American Airlines Business Extra Program Changes

American Airlines Business Extra Program Changes

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American Airlines has just revealed some changes to the Business Extra program. While the news is a mixed bag, on balance I’m kind of happy that the changes weren’t worse.

What is American Business Extra?

For those of you not familiar, Business Extra is American Airlines’ small business rewards program. This is run in addition to AAdvantage, meaning you can double dip — you can earn miles with AAdvantage and points with Business Extra for a given flight.

Through this program you earn two Business Extra points per $10 spent on eligible flights. While you’re not earning as many points as you do with AAdvantage, redemption rates are also much lower. The other cool thing is that you can credit points from multiple people to your Business Extra account, and over time rewards should nicely build up.

You can redeem your Business Extra points for all kinds of things, ranging from free flights, to upgrades, to nominating someone for AAdvantage status, to Admirals Club memberships. And that brings us to the changes.

Business Extra is American’s small business rewards program

New requirement for Business Extra account

In the past there has been no minimum activity to participate in the Business Extra program. That will finally be changing. In order to redeem points through a Business Extra account:

  • You’ll need to have three unique travelers on your account
  • You’ll need to maintain $5,000 in Business Extra flight activity during the previous 12-month period

This policy goes into immediate effect for those who joined the program on October 4, 2021, or later. Meanwhile for existing members these changes go into effect as of January 1, 2023.

The Business Extra program now has a minimum spending requirement

New Business Extra points redemption options

The American Business Extra program is introducing new ways to redeem Business Extra points. Specifically, the following three redemption options are being added:

  • You can now redeem 6,600 Business Extra points for AAdvantage Platinum status, in addition to being able to redeem 3,200 Business Extra points for AAdvantage Gold status (the latter was previously possible, while the former wasn’t)
  • You can now convert Business Extra points into AAdvantage miles at a 1:6 ratio, which wasn’t previously possible; in other words, the Business Extra program offers an additional 1.2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent, if you choose to redeem your points that way
  • You can now redeem Business Extra points for carbon offsets; in partnership with Cool Effect, 300 Business Extra points gets you one carbon emission tonnage offset

Existing redemption options won’t change. That includes being able to redeem for a BXP1 (a one-way confirmable upgrade with fare class restrictions) for 650 Business Extra points, which is a favorite redemption option for many.

You can now convert Business Extra points into AAdvantage miles

My take on these Business Extra changes

A few thoughts on these changes to the Business Extra program:

  • Given the general direction American is headed, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a major devaluation, so this could have been a lot worse, if you ask me
  • The new spending requirement to redeem points isn’t that unreasonable, and shouldn’t negatively impact those who are most engaged in the program; if you have AAdvantage elite status, chances are that you’ll reach that spending requirement among three people
  • The new Business Extra points redemption options are nice, including the ability to convert Business Extra points into AAdvantage miles, which wasn’t previously possible

Personally I don’t mind these changes, and I think I might even like them. Regardless, I think program changes could have been a lot worse.

Redeem Business Extra points for flight upgrades

Bottom line

Some changes are being made to American Airlines’ small business rewards program, Business Extra. A spending requirement is being added in order to redeem points, clearly intended to exclude those who aren’t very engaged in the program. While that’s a negative change, the good news is that there are now more ways to redeem Business Extra points, including being able to convert them into American AAdvantage miles.

What do you make of these changes to the American Business program?

Conversations (11)
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  1. Darlene

    I signed up for the program when you wrote a post about it. I am about to buy tickets for my husband and myself. How do I add him to my profile? And how do I get credit on the business side for his flight and mine? I’m used to only having my AA number associated with my flights and my husband’s number with his? Thanks in advance for answering my basic program questions.

    1. Lisa Hammond

      When purchasing your tickets there is a spot for adding your business extra number. Every ticket on the reservation will receive credit for the flights into your business extra account.

    2. Darlene

      Thanks, Lisa, for answering my question. It sounds like I don’t need to add my husband’s business number since he’s on the same reservation as me?

  2. GC

    Not too surprised considering Delta and United had more stringent requirements on their programmes. All things considered, this seems to be a pretty mild change for AA and I appreciate that they gave a cash-out option for those that know they won't hit the new minimums come next year. Might not be the best option but some miles are better than nothing and AA management could have easily stayed true to their roots and started...

    Not too surprised considering Delta and United had more stringent requirements on their programmes. All things considered, this seems to be a pretty mild change for AA and I appreciate that they gave a cash-out option for those that know they won't hit the new minimums come next year. Might not be the best option but some miles are better than nothing and AA management could have easily stayed true to their roots and started the mileage conversion right after the new rules kick in.

  3. Mourad Belkacem

    Ridiculously sub standard business class service compared to all European and world airlines. They use Covid restrictions to treat you like cattle! no more!

  4. WC

    For Sole Proprietor LLC who used this like I did, this is going to be a kick in the gut unless there is no issue with throwing all of your family members against this account to satisfy the request.

    I have used it successfully over the years to pay for annual Lounge access, but with retirement and less flying now using it as one off day passes to lounge. (This was also awesome until they...

    For Sole Proprietor LLC who used this like I did, this is going to be a kick in the gut unless there is no issue with throwing all of your family members against this account to satisfy the request.

    I have used it successfully over the years to pay for annual Lounge access, but with retirement and less flying now using it as one off day passes to lounge. (This was also awesome until they changed that you had to be flying them, and they simply do not exist within Canada - so forced into other carriers hands).

    Their direction overall is just pushing me into other carrier hands. Flew Air Canada this past week and the experience was amazing. New aircraft, phenomenal service on the ground and in the air, go figure an appetizing meal on flights of 2.5 hours. I felt like a human being again versus cattle call.

  5. Gary Davies

    If it is like Delta all 3 have to fly at least once.

  6. Barry Demchak

    How can I be too upset? This has been a generous program run by very nice people. Wishing them the best (though probably without me).

  7. Jeff Stratford-Jones

    I wonder as well regarding adding the other travelers

  8. Stan

    If three unique travelers are needed on an account, is there any requirement in terms of how much they need to travel at a minimum or do you just have to have 3 A advantage accounts listed in the business's profile?

  9. Tom

    I was excited to see the option about being able to convert points into miles...until I saw the exchange ratio which seems to essentially cut the value of the points in half should you opt for that method. I had expected/hoped to see an exchange ratio of at least 1:10.

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Darlene

Thanks, Lisa, for answering my question. It sounds like I don’t need to add my husband’s business number since he’s on the same reservation as me?

Lisa Hammond

When purchasing your tickets there is a spot for adding your business extra number. Every ticket on the reservation will receive credit for the flights into your business extra account.

Darlene

I signed up for the program when you wrote a post about it. I am about to buy tickets for my husband and myself. How do I add him to my profile? And how do I get credit on the business side for his flight and mine? I’m used to only having my AA number associated with my flights and my husband’s number with his? Thanks in advance for answering my basic program questions.

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