Barclays Inquires About AA Shutdowns, Gets Told “None Of Your Business”

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AA shutdowns - Barclays told it's none of their business

Barclays Inquires About AA Shutdowns, Gets Told “None Of Your Business”

For those following the progress of the AA shutdowns of American Airlines AAdvantage accounts, here’s an update. After Barclays called me to talk, they promised an update. I got the update, and it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Here’s a short synopsis.

Previous Phone Call From Barclays

After American Airlines shutdown my account, I filed claims against them and the credit card issuers with whom I had cards earning AAdvantage miles. That was Barclays and Citi. Barclays called me and expressed complete surprise that any of this was happening. They promised a follow-up call.

Barclays Calls Me Back

Barclays called me Friday afternoon. It was the same gentleman from the office of the President of Card services. This is what he told me.

“After our previous phone call, I contacted our relationship manager with American Airlines. He called American Airlines to ask about what’s happening with our customers and their American Airlines accounts. They told us it’s something internal and has nothing to do with us. They refused to provide any further information.”

Barclays asked American Airlines what’s going on, and AA basically said “none of your business”. Barclays stands to lose a lot of customers who will close their cards, and you’d think a business partner would act like a partner. Not here. American Airlines is making a power play here and has no interest in sharing information with their co-branded card issuers.

I also asked if Barclays will refund annual fees because of this. The agent on the phone was adamant that they will not waive or refund annual fees on AAdvantage miles-earning cards. I pointed out that customers who cannot earn miles on these cards will have no interest in paying to keep a card that earns nothing. He said he’s already aware customers will think that.

Final Thoughts

The news on the AA shutdowns just keeps getting weirder. Barclays at least responded to inquiries and tried to find out more information. American Airlines refuses to provide information at all. Citi hasn’t responded to CFPB complaints or found anyone I can talk to when I call the number on the back of my card. They say they don’t know anything, which I find highly suspicious. Barclays was clueless and tried to become informed. The result: American Airlines told Barclays the AA shutdowns are none of their business.

2 possibilities exist here: American Airlines doesn’t want anyone questioning them on this, or someone is lying (relationship manager to phone rep or phone rep to me). Both of those make this whole thing even stranger. My original thought was that Barclays could leverage the “you’re costing us customers” claim against American Airlines. This could slow down the AAdvantage bulldozer. I clearly was wrong on that idea. While we already knew that American Airlines doesn’t seem to care about its customers, it seems they don’t care about their business partners either.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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60 COMMENTS

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60 COMMENTS

  1. I received flyers from AA (regarding Barclays cards). You used my flyers to apply. Got approved. Got miles. AA shut you down. Sorry but you’re a con artist. Quit playing victim. You are a con artist. & ✈️ should and must shut you down. Again. whinny. You are not a victim. You are a con artist.

    BTW.. I don’t work for AA. I gave up my EP in 2017.

    • No one whined. No one claimed to be a victim. And I’m not a con artist, because I didn’t con anyone. I think you’ve fundamentally misunderstood what happened here and maybe are replying to what you’ve heard elsewhere, confusing it with my post.

  2. Ryan, are you sure that’s what they told you? I mean Barclays is paying AA for miles (SUB & monthly spend), so how could AA give such a response to Barclays?

    • If I wasn’t sure, I wouldn’t write it publicly. 🙂
      I wouldn’t risk destroying the credibility of everyone who writes on this site by making something up like this.

      • Why didn’t you ask them this question (why did they not persist in getting a response because they’re paying AA for miles)?

        • because there was no point in asking it, since they were told to butt out by AA. “After being told to scram, why didn’t you ask more questions?” The guy on the phone wouldn’t have anything to tell me or any way to answer, so it would be a waste of my and his time.

          • Such a question would’ve helped you determine if that call was merely a formality on Barclays’ part (canned response). There wouldn’t have been any room for confusion (you’re not sure if Barclays lied to you) on your part.

  3. To state the obvious, hoping AA is monitoring these posts. AA gets money from the credit cards. I don’t have any AA cards. After these incidents, I’m certainly not going to get any. Given that I live close to Philadelphia, I would be a potential customer, and was getting the mailers regularly. I’ll redeem in other ways when I have to fly AA. Too risky to try to accumulate AA points. They have to realize that they’re losing customers and business with their attitude.

