Updated Mar 04, 2021 | Published Sep 02, 2020 • 11 min read
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The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card is the most inexpensive option from the American Airlines credit card family. It has no annual fee and features a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, but that’s about all.
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Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
We give the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card 4 out of 5 Stars. It features an uncomplicated earning experience with very few bells and whistles. But that’s to be expected from a travel card with no annual fee.
Why We Like It
No annual fee
10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit for spending $500 in the first 3 months
Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage®bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
No Annual Fee
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for each $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery delivery services
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
Save 25% on inflight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% – 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
The MileUp card is just about as simple as it gets when it comes to travel rewards credit cards. You’ll earn 2X miles per dollar for American Airlines flights and on groceries, and gain a 25% discount on in-flight purchases.
The selling point is the lack of an annual fee, so if you don’t travel often, and fly AA when you do, this could be the card you want. However, there are very few perks and no shopping or travel protections. So if you travel frequently, you’d likely get more out of a more advanced card.
Pay for your plane tickets: Considering this is an AA card, you’ll want to use it every time you fly to earn 7X miles per dollar. 2X miles from the card, and then a minimum 5X miles from your AA membership.
Buy your groceries: You’re not restricted to only earning on flights. You’ll also earn 2X miles per dollar on your groceries.
Aim for the welcome bonus: It’ll provide a nice little boost to your miles and a statement credit. And it probably won’t take too many flights to reach the spending requirement.
Snack along the way: You’ll receive a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, so don’t be afraid to snack if you’re hungry or grab a drink if you’re thirsty.
Watch the fee: This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee. That’s fairly uncommon for travel cards, meaning you may want to consider another option if you’re traveling outside of the country.
This card can be pretty rewarding, considering there’s no annual fee. If your miles are worth 1–2 cents, you’ll earn the equivalent of 7%–14% cash back on your flights (if you’re earning 7X miles per dollar).
You’ll see a cash back equivalent of 2%–4% for the grocery category. That isn’t as impressive, but still pretty good for a card like this.
2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on:
Eligible American Airlines purchases
1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit for spending $500 in the first 3 months
In addition to the 2X miles per dollar from the card, you’ll get at least 5X miles per dollar on flights from your American Airlines membership. That brings your total miles to 7X per dollar.
There are a few routes you can take when it comes time to redeem your miles. The most profitable of these, however, will be redeeming them for American Airlines reward flights. But you have other options available to you.
Use miles for flights through AA, or through any of the partners in oneworld. It has several airline members including British Airways and Cathay Pacific.
Redeem miles for hotel stays or rental cars through AA’s travel partners.
Use miles to buy (or renew) an Admirals Club membership, providing airport lounge access to around 50 lounges.
How Do I Redeem My American Airlines Miles for AA Flights?
If you go to the American Airlines website, you’ll be able to search for your desired flight. You can check the small box near the search bar in order to pay for it with your miles rather than your cash.
You won’t be able to redeem for economy class seats, however.
Take a look at a few examples of one-way flights we ran through to get a sense of the kind of mile values you’ll likely see:
Cash (includes taxes and fees)
Rochester (ROC) to Houston (HOU)
16,000 + $5.60
New York City (JFK) to Denver (DEN)
22,500 + $5.60
Indianapolis (IND) to Phoenix (PHX)
19,000 + $5.60
Orlando (MCO) to Chicago (ORD)
19,000 + $5.60
Cincinnati (CVG) to Philadelphia (PHL)
12,500 + $5.60
On the high-end, from Cincinnati to Philadelphia, you’d see a mile value of 2.47 cents. That’ll equal a cash back equivalent of about 17.3%, which is pretty great.
However, mile values are pretty volatile, so you won’t always see that kind of return on your spending. Take the New York City to Denver flight, for example, where your mile value is 1.03 cents. That’ll get you a cash back equivalent of about 7.2%, less than half of the other flight.
That volatility means that if you don’t get a mile value you like (the price divided by the mile requirement) you can look around for other flights with a higher value. If you can’t find a satisfying deal, check back later or perhaps consider using your card for the trip, and your miles for the next.
The card benefits attached to the MileUp are pretty scarce, but it’s not all that surprising considering how inexpensive it is.
In-flight discount: You’ll get a 25% discount on food and beverage purchases during AA flights.
Citi Concierge: Citi offers a service to help you find what you may need, whether it be dining, travel, or entertainment.
American Airlines Vacations: You’ll get a 10% discount when you book any American Airlines vacation package.
AAdvantage Dining: You’ll earn two additional miles per dollar when you eat at local restaurants.
SimplyMiles: If you join SimplyMiles and add your card, you can activate special earning offers at a variety of different retailers.
eShopping: You can shop at over 950 online vendors where you can earn additional miles on top of what you’d get from the card.
Authorized users: You can add authorized users to your account, letting them share in the discount and rewards.
There’s not a lot to it. You’ll earn rewards for flying the skies, and get a discount on in-flight food and beverages. But there are few, if any, shopping or travel protections attached so if you’re more than an occasional traveler, you’d probably get more out of a different card.
How Do I Apply for the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card?
Simply follow the link below to securely apply on the credit card issuer’s website. You’ll need to fill out an application which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. You’ll likely hear back pretty quickly if you’ve been approved or not.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the AAdvantage MileUp Card?
