American Airlines is revamping its corporate loyalty program for small businesses, closing Business Extra, and launching a streamlined replacement, branded AAdvantage Business.
The existing Business Extra program stopped accepting new members on Monday, and its benefits will be discontinued by January 31, 2024. In its place, American Airlines has introduced AAdvantage Business, tied to its broader AAdvantage frequent flyer program, and promising a more straightforward rewards structure and a quicker path to elite status for individual employees. However, it may be less generous to some businesses themselves.
The AAdvantage Business program is open to small businesses in the U.S. and Canada with a minimum of five employees.
Eligible business travel booked directly with American Airlines—either through the carrier’s website, app, or the American Reservations or Meeting Services desks—earns the business AAdvantage miles at one mile for every $1 spent.
The company can redeem those Advantage miles when booking employees’ travel itineraries, including flights, car rentals, and access to Admirals Club lounges.
Moreover, the same $1 also earns the individual employee 1 Loyalty Point, counting toward their overall status within the AAdvantage program. Travelers with elite AAdvantage status access perks like mileage bonuses, upgrades, and free checked bags for business and personal travel.
In contrast, the Business Extra program doled out points in a separate currency, which businesses had to convert into miles to redeem.
Scott Laurence, American Airlines Senior Vice President of Partnerships, said the new Business Advantage scheme rewards the business and the individual employee traveling, a “win-win” that “no one else offers.”
“We’ve designed a simple program that goes above and beyond in delivering rewards and tools that benefit everyone,” he said.
Businesses using the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard earn an accelerated rate of two miles per $1 spent on airfare, while employees will earn an additional loyalty point toward their AAdvantage status.
Businesses can also earn AAdvantage miles for other business purchases made on the card, including double miles for money spent on telecommunications, car rentals, and gasoline.
For a limited time, businesses signing up for the card can earn a bonus of 75,000 Advantage miles if they spend $6,000 within the first six months of opening the card.
Pam Habner, CEO of U.S. Branded Cards and Lending at Citi, said: “The CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Card is making our customers’ day-to-day business operations all the more rewarding, whether they’re purchasing everyday essentials or booking upcoming business travel.”
There’s no minimum spending requirement to enroll in AAdvantage Business and earn miles and points. However, to redeem those miles, the business needs to either have a CitiBusiness AAdvantage partnership credit card or five unique travelers who have credited at least $5,000 flight revenue to the company’s AAdvantage Business account.
AAdvantage Business is currently open only to companies in the U.S. and Canada, although it will eventually expand to firms in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Business Extra had a more global reach, including companies in the United Kingdom and Spain. Those businesses are being redirected to local partner airlines.
American Airlines has already started winding down the Business Extra program. Businesses that switch to AAdvantage Business will immediately stop earning Business Extra points in favor of AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points.
Business Extra will be officially discontinued on December 15, 2023, although businesses have six more weeks to redeem their Business Extra points. If companies don’t want to redeem those points directly, they can convert them into AAdvantage miles at 1:6 or donate them to charity.