3 SUPER SIMPLE ways you can earn TONS of AA miles

American Airlines Business Class 777-300ER

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3 Super Simple ways to earn tons of AA miles

( Updated January 2020 )

You work hard on your 9 to 5, you don’t want to punch the clock again to earn your Miles

Hey, preaching to the choir over here! Those of us who live deep down the rabbit hole of Miles and Points have excel spreadsheets documenting when we signed up, when we got our bonuses, annual fees, etc, etc. It’s a lot of work, and for most people out there…way too much.  You already work hard enough at your day job, the last thing you want to do is get home and put in the hours needed to nail every deal. That’s why I put together these 3 super simple ways you can earn TONS of AA miles. And by Tons, if you were to do all three, you could fly roundtrip in Business Class for under $200.

1) Keep a checking account with Bank Direct

Did you know that you can earn a lot of points with your checking or money market account? It’s a super easy way to plump up that AA account

  • You’ll earn 100 AA miles/month for every $1,000 you keep in your Checking Account up to $50k.
    • At a $50,000 balance, you’ll earn 5,000 AA miles every month, or 60k a year ( That’s enough to fly in Business from the States to Europe or South America.)

In addition to Checking and Money Market accounts, they have various promotions that will earn you AA mileage bonuses as well. You can check them out here.

It’s worth noting that there are some fees associated with the accounts: $12/month or $144 a year. 

2) Opening a new Sprint Account = 20,000 (25k) AA miles

If you already have Sprint you should be earning miles every month, up to 5000 a year. If you aren’t with Sprint, like I was, then switching over could save you money and earn you a lot of AA miles. In fact, I’ve been with Sprint now for a few years because of this offer, and I’ll be the first to admit that the service isn’t as great as I had with Verizon, but my bill is $55/mo unlimited, and I could always pay more to bump up the speed on my network.

Better yet, Spring offers a super competitive International plan. And my super competitive, I mean it’s free on low speed data and text, and if you want your LTE or soon to be 5G, it’s just $25 a week. I just experience it in Europe over New Years and it was excellent.

3) Open a Barclay Aviator Red World ELITE Mastercard = 60k miles after the 1st purchase

While the Barclay Aviator Red isn’t QUITE as good as it once was, ( they eliminated the 10% back on award redemptions, up to 10k a year ) it’s an outstanding welcome offer, has a $99 companion pass, free bags, etc. If you’ve never had the card – why not?

The benefits I value most:

  • 60k AA sign up bonus after first purchase
  • 1st checked bag is free
  • $25 back for in-flight purchases
  • Preferred Boarding
  • Participates in the Reduced Mileage awards from AA
    • These can save you up to 7500 miles roundtrip

Barclay Aviator Red Miles

Do all three of these and you’d earn 145k points your first year with almost no effort.

  • 60k Points from Bank Direct ( with a 50k deposit) costing $144 in fees for the year
  • 25k Points from a Sprint Signup ( including the 450miles a month on going)
  • 60k Points from a Barclay Aviator Red signup

That’s enough point to fly roundtrip business class almost anywhere in the world. In fact, AA has web specials to Japan as low as 45k each way. You could fly roundtrip and still have 55k miles leftover.

AA 772 Super Diamond

 Affiliate link via Card Ratings

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


  • GlobalMatt August 30, 2017

    Miles, you are the best! Wanted to also note (like I did in another post) that the Red Aviator MasterCard from Barclays is now 60k point offer on using your card to make a simple purchase plus paying the $95 annual fee. I am in no way associated with Barclays, but my wife and I just both cashed in on the 60k point offer!

  • […] wrote a post last week that gave 3 simple options to earning a lot of AA miles. It was pretty popular, and there was one technique mentioned that I felt could use more […]

  • Lee August 5, 2017

    You said current sprint customer earns 5000 miles per month? Any info link on that? I don’t see anywhere that says that.

    • Miles August 5, 2017

      Hey Lee – you should be able to link your account and earn 5k a year – try calling customer service

  • Billy Bob August 4, 2017

    The best rate on a savings account right now is through the All America Bank family of banks at 1.5%. With a few accounts (their max at 1.5% is $35000), you can earn $750 per year fee-free if you keep $50K with them.

    The AA mileage account pays next to nothing ($5 per year). So, with fees and considering opportunity cost (lost change to earn 1.5%), that account will cost you approximately $889 per year.

    Unless I’m wrong, you are purchasing those 60000 miles at 1.48 cents per mile. Unless you want to fly business/first all the time, this does not seem like such a good deal.

    I’m somewhat new to this game, so… am I missing something here?

    • JC February 7, 2020

      I agree with this assessment; your ROR is even higher if you park it in a 1 year CD (~2%), making the lost opportunity cost of those 60K miles even worse. It only makes sense if you can consistently find usable business class seats to destinations you want, after factoring in award fees to boot.

  • DaninMCI August 4, 2017

    You forgot about signing up for directv and other products.

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