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Wut? Attempting to Make Sense of the AAdvantage Business Program

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Photo courtesy of American Airlines.

AAdvantage Business Program

I just can’t quit you, Loyalty Points.  Recently, I described why I’m back in for another American Airlines status chase even after I previously swore it off for a year.  I continue loving the fun of easily amassing more Loyalty Points and the redeemable miles that come along the way.  Not coincidentally, I picked up the Citi Business AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard a couple months ago.  Little did I know, this step led to my accidental fall into the AAdvantage Business Program AAbyss.  Now that I’m in this situation, what do I make of it?  But first, here’s why I even care.

Um, Okay…

I’m a little over two months into my latest Citi Business AA Mastercard, and things have been going swimmingly – until recently.  The Loyalty Points had been posting to my AAdvantage account, and my paper statements confirmed I’d earned redeemable miles and the signup bonus.

After my second statement, I finally took the time and noticed the redeemable miles hadn’t been added to my AAdvantage account.  I then hearkened back to the AAdvantage Business Program announcement which I had zero interest in at the time.

Back to present day.  “Gee, maybe I should click on that annoying business account button after logging into my American Airlines account,” I thought.  I did so, had to log in again, and I tracked to the AAdvantage Business Program site.  Yay – more crap I need to learn about even though I don’t want to.

Anyway, the good news is I saw my redeemable miles there.  My first instinct was to get my miles out of there and into my traditional AAdvantage account ASAP.  But, unsurprisingly, the AAdvantage Business Program site is full of corporate business-speak which means nothing to me and many of you.  This junk is everywhere, so don’t let it sidetrack you.

So let’s keep it simple.  What should I and many of you care about?

AAdvantage Business Program Highlights

Setting the drivel aside, the AAdvantage Business Program affects many AA fans in a few primary ways.  First off, as I experienced, Citi is now automatically enrolling new Business AA cardholders in this program.  American has announced existing cardholders are transitioning to the AAdvantage Business Program in the future, but I understand that hasn’t happened yet for many.

While redeemable miles from Business AA card spend and flights booked as business travel are placed in the AAdvantage Business account, Loyalty Points still track to an individual’s main AAdvantage account (presuming the business meets certain threshold(s) – more on that later).  I couldn’t find any way to redeem miles to book airfare directly on the Business site.  The easiest/only way I’ve found to get miles out of the business account is by transferring miles to traditional AA accounts.

AAdvantage Business Program

Transferring Miles

The biggest thing the AAdvantage Business Program gets right is that the Transfer Miles option is large and clear at the top of the page once a member logs in.  By opening my Citi AA Business card, the program automatically assigned me as a travel manager.  When I clicked Transfer Miles, I entered my name, and the field autopopulated.  I entered the desired amount of miles for transfer and submitted.  In my experience, the miles instantly arrived in my traditional AAdvantage account.  Heads up, my attempts to transfer at night resulted in errors, oddly.  Daytime transfers sailed through without issue.

What about transferring to others?  Members can freely add a traveler to their business account by simply entering their email address associated with their Advantage account or simply sharing weblink.  In my test, the other member received an email and simply clicked Register Now within.  I was subsequently able to transfer miles to that individual’s AAdvantage account similar to above.

A Nice Positive, A Large Negative

The AAdvantage Business Program has essentially made miles originating from that account more transferrable to others, including those from a signup bonus and ongoing spend.  This mechanism is even more attractive since American doesn’t currently participate in any of the major transferrable bank point currencies from Amex, Chase, or Citi.  (Sorry, I don’t count Bilt.)

But there’s a glaring negative with the AAdvantage Business Program.  There are barriers to accessing these miles.  Here are the terms from the FAQ:

To access your company’s miles, your account must maintain a minimum threshold of travel activity:

  • $5,000 USD in eligible program flown revenue, and
  • 5 registered, active business travelers

Qualification is reviewed on a rolling 12-month basis, and access to your miles balance is updated each month.

Your travelers will only earn additional Loyalty Points on company travel once your account has met the minimum activity threshold. Qualification for Loyalty Point earn is tied directly to your account’s activity status.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® cardholders are waived from this threshold requirement and will receive and maintain immediate access to all accrued miles for the business. AAdvantage Business™ travelers will earn program Loyalty Points on all eligible travel, regardless of account activity.

AAdvantage Business Program


I’m only scraping the surface with the AAdvantage Business Program in this article.  Everyone holding a business relationship with AA, particularly business cardholders, should become familiar with the program.

Holding the Citi AA Business card is an easy way to gain access to these miles, but individuals are essentially stuck holding the card if they want to leave miles in the account and won’t otherwise meet the access threshold.  For what it’s worth, I’m transferring these miles out ASAP after they hit the business account.  Undoubtedly, the ease of transferring to others is a solid addition.  Meanwhile, I must put up with the necessary evil of transferring out of the business account after Citi Business AA card spend.  This is an extra step for many trying to realize the value of such AA miles.  That seems like a nice benefit for AA – the extra step and access thresholds will likely lead to more breakage and unused miles.  I’m confident others feel the same.

Do you hold an AAdvantage Business Program account?  What are your thoughts so far?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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  1. I am actually relieved to find out my AA account is NOT linked to a Business account. Sounds like a complete mess. I have spent untold money over the years on my AA business card, but, after reading what happened with your miles being involuntarily placed in the business account, I think I better cancel my CITI AA business card just in case.

    • docntx,
      Maybe you have other reasons for cancelling your card. But in my view, the existence of this AAdvantage Business account alone isn’t reason enough to cancel.

    • Doesn’t have the be the same. But if it is different, before you can send an invite, you have to first confirm the domain (quick email verification.)


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