  4. Wow, I find it awfully ironic that there are so many anti-consumerism trolls here with their accusative tones and remarks about bloggers “rigging” and “gaming” the system. The thing is, if they are so pro-business and worried about people “gaming” the system then why reading blogs about miles and points anyways? These places are for the exact places to give you ideas to earn and extract maximum value for your miles. The fact that these multi-corporate companies make billions on contracts with Wall Street to sell us these credit cards for “thousands of dollars” in promised value, I personally have zero sympathy for them when they shut down accounts randomly without 1) sufficient warnings in place and have proper IT to deal with “hackers” that is playing within their system and 2) at least issue proper notification to offenders and it’s corporate partners on how they justify the bans.

    Honestly, with the entire coranvirus situation hitting the aviation industry, we are likely to see AA continue to suffer, and their game plan to continue selling miles hoping consumers will actually pay cash for devalued miles. Good luck man!

  5. Makes it easier to prevail in small claims action. They will claim no knowledge and you will show they awarded the miles and they have value. Both AA and Barclay or Citi are responsible as well.

  6. I wouldn’t fuss too much over having my AA accounts closed. If the airlines go bankrupt, everybody’s miles may become worthless anyways.

  7. Read the fine print, they are well within their rights to revoke your miles at any time for any reason. You just gave them a pretty compelling reason by earning miles not in the spirit the program was intended for. And now you’re on a crusade because you might actually have to pay for your own flights. Tear.

    • AA is not a party to the arrangement between a cardholder and Citibank. If Citi is not saying we skirted the rules, how can AA determine that? T&C is general and broad in terms of its usage of the word “abuse”. Most long time fliers interpret FF abuse as selling miles or selling tickets by booking for others (brokerage). So say you use your points to speculatively book award flights you are not sure you will take for a possible vacation and AA suddenly determines that as “abuse” when you cancel a booking, can they arbitrarily close you down? If we violated any rules, it would be with Citibank and they have a right to close our account and clawback whatever miles they issue us. Issue here is a 3rd party (AA) in another industry is re-interpreting abuse between a financially regulated entity (citibank) and the cardholder. Banking regulations manage these relationships, not the airline industry.

  8. There hv been numerous data points on actual people who did not use mailers and DID not live or associate with people who hv been shut down but got public legal allowed sub from both barclays/citi. Just last week on another site a data point where person called AA for ticket change and was grilled/audited how miles were earned when no mailers or codes were used.

    • At this point, it seems AA is just assuming anyone with a lot of miles did something fishy. It’s not going to win them any customer loyalty when numerous other brands are out there to choose from.

      • Can you tell us how many people do you know of who used NO mailers, didnt over load on getting Citis AAs CCs and have been shutdown?

        I think most folks who gamed Citi & AA didnt buy many if any rev tkts so no loss to AA, Im sure there are a minority few that did buy plenty of rev tkts but I also understand why AA wont want them due to having Gamed the CCs numerous times.

        No different the Hotel programs closing peoples accts that they find have a large # of complaints and getting their stay comped, even thou they had reg rev stays w/o complaining in the long run they werent profitable for the program, same with AA

        Personally I think those that gamed it should be happy they were able to get what they did till now

        • Isaac, I get that you’re trying to justify something, but I’m not sure what. That you support the airline doing this? That customers should just bend over and take it when companies claw back from our accounts? Let me know, I’m honestly curious.
          The hotel complaints analogy doesn’t match in the least, to be honest.
          There are many data points about people who didn’t use mailers that weren’t addressed to them / used no mailers at all but just got all the maximum cards possible, then these people were shut down.
          I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make, since the things you keep bringing up have data points that contradict them. You think I “deserved” it or something, and you’re just going to roll with that. I think it was messed up how much AA overreached on this, and I doubt you’re going to change my mind. The data points you’re requesting have been fleshed out across numerous blogs, especially since you’re asking how many people got shutdown without getting many CCs. That question now implies that getting lots of CCs is inherently wrong, which is odd if you’re on a points & miles website trying to make that argument, but it’s the underpinning idea of your comment. Have I missed something?

          • sorry had an urgent matter pop up.