It’s recommended that you have good credit, or near to it, to qualify.
Good credit usually refers to a FICO score of at least 670, or 700 for VantageScore. As long as your credit is looking good, you should have a decent shot.
It’s important to remember, however, that credit card companies take more into account than just credit scores when figuring out your creditworthiness. They’ll look at things like income and your monthly mortgage or rent payments, so if your credit scores aren’t at that level, you still may be approved.
That also means that if your scores are high enough, you could be denied due to other factors.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal identifying information: Name, birth date, Social Security number, country of citizenship
Address and contact information: Email, phone number, address
Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage/rent payment, bank account types
Despite the annual fee (which is waived for the first year) if you travel more than just every so often, you’d get more out of this card. The benefits include things like your first checked bag free, preferred boarding for AA flights, and a mileage discount when redeeming for flights. There are a few shopping protections, too.
The rewards are practically the same, but with this card you’ll have the opportunity to earn 2X miles per dollar at restaurants as well. So it could be worth it if you travel a little more frequently. Plus, there’s no foreign transaction fee, meaning you can spend without worry if you leave the country.
25% in-flight food and beverage discount: Save some money on in-flight snacks and drinks, making your flight just a little better.
Preferred boarding for AA flights: With preferred boarding you and four companions will be able to board with Group 5 when it comes time to enter the plane.
First checked bag free: You and up to four travel companions will have the fee for your first checked bags waived on eligible domestic flights.
Reduced mileage award: You’ll get a discount when redeeming your miles for flights. If your flight is 500 or more miles, you’ll get a 7,500-mile discount. For flights under 500 miles, you’ll get a 2,000-mile discount.
$125 American Airlines flight discount: Once you spend $20,000 in a cardmember year and renew your card, you’ll earn $125 off an American Airlines flight.
10% AA vacation discount: You’ll get a 10% discount when booking a combination of two or more travel methods through American Airlines. These include hotel stays, car rentals, or flights.
Don’t let the annual fee put you off, there’s a yearly travel credit that helps soften the blow. The $75 credit effectively drops the fee to $74, which really isn’t bad for a travel card.
For that fee, this card offers four upgraded boardings, 7,500 anniversary points, a 20% discount on in-flight purchases, and a wide selection of travel protections. These protections, like travel accident and rental car insurance, could end up saving you quite a bit of money in the unfortunate event you need them.
There’s little difference in the rewards. Rather than miles you’ll earn points, and instead of earning on groceries, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar with Southwest Airlines’ hotel and car rental partners.
$75 annual Southwest travel credit: Receive a $75 annual travel credit to use to book your flights, Rapid Rewards hotel stays, or car rentals each year.
7,500 anniversary points: Every year you’ll receive 7,500 bonus points.
Four upgraded boardings: Snag an A1–A15 seat, without the hassle. Each anniversary year, you’ll be reimbursed for up to four Upgraded Boardings for A1 through A15 seats. The price of an Upgraded Boarding varies depending on your flight, but usually costs between $30 and $50.
20% back on in-flight purchases: You’ll receive 20% back on in-flight Southwest purchases like drinks, meals, entertainment, and WiFi.
Travel protections: Rental car insurance, roadside dispatch, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, and travel and emergency assistance
Shopping protections: Purchase protection and extended warranty
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
It’s a good option for people who don’t travel very often and aren’t picky about which airline they get. You’ll earn a flat rate no matter who you fly with or what you buy. There’s an introductory APR, so your purchases won’t earn interest for 12 months (after which your rate will be 15.49% - 25.49% Variable).
The benefits are a bit more impressive with this card too. In addition to several travel and shopping protections, you’ll be able to monitor your credit, transfer your miles to Capital One’s travel partners at a 2:1.5 rate, and get special perks at a variety of hotels around the world.
Mile transfers: Most travel partners offer a transfer rate of 2:1.5 (2 Capital One miles for 1.5 partner airline miles or hotel points), but some may vary. Transfers to travel partners will often net you a better point value.
CreditWise credit monitoring: See your VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on your TransUnion credit report, and check data from your TransUnion report.
Luxury Hotel Collection: Provides special perks at select hotels around the world
Shopping discounts: Get discounts at certain retailers. There are usually a few dozen offers available here, for both online and physical stores.
Fine Wine and Food: This is focused on food, with a bit of wine thrown in too. You’ll get certain perks at wineries and discounts from common merchants.
You’ll earn in a broader travel category than with the MileUp card, on dining, and on Lyft rides. As a nice touch, if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll get a 25% bonus. So your points will be worth a little more.
And thanks to Chase’s 1:1 transfer rate, you can take your points and transfer them to any of Chase’s travel partners. You might be able to find a point value of 2 cents at a wide selection of airlines and hotels, providing a pretty solid 4% cash back equivalent for the 2X categories, and 10% for Lyft rides. That’s slightly less than the MileUp card, but you won’t be restricted to only redeeming for AA flights.
The travel and shopping protections are probably the most useful of the bunch, but you’ll also get Shop through Chase and the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. Shop through Chase offers higher earnings with a selection of retailers, and the latter benefit will give you perks at a variety of hotels around the globe.
DoorDash membership: You’ll get a free DoorDash membership for at least a year, known as a DashPass. This gives you free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12, which could help you save quite a bit if you tend to order out.
Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
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