from the Citi offer

In this scenario, you earn 7X miles (and Loyalty Points) on the purchase and get $10 back.

Bottom line

By stacking deals you can supercharge your path to elite status with American Airlines and earn miles for award flights at the same time.

With every American Airlines mile you earn (outside of credit card welcome bonuses and bonus spending categories), you'll also earn a Loyalty Point that counts toward earning elite status. This includes one Loyalty Point per dollar for purchases you make with a co-branded American Airlines credit card and the bonus miles you receive from the AAdvantage eshopping portal or card-linked offers.

*Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Information about the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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