How to Get Free Flights With American Airlines

by Lyle Daly | Updated April 29, 2022 - First published on Sept. 3, 2021

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Two people wearing hoodies descend the airplane stairs after a flight.

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When you're a frequent flyer with American Airlines, it pays to know how to get free flights.

Based out of Fort Worth, Texas, American Airlines is one of the world's largest airlines. If you travel often and you live near one of its many hubs, then you probably have plenty of opportunities to book flights with American.

If you're in that situation, it's smart to learn about the ways you can fly free of charge. American Airlines offers a popular frequent flyer program, and once you know the ins and outs, it can drastically reduce your air travel costs.

Register for the AAdvantage® program

The best way to regularly get free flights with American Airlines is by earning frequent flyer miles. To do that, you need to join its AAdvantage® program.

You can sign up for an account on the AAdvantage® website. After you complete the registration process, you'll receive your frequent flyer number, and you can access all of the program's options for earning miles.

Include your frequent flyer number on every reservation

When you book airfare in cash with American Airlines or its partner airlines, enter your AAdvantage® frequent flyer number. This ensures that you receive miles for the flight.

For American Airlines flights, the number of miles you earn depends on the cost of your airfare and your status in its frequent flyer program. If you have elite status, you earn more miles. Here is the base rate per $1 spent on airfare and the rates for each elite status tier:

  • Base rate: 5 miles
  • Gold: 7 miles
  • Platinum: 8 miles
  • Platinum Pro: 9 miles
  • Executive Platinum: 11 miles

Reaching elite status tiers depends on the amount you spend on travel with American Airlines.

GUIDE: How to redeem American Airlines miles

Use partner offers to earn more miles

Partner offers are a great way to top off your airline miles. American Airlines offers several types of partnerships that you can learn more about below.

Online shopping

AAdvantage® eShopping is an online shopping portal with over 950 stores. As a member of American's frequent flyer program, you can earn miles on purchases made with these retailers.

Visit the shopping portal and sign up for an account using your AAdvantage® number. Click on any store in the portal to go to its website, and shop like you normally would. After you make a purchase, you'll receive your miles for it. Any payment method works. You don't need to use credit cards with American Airlines to earn miles this way.

Dining

AAdvantage® Dining is a dining rewards program offered by American Airlines. You can sign up, link any of your credit or debit cards, and then receive AAdvantage® miles every time you pay using that card at an eligible restaurant, bar, or club.

Travel

Through its partnerships with other travel providers, American Airlines allows you to earn miles on:

  • Hotels
  • Car rentals
  • Vacation packages

These partner offers are available on the airline's Earn More Miles page.

Apply for an American Airlines credit card

Airline credit cards are useful for an airline's loyal customers. These let you earn miles with the airline on purchases, and many also include lucrative sign-up bonuses. A sign-up bonus is an offer for new cardholders to earn a large number of miles, normally after they reach a minimum spending requirement.

If you fly with American Airlines multiple times per year, consider applying for an AAdvantage® credit card. When you're earning miles on all your credit card spending, those free flights come much more quickly.

Redeem your miles for free flights with American Airlines

Once you have the miles, you can use them for the airfare you want. It's the same booking process as normal. The only change is that you need to check the box that says "Redeem miles" in the flight search box on the American Airlines website.

Flight prices will then show up in miles instead of dollars. Choose your tickets, go through the checkout process, and American Airlines will deduct the miles from your account. Note that although the ticket itself is free, award flights aren't 100% free, because there are still taxes and fees to pay.

You may also be wondering how many miles you need. Award tickets with American Airlines are available for as low as 7,500 miles each way, plus taxes and fees. The exact cost depends on where you're traveling and the type of ticket you book. American Airlines has a full flight award chart you can consult to see what different routes and ticket types cost.

The number of free flights you get with American Airlines all depends on how many miles you can earn. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to earn more miles if you take advantage of everything the AAdvantage® program offers.

Want To Earn American Airlines Miles Faster? Check out The Ascent's AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® Review.

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