American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card Review

Weighing in with a $0 annual fee, the Citi AAdvantage earns 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and groceries.
  • Annual Fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% - 24.99% Variable
  • Recommended Credit Score:
    670 - 850

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The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is a nice entry into a rewards card with no annual fee and is perfect for those who only average a few trips per year on American Airlines.

It has great benefits, but it also has its drawbacks, and the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card isn’t ideal for earners who travel more regularly.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No annual fee
  • 2 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent with in-person and delivery grocery services
  • 2 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines allowed travel expenses
  • 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after meeting the $500 goal for purchases in the first three months
  • $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases in the first three months following opening the account
  • 25% discount on eligible in-flight consumables, such as food or drink, purchased with the card

Cons:

  • A foreign transaction fee of 3%
  • Earn 1 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on all regular purchases
  • No bag check bonus or companion bonuses
  • Blackout dates can apply for some miles redemptions

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Overview

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card does offer some solid reward-earning potential for those looking for an entry-level travel rewards card or rewards card with no annual fee.

It would be a nice fit for modest individual spenders or frugal families who will get good use from the grocery multiplier and typically only plan on flying American Airlines a few times a year.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card Review

  • Annual Fee: Zero annual fee
  • Regular APR: 15.99% to 24.99% Variable 
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Rewards: 2XAirlines AAdvantage miles for grocery purchases and AA purchases, 1X on all others.
  • Category: Travel / Rewards

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Rewards

Earning Rewards

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card earns authorized users up to 2 Airlines AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent.

When used for grocery purchases, whether in-store, delivery or contactless pickup, the user will earn 2XAirlines AAdvantage miles for each $1.

The user will also earn 2X per $1 on all eligible American Airlines purchases and 1X per $1 on everything else.

To get the correct multiplier for earning, users will need to verify that the intended store is categorized, by Citi, as a grocery store.

Failing to do this could result in the user only earning at the 1:1 rate. Occasionally, stores that sell large amounts of groceries will be categorized as discount stores or department stores.

This may even be the case with stores like Walmart. Double-check their list to make sure you are getting the 2X bonus.

There are also two different rewards for new account holders who meet the purchase goal. New account holders who use the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card for $500 in purchases within the first 90 days will receive a $50 statement credit, as well as 10,000 Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles.

Redeeming Rewards

Miles can be redeemed with American Airlines or any of its Oneworld partners. This includes Air Tahiti Nui, Fiji Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia Airlines, and even British Airways, as well as others.

Miles can be redeemed in several ways, but the most popular is for flights themselves, followed by using them for flight upgrades.

They can also be redeemed for things like magazine and newspaper subscriptions and donations to many different associated charities.

To make a general estimate of your points expenditure for a trip or to estimate points needed for a trip, American Airlines does have a published chart in their online travel portal.

At the time of writing, the current estimate for a standard MileSAAver trip to one of the contiguous states or Canada costs about 13,000 Airlines AAdvantage miles.

American Airlines will also run specials specifically for Airlines AAdvantage miles members. These are frequently in the form of deeply discounted flights available through the American Airlines travel portal.

These are unpublished deals, so they will require you to find them, but they can offer incredibly cheap flights. Flights for a few thousand points cheap.

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Features and Benefits

There are some really solid advantages and benefits to using the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card that is worth noting.

$0 Annual Fee

This is probably the best feature of the card. It’s great for those who rarely travel, so there’s no fee to keep it active each year, and you can accumulate points and redeem them as convenient. This will comprise most of the trade-off for more significant benefits on some other similar cards.

The potential $99 yearly fee on another card may be worth it if you travel 4 or more times a year and tend to have a checked bag.

Nearly all the cards with annual fees will have more significant benefits for regular or consistent travelers, which is why the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is perfect for rare or occasional travelers.

Earn Rewards on Grocery Purchases

The 2X miles on grocery purchases make the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card an incredibly good card for families who may save the points for a vacation a couple of times a year. The 90-day rewards for spending $500 would also be relatively easy to obtain that way.

Even for individuals, the grocery multiplier makes the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card an attractive card for someone who might save up their miles to go on a one really nice trip each year since everyone needs groceries.

Save Money During Your Flight

We all know how much the in-flight purchases are and that they are often best avoided. However, with the relatively robust 25% discount on in-flight food and drink, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card makes those purchases nearly inconsequential.

This can also be best leveraged when taking a flight with children, who may enjoy getting to choose airline snacks and beverages while the parents enjoy affordable prices.

Contactless Payments

Not only a high-tech convenience but a feature to enhance personal safety in an age of constant disinfection. You can easily and safely shop without ever letting someone else touch your card.

When shopping at compatible retailers, simply tap your card on the card reading hardware, and the process is complete in moments.

The card never leaves your sight and never leaves your hand. It’s safer for your information, safer for your health, and a faster overall process.

Compatible With Digital Wallets

While not a feature that would make or break a decision to use a card, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is fully compatible with digital wallets.

This means you can add them to digital payment services such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, and many of the peer-to-peer money transfer apps like CashApp, Venmo, Facebook Pay, and more.

How Does the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Compare to Other Airline Credit Cards?

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card has some great benefits but some potentially frustrating limitations. Here’s how the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card compares to some other cards in the same space.

#1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® vs. American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers the same benefits as the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card but holds a more flexible reward redemption model.

They will accept miles transfers at a rate of 1:1 to a wide variety of airline and hotel booking programs, or you can gain 1.25X leverage when you book through the Chase online travel portal.

>> More: Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

#2. Discover it® Miles vs. American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card and the Discover it® Miles are on mostly equal footing as no-annual-fee cards. However, the Discover it® Miles gives a 1.5X bonus on just about all purchases.

#3. American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

This is another Citi card that is the natural progression of the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card. It has a $99 per year fee, but that’s waived for the first year.

The AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® also offers a free checked bag for the cardholder and up to 4 companions.

The welcome bonus is also tiered up, offering 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after meeting the purchase goal of $2,500 in the first 90 days.

>> More: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® Review

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card Worth It?

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is definitely worth it if you spend enough to earn some awards but only travel a few times a year. It doesn’t offer travel benefits like a free checked bag or companion benefits, so if those are important to you, other cards can offer that benefit and more but generally have an annual fee.

What Credit Score Do You Need to Qualify for the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card?

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is not terribly exclusive, but the approvals will all have their own variable APR. The credit accepted for new accounts will range from ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’ and will be accompanied by FICO/VantageScore numbers of between 690 and 850. If your score is on the lower end of that, expect your APR to be near the upper end of the variables.

Is It Hard to Get the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Credit Card?

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is not difficult to qualify for. However, if your credit score is under 690 or if your overall credit report has some blemishes, you may want to fix some of that before applying. The application itself will impact your credit, so it’s best to only apply when you feel the odds of approval are significant.

Bottom Line: American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card Review

When it comes down to it, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card does have some really attractive potential for occasional American Airlines travelers.

The card is everything you need for traveling two or three times a year at most and spending moderately but consistently enough throughout the year to earn awards.

If you fly more than a couple of times a year, look into another card that will give you more robust travel benefits.

Drew Cheneler
Drew Cheneler
Drew is a recognized Credit, Small Business, and Personal Finance Expert. He has been quoted in CNBC, Fox Business News Section, The Huffington Post, Business.com, Moneyunder30, US Chamber of Commerce, and more. He is known for breaking down complex personal finance topics into action-oriented advice, so you can make the most of your hard-earned money.