What doesn’t earn American Airlines Loyalty Points – The Points Guy

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With just a few months left until Feb. 29, 2024, when all American Airlines Loyalty Points balances reset, the race to earn AAdvantage elite status in creative ways is alive and well.

Loyalty Points are the sole metric used in qualifying for American status. From credit card spending to buying flowers through the AAdvantage Shopping Portal, numerous creative ways exist to earn Loyalty Points. People might say: “A mile earned, a Loyalty Point earned.” But there are plenty of exceptions to that rule.

Just as important as knowing what earns Loyalty Points, you should familiarize yourself with what won’t earn Loyalty Points. After all, we don’t want you miscalculating your award balance and subsequently not achieving status.

Here are nine AAdvantage earnings that won’t accrue Loyalty Points.

Transferring, gifting or buying miles

AA.COM

You won’t earn Loyalty Points when you buy, gift or transfer miles. For example, you can buy 150,000 AAdvantage miles at a 35% discount for $3,668.44. But you’ll earn 0 Loyalty Points on that transaction.

Similarly, if you transfer or gift AAdvantage miles to someone else, neither you nor they will earn Loyalty Points.

Related: 7 current promotions for buying points and miles

Redeeming AAdvantage miles

AA.COM

You also won’t earn Loyalty Points when you redeem AAdvantage miles.

For example, I booked the above flight from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) for 40,000 AAdvantage miles in World Traveller Plus with British Airways. As you can see, I accrued no Loyalty Points.

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Related: How to redeem miles with the American Airlines AAdvantage program

Welcome, spending bonuses and special promotions

AADVANTAGEDINING.COM

“Sign up and earn 50,000 bonus miles; book now and enjoy 5,000 bonus miles.”

We’ve all heard these offers on flights, in airports and when calling American. Unfortunately, you won’t earn Loyalty Points for welcome offers, spending bonuses and special promotions, even if it’s a sign-up bonus on an AAdvantage cobranded credit card. This exclusion also applies to bonuses on the AAdvantage Shopping Portal, AAdvantage Dining, AAdvantage Cruises, AAdvantage Hotels and AAdvantage Vacations.

AA Hotels doesn’t award Loyalty Points on the additional miles you can add at checkout. AADVANTAGEHOTELS.COM

Of course, you’ll continue to earn Loyalty Points based on the standard earning rate.

For instance, at the time of writing, Viator purchases earn 7 miles per dollar when made through the AAdvantage Shopping Portal (the standard earning rate is 2 miles per dollar). In this case, you’ll earn 7 Loyalty Points per dollar you spend on upcoming tours.

However, if a promotion through AA Shopping lets you earn 2,000 bonus miles for spending $500, you won’t accrue Loyalty Points on the bonus.

Related: Why I’m focusing on the American Airlines shopping portal this year

Credit card bonus categories

You’ll earn a flat 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent on your cobranded AAdvantage card, even if your card earns 2 miles per dollar. Take the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® (see rates and fees), which earns 2 miles per dollar at gas stations, for example. Even though the card earns 2 miles per dollar in certain categories, you’ll earn a flat 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent regardless of where you spend.

Still, if you’re a business owner with high credit card spending, charging $200,000 to the card would give you 200,000 Loyalty Points, enough for top-tier Executive Platinum status without ever setting foot on an American plane.

In addition, there are two ways to earn bonus Loyalty Points with credit cards. Travelers with an AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® earn 5,000 Loyalty Points when they spend $20,000 in a single status year. Plus, they earn an additional 5,000 Loyalty Points when spending $40,000 and $50,000 on the card.

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Card and the AAdvantage Aviator Silver card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

On the other hand, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (see rates and fees) awards 10,000 Loyalty Points after reaching 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. Cardmembers will receive another bonus of 10,000 Loyalty Points after reaching 90,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year.

