American Airlines (AA) has a loyalty program called AAdvantage. It has been widely documented already that AAdvantage took a devaluation hit this past year in reward redemption. That being said, I still believe that there is still a lot of value to be had, especially for Canadians. There are some easy ways for Canadians to earn lots of AAdvantage miles, which would be an alternative to Aeroplan.
Earn AAdvantage Miles
Later on, I will list the direct AA flights departing out of Canada. For now, I will list its partners. AA is a member of Oneworld alliance, so whenever you fly with any of its members, you can bank your miles directly to your AAdvantage account. Furthermore, AA also has some valuable non-alliance member partners too.
Oneworld airline partners
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- LAN Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
- TAM Airlines
Other airline partners
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
- Cape Air
- Etihad Airways
- Fiji Airways
- Gulf Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Jet Airways
- Seaborne Airlines
Aside from flying, there are many other ways to earn miles.
Whenever you rent a car, you can bank your rewards directly towards AAdvantage miles rather than earning car rental points, which is what I do. Below is a list of car rental companies that you can earn miles with:
The same concept applies to staying at hotels. Instead of earning hotel points, you can set your account to directly earn miles with AAdvantage instead. However, I generally prefer to earn hotel points.
- Best Western Hotels & Resorts
- Choice Hotels
- Country Inns & Suites By Carlson
- Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
- Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts
- Hilton Portfolio Hotels
- Hotel JAL City
- InterContinental Hotels
- Langham Hospitality Group
- La Quinta Inns & Suites
- Marriott Hotels
- Melia Hotels International
- Millennium Hotels and Resorts
- New Otani Hotels
- Nikko Hotels International
- Park Inn by Radisson
- Park Plaza
- Preferred Hotel Group
- Quorvus Collection
- Radisson Blu
- Raffles Hotels & Resorts
- Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
- Starwood Hotels
- Swissotel Hotels & Resorts
- Wyndham Hotels
Additionally, you can also earn miles when booking a hotel stay with third party sites such Pointshound or Rocketmiles.
Having the ability to convert points to miles is also a very valuable and often underrated way of accumulating miles. In Canada, we are fortunate enough to have a transferable points rewards program called RBC Rewards.
RBC Rewards / Avion
RBC Rewards / Avion points are convertable to AAdvantage miles. You will need to convert a minimum of 5,000 Avion points for 5,000 AAdvantage miles. There have been 20% transfer bonuses. However, it’s been years since the last one, so I highly doubt that we will be seeing another one soon. It doesn’t help that the Canadian dollar is so weak at the moment versus the USD.
Please note that you do have to have specific RBC credit cards (Avion branded credit cards) that allow you to transfer to American Airline miles.
There is also a backdoor way of converting your Esso Extra points to AAdvantage. You can convert 2,500 Esso Extra points (minimum required) for 1,500 RBC Rewards points. Thereafter, you need to exchange blocks of 500 Esso Extra points for 300 RBC Rewards points. Once you have RBC Reward points, you can convert to AAdvantage miles.
One of my favourite ways of earning miles is using the E-rewards (invitation only) program, which can be transferred to your AAdvantage account at the following conversion:
- $25 = 500 AAdvantage miles
- $50 = 1,000 AAdvantage miles
- $100 = 2,000 AAdvantage miles
Unfortunately, you need to be invited to sign up for this program as they are not accepting new members system wide.
AAdvantage has a eShopping mall that allows you to earn miles through their shopping portal. This is always a great way of earning bonus miles.
List of Destinations Departing from Canadian Airports
What I really like about American Airlines is that they have many direct flights departing out of Canada. Below is an updated list of American Airlines flights that depart from Canadian airports (recent changes from last time are in brackets or struck-through):
Toronto Pearson International Airport [YYZ]
- American Airlines: Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami
- American Eagle: Charlotte, Chicago–O’Hare, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington-National
Vancouver International Airport [YVR]
- American Airlines: Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
- American Eagle: Los Angeles
Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport [YUL]
- American Airlines:
- American Eagle: Charlotte, Chicago–O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth (moved), New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia
Calgary International Airport [YYC]
American Airlines: Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix
- American Eagle: Dallas/Fort Worth (moved)
American Eagle [Seasonal]: Phoenix
Edmonton International Airport [YEG]
- American Airlines [Seasonal]: Phoenix
Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport [YOW]
- American Eagle: Philadelphia
Halifax Stanfield International Airport [YHZ] American Eagle: Philadelphia
Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport [YQB]
- American Eagle [Seasonal]: Philadelphia
Region of Waterloo International Airport [YKF] American Eagle: Chicago-O’Hare
As you can see, just like United Airlines, American Airlines started trimming down the number of direct destinations to and from Canada. This has become a worrisome trend as I worry about competition at Canadian airports.
Conversely, you may have seen an increase in flights offered by Canadian based airlines.
I really hoped to see more direct routes between Canada and the United States being added in the near future. But even more so, I really hope that American Airlines will one day offer a co-branded credit card that allows us to earn AAdvantage miles directly.