American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card review: No annual fee, but what else?

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In a Nutshell

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is worth considering if you’re an occasional flyer looking for a way to earn extra miles with no annual fee. This card offers an especially good value to people who buy a lot of groceries. But anyone who flies often or goes abroad at all will probably prefer a card with a larger sign-up bonus and no foreign transaction fees.

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Pros Cons
No annual fee Low sign-up bonus
Bonus points on groceries and American Airlines purchases Few perks and benefits when flying
Low spending requirement for sign-up bonus Foreign transaction fees

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What you need to know about the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

Let’s review a few things to consider if you’re thinking about applying for the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

No annual fee

One of the top draws of the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is that it comes with no annual fee. That means frequent American Airlines flyers have the opportunity to earn AAdvantage® miles throughout the year at no yearly cost, which can be a smart move for occasional flyers who don’t plan to redeem miles too often.

But this no-annual-fee card doesn’t offer many airline perks. Unlike a few other American Airlines credit cards from Citi, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card doesn’t come with boarding benefits or a free checked bag. You will get a 25% discount when you use the card for in-flight food and drink purchases on American Airlines flights, though.

Foreign transaction fees

Unlike many travel credit cards, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card comes with a foreign transaction fee of 3% for each transaction. While that fee might not be a problem for flyers who don’t plan to go abroad, it might convince others to get a card that doesn’t carry this extra cost.

Bonus points on grocery purchases

If you buy groceries often, this card could offer excellent value with two miles earned for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at grocery stores. Citi excludes discount stores and warehouse clubs from this bonus rate, but it could still be a good option for shoppers with big families who do most of their cooking at home.

Otherwise, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card earns two AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible purchases with American Airlines and one mile for every $1 on all other purchases.

Depending on your spending habits, you may be able to earn miles quickly with this card. As with any rewards program, though, it’s important to consider if the bonus categories and earning rates match up with how you normally spend money. It’s not a good idea to spend more than you can comfortably afford to repay just to earn those points.

Smaller sign-up bonus, but low spending requirement

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card has a relatively low sign-up bonus of 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

That’s far from the most lucrative sign-up bonus you’ll get from an American Airlines credit card, but it’s a reasonable value considering the low spending requirement and the card’s lack of an annual fee.

Ultimately, the quality of this sign-up bonus depends on what you value. If you want to earn some extra bonus miles without spending much, then you might like this card. But if you want the most rewards possible or the ability to book a longer rewards flight sooner rather than later, you’ll probably want to look for another card.

Understanding your points and redemption options

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card allows travelers to redeem their miles for flights on American Airlines and its oneworld airlines and partner airlines.

The standard rewards redemption for American Airlines is 7,500 miles per way for destinations in the 48 contiguous U.S. states that are less than 500 miles apart and 12,500 miles for destinations that are 500 or more miles apart. American also offers cheaper awards flights with its Economy Web Specials, but those vary in availability and do not allow itinerary changes.

While American officially has no blackout dates for its award seats, not every kind of rewards ticket is guaranteed to be available for every flight. Travelers must check American’s reward booking system for availability or opt for the more expensive AAnytime Awards to book a rewards seat on any flight, any time.

Cardholders can also choose to use their miles to change their seating, book car rentals or buy a membership to American’s Admirals Club. The miles may even be used for magazines, gift cards and merchandise.

Who this card is good for

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is a straightforward travel rewards card with no annual fee — but with few perks and benefits offered on eligible purchases made directly with American Airlines. This card may be best for less-frequent flyers who still tend to travel with American Airlines, don’t plan to go overseas and just want a simple way to earn miles. But if you don’t spend a lot on groceries, you might get more value out of a more flexible travel rewards card with bonus categories that more closely fits your lifestyle.

Frequent American Airlines travelers may also want to consider another co-branded credit card with more perks, like free checked bags or boarding benefits.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: This card is worth considering for American Airlines flyers who want more perks and benefits.
  • Discover it® Miles: This card could be a better pick for people who fly multiple airlines but still want to pay no annual fee.