My daughter has had a credit card since she was 2 years old, thanks to American Airlines. She was born in Hong Kong which means that she has been flying long haul frequently since before she could walk. Her American AAdvantage account has been open since she was three weeks old and she quickly earned elite status.

Our first attempt to dip into her rather-full mileage bank was in 2009 when my husband wanted to use some of her miles to take a last-minute trip.

We called American AAdvantage and thought the redemption process would be easy since she’s a minor and we’re her parents. Back then, the issue was paying taxes on the mileage ticket that she, a minor, would technically be paying on my husband’s behalf.

How do you pay those, you ask? With a credit or debit card, of course. Fine, we’ll use ours. Well, that wasn’t possible. We needed a credit card or bank account in her name or to go to a ticketing desk at the airport to pay in cash.

We didn’t have anything financial in her name, at the time. The representative suggested that we have one of our credit cards issued in her name.

We called Citibank and even though she was two, they instantaneously issued a credit card in her name. We received a physical card in the mail a few weeks later.

Today, the process is much easier thanks to technology, I assume. We have dipped into her miles by simply calling AAdvantage and referencing her frequent flier number. I have paid the taxes using my own credit card.

And that is how you redeem your child’s American AAdvantage miles.

If you fly with kids, do immediately open them a frequent flier account with whatever your airline of choice is. Those miles add up.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

Explore More Kid-Friendly Fun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Hello, so we could opt to pay cash at the airport to use a minor’s airmiles instead of getting her a credit card? We are trying to use some of her airmiles to get her grandma to visit us.

    Thanks for your help!