American Airlines introduced strict spending requirements two years ago on its once-generous Business Extra program. Now, the airline plans to retire Business Extra as it introduces AAdvantage Business, a new loyalty program for eligible small businesses.
Most airline business programs only reward the business with extra rewards, but this program will give extra rewards to both the business and the traveler. That said, the program won’t offer the same customizability as the old Business Extra program.
Here’s what you need to know about AAdvantage Business.
How AAdvantage Business works
If you have a business in the U.S. or Canada with a Federal Employer Identification Number, you can register to AAdvantage Business with no minimum spending requirement here. However, in order to access the full complement of perks in the program, you must either:
- Spend $5,000 in eligible program flown revenue plus have five registered, active business travelers; or
- Apply (and get approved) for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® on or after Oct. 16, 2023.
If you fulfill the first requirement, you can earn 1 AAdvantage mile for every dollar spent on eligible business travel, while new CitiBusiness AAdvantage cardholders can earn the business an additional 2 AAdvantage miles for these purchases when charged to the card. To be clear, with the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card, the business gets 2 miles. So it’s a total of 1 mile from the program and 2 miles from the card, making for a total of 3 miles per dollar for the business.
Additionally, for that same dollar spent, eligible individual travelers earn 1 Loyalty Point that counts toward their accrual for earning status as an AAdvantage member. These Loyalty Points are in addition to any miles or Loyalty Points the traveler earns as an AAdvantage member. Again, the traveler gets an extra Loyalty Points for the program and an extra Loyalty Points for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card making for 2 extra Loyalty Points.
To earn miles with the AAdvantage Business program, you must book directly through American (i.e., aa.com, the app or AA reservations) and add your company’s AAdvantage Business number when booking.
The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The business’ miles can be transferred to individual travelers and redeemed like any other AAdvantage miles.
Earnings for the business and traveler
AAdvantage Business has a fairly clear earning structure, that allows you to earn redeemable AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points that help you qualify for elite status.
As a general AAdvantage member, you earn 5 Loyalty Points and miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines flights (AAdvantage Gold status earns 7 per dollar, AAdvantage Platinum status earns 8 per dollar, AAdvantage Platinum Pro status earns 9 per dollar and AAdvantage Executive Platinum status earns 11 per dollar).
With an AAdvantage Business account, those accruals increase by 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent for the traveler. Additionally, the business earns 1 mile per dollar for the traveler’s flights.
However, if you charge those flights to the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card, the business earns 2 miles per dollar while the traveler earns an extra Loyalty Point per dollar. These accruals are in addition to the standard 2 miles per dollar (and 1 Loyalty Point per dollar) spent on eligible American Airlines purchases you receive with the card.
As noted above, businesses must have a minimum of five registered travelers and spend $5,000 on American Airlines flights over 12 months to redeem their miles. Qualification is reviewed on a rolling 12-month basis. Also, business travelers will only earn program Loyalty Points on company travel once their account has met the minimum activity threshold. However, these requirements are waived for CitiBusiness AAdvantage cardmembers who opened cards on or after Oct. 16, 2023.
If you opened your card prior to that date, this waiver doesn’t apply, per a spokesperson from American:
The existing card members are welcome to join AAdvantage Business, but will be treated as normal program members upon enrollment until their card benefits are updated. More details on these changes coming soon to the cardholders.
Related: Best uses of American Airlines miles
Transitioning away from Business Extra
As previously mentioned, American will be replacing Business Extra with AAdvantage Business. The official retirement date for Business Extra is Dec. 15, 2023, and you must redeem all Business Extra points by Jan. 31, 2024. After Dec. 15, you can convert Business Extra points to AAdvantage miles at a 1:6 ratio.
You’ll immediately stop earning points with Business Extra when you sign up for AAdvantage Business.
Unfortunately, this means that some popular Business Extra redemptions are no more, including the following:
- Using 650 points for a confirmed one-segment upgrade valid within North America, including Hawaii and the Caribbean
- Using 3,200 points for AAdvantage Gold status
With an extra mile per dollar spent on employee travel, AAdvantage Business effectively provides a 1.5% return in miles based on our latest data-backed valuation of American miles. The traveler also earns an extra Loyalty Point.
These accruals are a welcome modest bonus. However, the changes are unlikely to pique the interest of businesses looking to maximize American Airlines, as there’s no question that AAdvantage Business doesn’t provide the same level of customizability as Business Extra.
Instead, by aligning the program closely with American’s two existing currencies (redeemable AAdvantage miles and elite-qualifying Loyalty Points), the airline is aiming to simplify its approach to engaging small businesses. Unfortunately, those who frequently maximize their rewards with Business Extra may find this new approach to be a negative switch.
If you have Business Extra points, remember to redeem them or convert into AAdvantage miles by Jan. 31, 2024.