Guide To American Airlines Business Extra Program

Guide To American Airlines Business Extra Program

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In this post I wanted to take an in-depth look at American Airlines’ Business Extra rewards program. If you fly American Airlines with any frequency, this program should be on your radar.

What is the American Business Extra program?

For those of you not familiar, Business Extra is American Airlines’ free small business rewards program. This is run in addition to AAdvantage, meaning you can double dip — individual employees can earn AAdvantage miles for their travel, while the company can earn Business Extra points for those trips.

The intent of the program is to encourage businesses to book American Airlines, by offering some centralized rewards for travel, which can be redeemed for anyone (company owners or employees). The rewards can be quite lucrative, as Business Extra points can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades, elite status, Admirals Club memberships, and more.

American Business Extra offers rewards for travel

Who is eligible for the American Business Extra program?

Most businesses (particularly small and mid-sized businesses) are eligible for a Business Extra account. However, do note that some restrictions were recently added:

  • New members will need to have three unique travelers on their account, and will need to maintain $5,000 in Business Extra flight activity during the previous 12-month period in order to redeem points
  • This policy takes immediate effect for those who joined the program on October 4, 2021, or later; for existing members these changes go into effect as of January 1, 2023

In order to enroll in Business Extra, you need to have a company that doesn’t have a corporate sales agreement, discount, or other agreement with American Airlines. Travel agencies, wholesalers, consolidators, and other sellers or re-sellers of travel can’t be part of the program. Not all of those employees need to travel on American to qualify, though.

There are also some geographical limitations — you need to have a company in the United States, Canada, Anguilla, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Hong Kong, Mexico, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, or South Korea.

Most businesses are eligible for American Business Extra

How do you sign-up for American’s Business Extra program?

The process of signing up for the Business Extra program is easy. You’ll be asked some basic details about your company, including your business name, business website, tax ID, and address (though you don’t actually have to enter a tax ID).

You’ll also be asked who is going to manage the account, including that person’s AAdvantage number, so that their details can be used to log into the account.

How can you earn American Business Extra points?

As a Business Extra member, you’ll earn one Business Extra point for every $5 spent on eligible airfare. There are several things to note:

  • Points typically post within two to three days of an eligible flight
  • In order to be eligible, the flight needs to be ticketed by American Airlines, and can include travel on American, British Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines, and select flights operated by Finnair and Qantas
  • Taxes and fees don’t count towards ticket totals, though carrier imposed surcharges do; in other words, a $1,000 ticket (pre-tax) would earn you 200 Business Extra points
  • Business Extra points expire two calendar years after they’re earned; in other words, rewards earned any time in 2021 would expire on December 31, 2023

The Business Extra account is centrally credited for flights taken by any employees (those who add the Business Extra number to their reservation). So rewards aren’t accrued by the individual travelers, but rather by the company as such. To make sure your Business Extra account is credited for travel, be sure you add your Business Extra number either to your AAdvantage account or to your individual reservation.

If you want to add a Business Extra number to your AAdvantage account, just log into your account and go to the “reservation preferences” section, where you’ll see the option to enter your Business Extra number. If you do this, it should automatically be saved going forward.

As an alternative, when you go to make a reservation, you’ll see an option during the booking process to enter your Business Extra number, in the “promo codes and accounts” section.

How can you redeem American Business Extra points?

There are a variety of ways to redeem Business Extra points, and let me once again emphasize that this is completely separate from the American AAdvantage program. You can redeem Business Extra points for everything from upgrades, to free flights, to lounge access, to free status, and much more.

What’s awesome is that all of these redemptions can be for virtually anyone — you don’t have to redeem them for yourself, but rather can use them as gifts for others (including employees). In no particular order, let’s go over some of the redemption options.

Convert Business Extra points into AAdvantage miles

You can convert Business Extra points into American AAdvantage miles at a 1:6 ratio, and it could take up to three business days for the redemption to be processed.

In other words, the Business Extra program offers an additional 1.2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent, if you choose to redeem this way. This is a useful option to have, though personally it’s not my favorite use of Business Extra points.

Redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on partner airlines

Redeem Business Extra points for AAdvantage status

Business Extra points can be redeemed for elite status:

  • Redeem 3,200 Business Extra points for AAdvantage Gold status
  • Redeem 6,600 Business Extra points for AAdvantage Platinum status

Status has become significantly less valuable over the years, so personally this isn’t how I’d choose to redeem, though others may like these options.