            My point is even if a person does only 1 CC that they shouldnt have that wasnt addressed to them its enough. Fairer would be to claw back those pts or miles and let the person use up the pts or miles they have w/o being able to add and the acct in shut (I know a guy that actually got his 1st ticket ever and hes 50 and probably the 1st time he ran a red light, but that didnt help him at all when he told that to the cop, all the cop cared about was he ran the light w/o there being an emergency at the time)Not me

            If Im able to say get the Citi personal card 3x in a year when I wasnt suppose to then thats reason as well to shutdown an acct

            Do I speed yes but saying well I was only going 10 mph over the limit isnt a valid excuse, if caught I have no on eto blame but myself, the fact that I drive on that road 3x a day and never was stopped isnt an excuse, or that people drive there alot faster. If I speed and Im caught then I will have to pay the piper. If Im not caught that doesnt mean its AOK to speed

            Unfortunately both you and your wife were caught up in AASs net, you admit that you did something (used a mailer) that you shouldnt have and now you have to pay the price. In Singapore if you spit on the street and a cop sees it good bye charlie, here in NY as long as it wasnt intended to land on a cop who cares. You dont want to sit in a Singapore jail dont spit when youre over there

            It seems that you and most others caught up are simply saying AA is going over board and thats not right, well its there game and rules and they can do as they please when they please, just as is the case in Singapore, telling the judge over there hey back home I wouldnt even get a fine wont sway the judge.

            I doubt you were AAs target and simply got sweep up in their net, and once sweep up they arent gonna say oh he only did 1 extra lets let him go, they will burn you for doing 1 that you shouldnt have as if you did a dz Seems AA decided even 1 time is to much, nuts yep but its their rules Im sorry to say

            FWIW I too would have done it if it wasnt that I had a large stash and wanted to use it up. PS when someone asks about selling their Miles, I answer either sell all that you have or none at all, thats how Id do it and if I ever got my stash low enough I might sell them, and yes I know what would happen if caught and why if selling once sold I get the $$ up front and the risk belongs to the buyer

            You played and got caught, its not up to you or me to say what the penalty s/b, its up to AA. You dont feel its right then dont fly them any more (yes you can buy tkts you just cant earn AA miles)

          • From what I understand, you think AA should be allowed to do as they please to customers without anyone checking their power. I disagree.

  9. Ryan are you saying you didnt use mailers that werent addressed to you, didnt apply and get and use more then 1 type of Citi CC. How many SUBs in the past 48 months did you get?

      • Ok in your recap you said no SUBs before 2018 and in 2019 both of you got “Mailer codes used – 2” Were both Mailers for both of you in your names and no game playing to get the 2nd for each?

        I will agree 2 isnt big compared to what some folks did but if its for the same CC and games were played to get a 2nd and the 2nd wasnt sent in each of your names, then the shutdown is justified. If both mailers for both were in each of your names and no games were played to get them I would agree with you, as long as the 3 Citi CCs gotten werent the exact same kind, if the 3 were for the same Citi CC then you pressed your Luck and seem to have lost

          • Really Ryan, you committed fraud. Take your medicine and stop being a whiner. Your are lucky that you have not been charged with mail fraud, yet.

          • JohnC, your comments are relentless ad hominem, misconstruing facts and events (and definitions of terms), and claiming that crimes were committed that no one but you thinks are crimes. If you’re attempting to have a discussion, that’s fine. If it’s going to be nonsense, I encourage you to move along.

          • “non-transferable”: I suppose that you are the type that thinks that if an ATM starts spewing out cash that it is OK to keep it? Or that a Brinks truck back door opens and cash falls all over the highway it is also OK to keep?

          • I’m not sure how you think those are the same thing, so I won’t answer an apples-to-oranges analogy you want to peg me into.

        • JohnC is an AA troll. Go back to your corp security job at screwing frequent travelers and quit trying to dig info from us.

  10. Signed up for Barclays back in October. Thought about adding a Citi card, but am hesitant, given these shutdown actions. Are the limits associated with SUBs in the AAdvantage program T&C or the T&C for both card issuers, which AA assumably approved? I am sure Citi and Barclays do not coordinate efforts between them, so I would assume it is incumbent on the cardholder to conform to AAdvantage program limits when responding to offers. Is it deceptive or incompetent of an issuer to create offers that do not conform the relevant T&C? Obviously at least one of those.

