What you need to know about American Airlines lifetime flight status


For frequent business or leisure travelers, reaching Million Miler status with American Airlines is a testament to your steadfast dedication to one airline. What is the benefit of achieving this milestone? Well, it grants you lifelong elite status with the American AAdvantage program.

Earning this lifetime status with American Airlines is no easy feat as only a small number of American AAdvantage members achieve Million Miler status. In this article, we will explore the specifics of American Airlines’ lifetime elite status, so you know what awaits you upon reaching this milestone.

What are American lifetime flight miles? How to check your account

The economy cabin on an American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

American calculates lifetime flight miles by the distance of your flight for travel on American-marketed flights or the base miles earned for travel on eligible partner-marketed flights.

Though it’s straightforward on American-marketed flights, partner-issued tickets can be a bit more complicated.

Since partner-issued tickets have their own accrual rates, you can calculate lifetime flight mile accruals by using the base miles for your airline and fare class. For example, if you credit an Alaska Airlines K-fare economy-class ticket from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to AAdvantage, you’ll earn 1,939 lifetime flight miles (75% of the flight distance).

To check your lifetime flight miles, go to your account homepage and click “Activity.”


From there, you’ll see your lifetime flight miles under “Million Miler.”


You can also see your lifetime flight miles under “Your activity” in the American Airlines app.

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Related: After 7 years as an American Airlines Executive Platinum, requalifying is no longer a must for me: Here’s why

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What are the benefits of American Airlines’ Million Miler status?

First-class seats on an American Airlines Airbus A321neo. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

American awards lifetime elite status based on how many lifetime flight miles you’ve earned:

1 million lifetime flight miles: Gold status for the life of the program and a one-time deposit of 35,000 AAdvantage bonus miles2 million lifetime flight miles: Platinum status for the life of the program and a one-time deposit of four one-way American Airlines systemwide upgrades

American will also award AAdvantage members four additional one-way systemwide upgrades for every 1 million miles earned.

Additionally, if you’re a Gold member with American Airlines, you’ll receive a 40% mileage bonus on top of the base miles you earned with paid American tickets and participating Oneworld airlines.

With your elite status, you can enjoy priority airport services such as expedited check-in, security procedures and boarding. As a Gold member, you will also receive a complimentary checked bag of up to 50 pounds (70 pounds if you’re flying first or business class) on American flights. You can access preferred seating during booking and enjoy complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra seats (based on availability) within 24 hours of your flight’s departure.

The benefits of AAdvantage elite status are even more elevated with Platinum status. Platinum members will enjoy priority upgrades, such as boarding, security and Oneworld Sapphire elite benefits, including lounge access when flying internationally.

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Related: A review of American Airlines economy on the Boeing 777-300ER from Los Angeles to London

How long does it take to earn Million Miler status?

American Airlines gate area. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Though there are shortcuts to earning elite status in a year — such as leveraging credit cards for Loyalty Points — there’s no “easy” way to achieve it.

While investing time and resources into earning this status isn’t the most rewarding approach, accumulating a million miles will require extensive flying. A frequent flyer can fall short of 250,000 lifetime flight miles even after a decade. In my opinion, attaining Gold status with 1 million lifetime flight miles isn’t notably exceptional, and may not be worth it.

This status level and its benefits, which you could earn after 10 years with 100,000 lifetime flight miles, may not be compelling enough to foster loyalty, as price and convenience often precede lower-level elite status.

Even if one logs 20 million miles, the resulting lifetime elite status with American Airlines tops out at AAdvantage Platinum. Though it offers better perks, it’s still not a great return on your substantial investment. While American Airlines offers a lifetime elite status plan, it’s not advisable to base loyalty solely on its Million Miler program.

Related: From zero to Executive Platinum: How I qualified for American’s top-tier status without plans to fly the airline

Bottom line: Is Million Miler status worth the hype?

Lifetime elite status is an exclusive reward for loyal customers of airlines or hotels. However, reaching 1 million lifetime flight miles with American Airlines doesn’t offer significant benefits. Unlike American, United Airlines allows you to achieve its highest status through its Million Miler program.

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If you choose to be loyal to American Airlines for important reasons like ticket prices, convenience, fleet quality and service, reaching a million miles will grant you the satisfaction of never worrying about elite status qualification again. Nevertheless, viewing this program as a pleasant surprise rather than actively planning for it is best.

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