Related: Best credit cards for American Airlines flyers

Bask Bank savings account

You’re probably familiar with CD (certificate of deposit) bank accounts: deposit a certain amount of money for a set period, don’t withdraw it and earn interest.

AAdvantage has applied this model to an arrangement with Bask Bank where AAdvantage members can deposit money into a Bask Bank Mileage Savings Account for 12 months and earn AAdvantage miles instead of cash interest. For every $1 that you deposit for 12 months, you earn 2.5 AAdvantage miles. You can deposit up to $200,000 and earn 500,000 miles; mileage interest is paid monthly.

In addition, Bask Bank occasionally offers promotions for extra miles. For example, you can currently earn 5,000 bonus miles if you open a new account by Nov. 30, 2023, fund the account within 15 days and maintain a minimum daily account balance of $25,000 for 90 consecutive days out of the first 120 days following account opening.

Unfortunately, none of these AAdvantage miles count as Loyalty Points — unless there’s a limited-time promotion that explicitly awards Loyalty Points (like we saw last fall).

Related: Introducing Bask Bank, a new way to earn miles

Donations to fight cancer

STANDUPTOCANCER.COM

American awards you 10 miles per dollar when donating more than $25 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). Earlier this year, American offered up to 50 AAdvantage miles per dollar for a limited time when donating to SU2C. That’s a fantastic promotion for supporting a great cause.

While you earn miles from these donations, you won’t earn Loyalty Points.

Related: Donate now: Earn 50 AAdvantage miles per dollar on your donation to Stand Up To Cancer

Transferring points or miles from another currency to AAdvantage

You can’t transfer American Express Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou points or Chase Ultimate Rewards to AAdvantage. Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to AAdvantage miles, but you won’t earn Loyalty Points on these transfers.

The cost of your ticket outside the base fare and carrier-imposed fee(s)

Government-imposed taxes and fees do not earn Loyalty Points. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

When you’re flying American, you earn miles and Loyalty Points depending on your status:

  • General member: 5 miles and LPs per dollar
  • Gold: 7 miles and LPs per dollar
  • Platinum: 8 miles and LPs per dollar
  • Platinum Pro: 9 miles and LPs per dollar
  • Executive Platinum: 11 miles and LPs per dollar

You only earn miles and Loyalty Points on the base fare and carrier-imposed fee(s). For example, every ticket in the United States includes a mandatory $5.60 security fee, which is ineligible for mileage and Loyalty Point credit.

You can call American and confirm how many miles and Loyalty Points your reservation will earn. Alternatively, you can pull up your itinerary on ITA Matrix and refer to the fare breakdown. Subtract out all government-imposed taxes and fees, and you’ll see how much spending earns AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points.

For example, this flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Mexico City International Airport (MEX) costs $140.63. However, only $79 of this is eligible for earning AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points. As you can see in the fare breakdown, the rest of the cost comprises taxes and fees imposed by the U.S. and Mexico.

MATRIX.ITASOFTWARE.COM

This means an AAdvantage member without elite status would earn 395 AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points, while a top-tier Executive Platinum elite would earn 869 miles and Loyalty Points.

Certain partner fare classes

AA.COM

Certain partner fares are ineligible for earning miles and Loyalty Points. As you can see from the above AAdvantage Cathay Pacific earning chart, many economy class fares are ineligible for credit. This means you won’t earn miles or Loyalty Points on these sorts of fares.

In the case of Fiji Airways, all fares marketed by Fiji Airways (indicated by a Fiji Airways flight number) don’t earn Loyalty Points.

You can check the full earnings list of American’s partners here. If your fare class isn’t eligible for mileage credit on AAdvantage, you’ll want to credit the flight to another Oneworld frequent flyer program.

Related: Quick Points: Earn American AAdvantage status quickly with partner flights

Bottom line

Not all AAdvantage activities earn Loyalty Points, so it’s important to be aware of which ones do not. Ensure you know which activities won’t earn you Loyalty Points to avoid missing out on earning status this year.

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