    • Shutdowns appear to be based on Citi only; 4 or more SUBs of a combination of AA Platinum cards (biz or personal) within a two year period. Lower than that if the account is somehow linked to a “gaming” account.

      • It’s impossible to know that it’s only linked to Citi, since there are very few people shut down who didn’t also pursue Barclays AA welcome offers also. While I’d agree “mostly based” I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying a Barclays welcome offer bonus can’t tip someone over the edge.

      • @Blue Seen some people say the threshold is 3 SUB’s and some say the threshold is 4…How confident are you that the correct number is 4? (not trying to be argumentative, it’s a genuine question).

        • Very confident. There’s no DP of the hundreds I am familiar with where a “Player 1” got shut down with 3 Citi Platinum SUBs and a 4th Barclay’s, say, and no credible report of a 3 Citi shutdown as a Player 1 (only accounts linked to a locked or shutdown account).

          There are reports of people with 4 or more who have survived thus far but who knows what that means.

          • How is it possible to get 4 citi bonuses in the last 2 years without using mailers? With the 24 month rules, I only count 3 cards: personal, executive, and business cards? Maybe I am missing one? Just curious, I guess it is possible, but maybe american airlines is using the 4 or more rule because they assume it is not possible to get more the 3 without using mailers (even though there might be a way, but they aren’t considering it).

          • Multiple people have more than one business and earn the bonus through multiple registered businesses on the business cards. You could get 11 bonuses if you have 11 EINs.

  11. Wow! Screw American Airlines and their pathetic product, pathetic customer service, and their total disregard to both their customers and their business partners.

  12. Let me get this straight. You signed up for ghost AA accounts to generate a mailer with a unique code to get a new Citi AA account along with the associated bonus miles. How many times did you repeat this process? Numerous times, yes? Taking advantage of offers that weren’t targeted to you. Then you got caught and ran to the government claiming you were scammed? Haha, is this a joke? You took a chance. You knew those bonus codes weren’t for you. And then you got caught. Time to live with the consequences and quit acting like the victim.

    • Vladimir – you made numerous assumptions in your post that aren’t connected to anything I’ve said in my updates on this. I’m open to criticisms, but they should be grounded in reality. Nothing I said comes close to your comment’s assumptions.

  13. Wow.

    AA is incredibly arrogant for such a poorly run firm. And that arrogance and sloppiness is going to lead to a huge cost to them from these shutdowns.

  14. I’m am sorry for your shutdowns, I would be really frustrated. I have been following this topic but have had trouble finding the answer to this question: Is this all in regards to the citibank mailers? Or does this extend to people just having too many credit card bonuses in general? Thank you for trying to get answers about this and contacting the credit card companies. So strange that american airlines would be the one doing this and not the credit card companies themselves.

    • Kurt, we thought it started with mailers, but it’s gone beyond that. People who had legitimate bonuses but “too many” despite the fact it’s possible to get a lot of them have been shut down also. The ripples in the pond keep expanding.

  15. On a side note, famed money manager and “bond king” Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital is of the belief that AA is insolvent. Other airlines such as Delta are not far behind, which is why they worked out a deal with Warren Buffett. So all of the airlines are under pressure to cut expenses wherever possible. Can’t stop a bulldozer like that. Can certainly sympathize with anyone who lost miles unfairly. Others may have brought the drama on themselves. Either way, it’s likely a losing battle. “Customer service” and “doing the right thing” are concepts of yester-year.

    • I agree about AA probably being insolvent. If you just look at the 5 year trend in the stock price, there isn’t a lot of belief in American Airlines in the investment world. On Jan 12, 2018 the stock price of AA was $58.47. Today the stock price is $17.00. That’s a loss of about 70% of the value in just about 2 years. I’m sure AA is looking for many cost cutting measures right now.

      • Barry,

        Any stocks related to travel went down very bad. I hope AA doing well since to me they are OK company and it is big in Philadelphia. They may not do correctly about this matter but not their fault 100%. In addition, I don’t want to see US Airlines not doing well or go under not good for consumers or our economy.

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