American Airlines: Earn up to 50x AAdvantage Miles with cancer research donation


American Airlines is back again with its now-annual co-promotion with Stand Up to Cancer. This year, it’s offering 25x miles on any donation above $25, but that ramps up to 50x when making a $25-$10K donation using an AA Mastercard. On the surface, this sounds like it could be a great deal to support a good cause, but there’s some important terms to be aware of.

a man and woman standing together

The Deal

  • Earn up to 50 AAdvantage miles per dollar when making a donation to Stand Up to Cancer
    • Earn 25x AAdvantage miles for every dollar you give online on a donation of $25 or more
    • Earn 50x AAdvantage miles for every dollar you give online when you use your American Airlines AAdvantage Mastercard credit card to make a donation online between $25 and $10,000
  • Valid through September 30th, 2023 (or until the maximum donation of $3 million is reached for 50x).

Direct Link to Offer

Terms and Conditions

  • Offer valid on donations to Stand Up To Cancer made between August 19 and September 30, 2023 (or until the maximum donation of $3 million is reached for 50x).
  • Donations must be made online at
  • Minimum $25 donation required.
  • Bonus miles do not count toward status qualification.
  • Please allow up to twelve weeks for the bonus miles to be posted to your account.
  • Donations can only be accepted in U.S. dollars.
  • For charitable deduction purposes, each mile is valued at 3 cents per mile.
  • The receipt of miles may reduce the tax deductibility of your contribution.

airplanes parked on a runway

Quick Thoughts

First off, for those that are simply looking at this as a miles purchase, let’s get the math out of the way. If you used your AA Mastercard to donate $1,000, you’d end up with a total of 51,000 redeemable miles (50,000 bonus + 1,000 for the purchase). That breaks down to a cost of 1.96 cents/mile, about 50% above our Reasonable Redemption Value of 1.3 cents each for AA miles. The 25x side of the promotion would be almost 4 cents/mile.

I wouldn’t be a buyer of AA miles at that cost, unless I just needed a few thousand to top-up for a good redemption. It would be one thing if they were elite-qualifying and you could effectively buy Executive Platinum status for $4,000, but since they’re just redeemable miles, there’s not a ton of appeal here.

There is something to be said for the money being a donation to a good cause, but there’s a couple of things to note before going ahead:

  • Stand Up To Cancer is a division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation and that’s where the donations go. It is a 501(c)3 organization, so normally your gift would be tax-deductible, HOWEVER…
  • For charitable deduction purposes, each mile is valued at 3 cents per mile. So, rather than getting a deduction, you’re actually “receiving” more than 50% above the value of your gift. For many folks this might not only limit the value of the deduction, but could completely wipe it out (ask your tax professional for details and how to account for the miles).

The terms for the 50x portion of the promotion also state that, “The opportunity to earn 50 bonus miles ends on 9/30/23 at 11:59pm PT or when the maximum donation to SU2C of $3,000,000 USD using a qualifying card is met, whichever is earlier.” It’s unclear what happens if the $3M mark is reached; do those donations go to 25x and would the person making the donation know that beforehand?

So, if you want to make a donation to the organization and don’t care about the tax write-off, earning 50x AAdvantage miles per dollar is a great deal. As a value proposition for the miles (or if you care about the tax benefits), it’s lacking.

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not a good cause. Just another money suck to fund overpaid individuals. There already is a “cure for cancer” so to speak. It’s called understanding the causes and focusing on eliminating/reducing those. A large part has to do with understanding EMF.

100 or so years ago cancer was uncommon…hmm… can easily look at what people died from 100+ years ago or so.

look for: Atlantic – Chart: What Killed Us, Then and Now
what changed since then?

There are simple methods to get even more granular – by type of cancer…and showing exact years it became an issue…but this is FM….


I think there might be an arithmetic error in the description of the tax benefits, as follows:

Initial donation: $1,000 USD
Miles earned with AAdvantage card: 51,000
Value of miles earned: 51,000 x .03 cents per mile = 1,530 cents = $15.30

With this calculation, $9,984.70 of the original donation is tax deductible, correct?


It’s not 0.03 cents per mile, it’s actually 3 cents per mile. So 51,000 miles x 3 cpm = 153,000 cents = $1,530.


I’d do this if I didn’t need 500 miles within a month because the award seats have been disappearing. The potential 12-week wait is too risky.

Mary Jane

This is a situation where you really have to have a need for those points. I just checked the airfare from Mia to Vail from 19jan-26jan and they wanted $3500-4000 rt business class. AA commends 200k for those same flights. You would need to donate $4000 to get 200k pts…sounds like a wash to me. Most hotels and now airlines, I think, are all going to dynamic pricing. RIP


This contrasts with the 10x with Red Cross where the donation is fully deductible. My assumption is that the miles in that case are being awarded directly by American to donors as a thank you, and do not cost the Red Cross anything; hence Red Cross is able to issue a receipt stating the donor received nothing in exchange from them, thus making it tax deductible.

Apparently Stand Up to Cancer has bought or is buying the miles from American (undoubtedly at a well discounted rate – 3 cents per miles is an insane valuation) and passing them on to the donor. It results in the rather ludicrous situation of a $1,000 “gift” returning $1,500 in “value” to the “donor”. To me it looks like a buy miles scheme, rather than a good way to help cancer research or victims.

Tim, have you researched the internal workings of how the miles are awarded? If I’m wrong I’d like to be corrected, but it’s the way I can see that the Red Cross program and this one are different in terms of taxes.


Dave could you say more about the Red Cross donation. If we use AA card will it be 20x? TYIA – if you know, and where do I find the link?


It doesn’t say anything about 20x with AA card. It goes through Aug. 31.