Keeping American Advantage Miles Active

A reader recently wrote in asking about keeping his American Airlines Advantage miles active:

We have a Citibank American Advantage card in order to accumulate miles.  The problem is that it has an annual fee of $85, so I’ve scheduled to cancel it this April.  Our predicament is that we haven’t found a way to keep our American Airline miles without a card.  One has to fly every year and a half and we only fly every two years.  Any tips that wouldn’t involve a yearly fee, or is it worth paying to have the miles accumulate at least on one card? 

This is becoming an increasingly common issue amongst frequent fliers (point collectors).  First, we need to notice that there are actually two distinct groups of people who make use of frequently flyer programs.

The first are the genuine and legitimate frequent flyers.  They are the ones that will never ask the question listed above because they fly frequently enough to keep their accounts active.  Then there is the group that obviously our reader belongs to (myself included) – points collectors.  These are people who fly occasionally and enjoy racking up points.  Unfortunately, they don’t fly often enough to keep their points active.

Those who are ‘legitimate’ frequent fliers have a lot of negative things to say about point collectors.  They think all the points collectors make it hard for them to redeem their miles.  They are the genuine product and the rest of us are the imitation brand.  But, we the points collectors, say  it’s a points program so anyone should be able to collect as many points as often as possible.

In order to appeal to both of these crowds, (and most likely to also increase their bottom line) airlines are introducing stricter  points expiration policies.  Expect to see the policies be even more limited in the future.  The harder the airlines make it to keep and redeem points the more money they get to keep for themselves.

But, fear not. You do have some good options for keeping your account active.

5 Ways You Can Keep Your American Airlines Frequent Flyer Account Active Without A Credit Card

  • Buy points

    Unless you have a ton of points this usually does not make any mathematical because they are expensive to buy this way.  However, if for a few dollars you can keep your account active, you might as well.  Buy points at American or Google your airline + buy points.

  • Sign up for a survey program like E-rewards.

    With e-rewards you accumulate E-rewards dollars for filling out surveys.  When you get enough ‘dollars’ you can buy points.  Since American Airlines Participates in this program that is a good option.  The biggest downside is the time required to fill out the surveys.  But, it should not be a huge investment if you just want to keep your points active.

  • Shop online via the Airline’s shopping mall.

    Almost every major airline has a shopping area.  If you buy products online at some of your favorite retailers you can get points.  You can use American Airlines shopping here.

  • Subscribe for email promotions.

        It is not unusual for an airline to offer you 250 points to occasionally complete a survey or sign up for a free program.  While the 250 points won’t make a huge impact on your points total, it is another way to extend the life of your points. 

  • Explore the “earn points” section of your preferred airline.

    Points are offered for anything from phone services to insurance quotes.  Scan around a page like this, and in just a few moments you’ll probably be able to find a promotion for a product you already use.  There are a million ways to earn American Airlines points.

Hang on to those miles!


  1. Chris Abramski says

    I have taken advantage of a new way to earn AA miles by registering my Visa card to credit AA miles for purchase from select vendors ie Home Depot.
    PS read about it on AA site in June 2010

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