Assign Main Cabin Extra seats as an AAdvantage Platinum member

Redeem Business Extra points for Admirals Club access

If you’re looking to access American Admirals Clubs, you can redeem Business Extra points for that:

  • Redeem 300 Business Extra points for a one-day Admirals Club pass
  • Redeem 3,300 Business Extra points for an annual Admirals Club membership
Get an Admirals Club membership with Business Extra points

Redeem Business Extra points for free flights

You can redeem Business Extra points for all kinds of flight awards. Flight awards fall into three categories:

  • PlanAhead awards are valid for roundtrip travel on American Airlines, and have limited availability and blackout dates; there are change fees once ticketed, and awards start at 2,000 Business Extra points
  • Anytime awards are valid for roundtrip travel on American Airlines, and have last seat availability and no blackout dates; there are no change fees once ticketed, and awards start at 5,000 Business Extra points
  • Partner awards are valid for roundtrip travel on British Airways, Iberia, and Japan Airlines, and have limited availability and blackout dates; awards start at 3,000 Business Extra points

When you redeem this way, you’re not directly booking a specific itinerary, but rather you’re redeeming Business Extra points for an electronic certificate that you can then redeem at a later point, up to a year from when the certificate was issued.

Then when you want to redeem, you can do so either through business.aa.com, or by calling the American Airlines Meeting Services number at 800.433.1790.

Book a Business Extra award online

You can find the cost of all awards here, though just to give you a sense of some pricing:

  • A PlanAhead award for a roundtrip domestic non-transcontinental flight costs 2,000 points in economy or 3,200 points in business class
  • An Anytime award for a roundtrip flight between the United States and Europe costs 11,000 points in economy or 18,000 points in business class
  • A Partner award for a roundtrip flight between the United States and Europe costs 6,000 points in economy, 9,000 points in premium economy, or 14,000 points in business class
Redeem Business Extra points for partner flight awards

Redeem Business Extra points for upgrades

You can redeem Business Extra points for upgrades, and personally this is my favorite redemption option. There are three upgrade options:

  • A one-segment upgrade within North America (including Hawaii and the Caribbean) costs 650 Business Extra points
  • A one-segment upgrade between North America and a long haul destination on a full fare ticket costs 1,200 Business Extra points
  • A one-segment upgrade between North America and a long haul destination on a discounted fare costs 3,100 Business Extra points

Much like with flight awards, when you redeem this way, you’re not directly redeeming for a specific upgrade, but rather you’re redeeming Business Extra points for an electronic certificate that you can then redeem at a later point for an upgrade, up to a year from when the certificate was issued.

Then when you want to redeem, you can do so either through business.aa.com, or by calling the American Airlines Meeting Services number at 800.433.1790.

In my opinion being able to redeem 650 Business Extra points for a one segment upgrade is by far the best deal. There are a few further restrictions to be aware of:

  • The upgrade can only be redeemed for a flight booked in G class or higher (N, Q, O, S, and B fares are not eligible)
  • There must be confirmable upgrade space in order to confirm the upgrade; this is the same upgrade space you’d need if redeeming systemwide upgrades or miles
  • You can use Business Extra certificates for an upgrade from economy to business class, or for an upgrade from business to first class (including on American’s A321Ts between New York and Los Angeles)
Redeem Business Extra points for upgrades

How I use the Business Extra program

I’ve been a member of Business Extra for a long time, and personally it’s a program I’ve gotten considerable value out of. Personally I redeem Business Extra points in only one way — I consistently redeem them for one-segment upgrades within North America, which costs 650 Business Extra points.

Since you earn one Business Extra point for every $5 spent, I essentially earn a one-way upgrade for every $3,250 spent on American (and keep in mind, this is in addition to AAdvantage). Why is this my preferred option?

  • I find that this is useful for upgrading flights where I don’t think my complimentary upgrade (as an Executive Platinum member) will clear
  • This is also great for upgrading from business class to first class, whether on the A321T between New York and Los Angeles, or the 777-300ER between Miami and Los Angeles
  • While there are fare class exclusions with these certificates, often the cheapest fare available for a particular date is eligible for this, or in other cases the price premium is limited

Business Extra really helps me stay out of economy on flights where complimentary upgrades are unlikely to clear. And that’s why I always redeem that way. Unfortunately this isn’t quite as useful as it was back in the day, as American’s confirmable upgrade availability is harder to come by.

Redeem Business Extra points for upgrades to first class

Bottom line

Business Extra is American Airlines’ small business rewards program. The program offers Business Extra points for the company when any employee adds a Business Extra number to their reservation, and those points can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades, lounge access, elite status, or AAdvantage miles.

If you’re eligible, the Business Extra program is awesome, and there’s no reason not to join — you’ll be able to double dip, earning rewards above and beyond the AAdvantage program, which is pretty awesome.

Personally I love being able to redeem Business Extra points for one-segment upgrade certificates in North America, which can come in handy if upgrades wouldn’t otherwise clear.

If you’re an American Business Extra member, what has your experience been?

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  1. Darlene

    How do you add other people to your Business Extra account online?

Featured Comments Load all 2 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Darlene

How do you add other people to your Business Extra account online?

Cind

Great article.

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