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How can you earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles from UK credit cards?

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How can you earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles from UK credit cards?

American Airlines no longer has its own UK credit card.

It used to have a Visa card, issued by MBNA, which was known for its generous sign-up bonuses – once as high as 35,000 miles. The card was withdrawn in early 2018 as it was no longer seen as economic when the Government capped the charges that Visa and Mastercard could levy on shops.

There is, however, still a way to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles from a UK credit card. The route is via Marriott Bonvoy.

How can you earn American Airlines miles from UK credit cards?

Marriott Bonvoy hotel loyalty points convert to American Airlines miles at the rate of 3:1.

The most efficient way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points in the UK is via the official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. It comes with 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for signing up and 2 points for every £1 you spend.

At 2 Bonvoy points per £1, you are earning (at 3:1) 0.66 American Airlines miles per £1 spent on the card.

You can apply here.

We wrote a full review of the Marriott Bonvoy American Express credit card here.

How can you earn American Airlines miles from UK credit cards?

American Express Membership Rewards cards are another option

For completeness, I should also mention that American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points can also be used to indirectly earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

It’s complicated though:

  • you need to send your American Express points to Marriott Bonvoy at the rate of 2:3, and
  • send your Marriott Bonvoy points to American Airlines at the rate of 3:1

The earning rate per £1 spent is poorer on these cards.

£1 spent gets you 1 Membership Rewards point. This gets you 1.5 Marriott Bonvoy points, which in turn gets you 0.5 American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

However, you will see that the Membership Rewards cards we list below do have generous sign-up bonuses. If you qualify, you could get a card from this list purely to trigger the sign-up bonus.

Click through for more details:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

American Express Rewards

The only ‘free for life’ Amex card which earns Membership Rewards Read our full review

If you have a small business, you should also consider:

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

Can you earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles from a UK Visa or Mastercard credit card?

Unfortunately, earning American Airlines miles from a Mastercard or Visa credit card is not possible.

Are you willing to move away from American Airlines AAdvantage?

There are attractive Visa or Mastercard options available for earning Avios or Virgin Points if you are willing to look beyond AAdvantage. This would get you access to all airlines in the oneworld (Avios) or SkyTeam (Virgin Points) alliances.

Both are equally generous. Importantly, nothing else on the market comes close, even if you are willing to look at Mastercard or Visa cards which offer shopping vouchers instead of travel rewards.

The two Barclaycard Avios Mastercards are the best option. Pick from the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard (usually 5,000 Avios bonus) or the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard (£20 per month, usually 25,000 Avios bonus).

You get 1 Avios per £1 on the free card and 1.5 Avios per £1 on the paid card. You also get an annual upgrade voucher for an Avios flight for hitting a spending target.

Because of the large British Airways short haul network, which has relatively low Avios requirements, these cards should work for you irrespective of whether you will earn additional Avios from flying.

Remember that, because British Airways and American Airlines are both in the oneworld airline alliance, most flights that can be booked with AAdvantage miles can also be booked with Avios.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Bonus: 25,000 Avios

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Receive an Avios upgrade voucher when you spend £10,000 in a card year
  • Upgrade a return BA flight for one person or two one-way flights for a couple
  • Annual fee: £240, charged at £20 per month

Representative 80.1% APR variable based on an assumed £1,200 credit limit and £20 monthly fee.  Interest rate on purchases 29.9% APR variable.

See if you qualify for the 25,000 Avios sign-up bonus +

You will receive 25,000 Avios as a sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard credit card if you spend £3,000 within 90 days of signing up.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous six months, have held any other Barclaycard credit card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s Barclaycard account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous six months, you have had a British Airways American Express credit card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You would still benefit from the upgrade voucher and the other card benefits.

Learn more about the card benefits +

When you spend £10,000 on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard, you receive a voucher entitling you to:

  • book a return Avios flight for one person, paying the Avios of the next lowest cabin (ie book Club World but only pay the World Traveller Plus Avios requirement)
  • book a one-way Avios flight, or one leg of a return flight, for two people, paying the Avios of the next lowest cabin

The voucher is valid for two years.  Full taxes and charges need to be paid on both tickets, based on the cabin you fly.

The voucher cannot be used to fly in First Class.

The voucher can be used for anyone, as long as the booking is made from the Avios account of the cardholder.

You receive your voucher within five days of reaching the spending target.

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

Bonus: 5,000 Avios

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Receive an Avios upgrade voucher when you spend £20,000 in a card year
  • Upgrade a return BA flight for one person or two one-way flights for a couple
  • Annual fee: Free

Representative 29.9% APR variable

See if you qualify for the 5,000 Avios sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5,000 Avios as a sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard credit card if you spend £1,000 within 90 days of signing up.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous six months, have held any other Barclaycard credit card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s Barclaycard account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous six months, you have had a British Airways American Express credit card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You would still benefit from the upgrade voucher and the other card benefits.

Learn more about the card benefits +

When you spend £20,000 on the Barclaycard Avios Mastercard, you receive a voucher entitling you to:

  • book a return Avios flight for one person, paying the Avios of the next lowest cabin (ie book Club World but only pay the World Traveller Plus Avios requirement)
  • book a one-way Avios flight, or one leg of a return flight, for two people, paying the Avios of the next lowest cabin

The voucher is valid for two years.  Full taxes and charges need to be paid on both tickets, based on the cabin you fly.

The voucher can be used for anyone, as long as the booking is made from the Avios account of the cardholder.

The voucher cannot be used to fly in First Class.

You receive your voucher within five days of reaching the spending target.

The two Virgin Atlantic Mastercards are almost as generous – either the Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (free, usually no bonus) or Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (£160, usually 15,000 points bonus).

You get 0.75 Virgin Points per £1 on the free card and 1.5 Virgin Points per £1 on the paid card.  You also get a 2-4-1 or upgrade voucher for hitting spending targets.

The only downside is that, with no short haul routes, you are unlikely to earn enough points purely from the credit card to get a good redemption. The cards are best suited to regular Virgin Atlantic flyers.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

Bonus: 15,000 points and 3 points per £1 spent until 14th April
SPECIAL OFFER

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Get a ‘2 for 1’ voucher, valid on cash or points tickets, when you spend £10,000 in a year
  • Alternatively, claim an upgrade voucher or Clubhouse lounge passes
  • Annual fee: £160

Representative 69.7% APR variable based on an assumed £1,200 credit limit and £160 annual fee.  Interest rate on purchases 26.9% APR variable.

See if you qualify for the 15,000 points sign-up bonus +

You receive a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points after your first purchase, however small.

Apply by 4th March and you will receive double Virgin Points on all spending until 14th April, up to a maximum of £5,000.

There are no restrictions on earning the bonus if you are accepted.  However, you cannot apply for a card if you currently have, or in the previous six months have had, a Virgin Atlantic credit card.  You are free to apply if you have any other Virgin Money credit card.

Learn more about the card benefits +

When you spend £10,000 per year on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard, you can choose a benefit.  This is what you can pick from:

A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Atlantic cash flight or Virgin Flying Club redemption, in Upper Class, Premium or Economy

A return upgrade – on either a cash or points ticket – from Premium to Upper Class, or from Economy Delight/Classic to Premium.  You can either upgrade 1 x return flight if travelling alone or 2 x one-way legs of two return flights if travelling with someone else.

For elite members, Virgin Clubhouse lounge passes (require a same-day Virgin Atlantic or Delta Air Lines flight) – one pass if you are Silver, two passes if you are Gold

Here’s the small print:

If you are a Red (no status) member, you need to pay 50% of the points for your 2nd ticket if you redeem your 2-4-1 voucher in Upper Class.  This means that, for Upper Class redemptions for Red members, it is effectively a ‘2 for 1.5’ voucher. For Economy or Premium redemptions, it is a genuine ‘2 for 1’.

Taxes and charges need to be paid on the ‘free’ ticket as part of your 2-4-1 booking

Vouchers are valid for two years and you must fly the outbound leg of your trip before the expiry date

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

Bonus: None

Read our full review

Other information:

  • Get a ‘2 for 1’ voucher, valid on cash or points tickets, when you spend £20,000 in a year
  • Alternatively, claim an upgrade voucher or Clubhouse lounge passes
  • Annual fee: Free

Representative 26.9% APR variable

See if you qualify for the sign-up bonus +

There is no sign-up bonus on the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard.

You may want to consider applying for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard instead.  This comes with a £160 annual fee but has a sign-up bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points.  You also receive a higher earning rate of 1.5 miles per £1 spent.

Learn more about the card benefits +

When you spend £20,000 per year on the Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard, you can choose a benefit.  This is what you can pick from:

A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Atlantic cash flight or Virgin Flying Club redemption, in Upper Class, Premium or Economy

A return upgrade – on either a cash or points ticket – from Premium to Upper Class, or from Economy Delight/Classic to Premium.  You can either upgrade 1 x return flight if travelling alone or 2 x one-way legs of two return flights if travelling with someone else.

For elite members, Virgin Clubhouse lounge passes (require a same-day Virgin Atlantic or Delta Air Lines flight) – one pass if you are Silver, two passes if you are Gold

Here’s the small print:

If you are a Red (no status) member, you need to pay 50% of the points for your 2nd ticket if you redeem your 2-4-1 voucher in Upper Class.  This means that, for Upper Class redemptions for Red members, it is effectively a ‘2 for 1.5’ voucher. For Economy or Premium redemptions, it is a genuine ‘2 for 1’.

Taxes and charges need to be paid on the ‘free’ ticket as part of your 2-4-1 booking

Vouchers are valid for two years and you must fly the outbound leg of your trip before the expiry date

Other Visa and Mastercard options:

The HSBC Premier Mastercard and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard allow you to convert into the following airlines. However, you need a HSBC Premier current account to take out these credit cards which requires a £75,000+ salary. For most people, the Barclaycard Avios or Virgin Atlantic cards will be a better option.

  • Asia Miles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air MileageLands
  • Finnair Plus
  • Flying Blue (Air France KLM)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • TAP Miles&Go

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.

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