We’ve written extensively here at OMAAT about American’s Business Extra program, which is their business rewards program. The program is really easy to use, and even small businesses can sign-up for it (you need to register at least two people, and there is no minimum spend requirement), and it allows you to double dip rewards.
The basics of American Business Extra
Business Extra is separate from American AAdvantage, and you can earn one point for ever $5 spent on airfare (for you and any of your employees).
You can choose from a variety of rewards, with the most popular probably being a BXP1, which is a one-way upgrade within North America. One of those costs 650 points, meaning that $3,250 of spend on American scores you an upgrade (though there are fare class restrictions and capacity controls).
I appreciate these certificates for confirming upgrades on routes where I don’t think I’d otherwise clear as an Executive Platinum member (though unfortunately confirmable upgrade space isn’t as readily available as it used to be).
Other popular awards you can redeem for including AAdvantage Gold status, an Admirals Club membership, and award tickets.
Business Extra has been improving
While I feel like most things related to airline loyalty have gotten worse over the past couple of years, American’s Business Extra program has gotten better.
For example, it used to be that Business Extra rewards were only issued as paper vouchers, though a bit over a year ago they started being issued electronically, which made the process more seamless.
Even though the certificates started being issued electronically, they could still only be redeemed by phone. You’d have to phone up a special department and read them the authorization codes.
I guess that’s not too surprising, since even American’s process for redeeming systemwide upgrades is a pain — you have to phone up American to redeem them.
Business Extra rewards can now be redeemed online
Here’s some great news. American Business Extra rewards can now be redeemed online, meaning that you can use Business Extra certificates to book award tickets or to upgrade tickets directly through businessextra.com.
To do this, just log into your account, and then on the top right of the page click on “Book Award Travel.” From there you’ll be able to go through the booking process.
If you’re looking to upgrade an existing reservation (which is my preferred use of Business Extra points), click on the “Business Extra Upgrade” tab, and enter your first and last name, as well as record locator.
If there’s confirmable upgrade availability and you’ve met the fare requirements, you’ll immediately be able to apply that upgrade. If there’s not confirmable space then there’s no option to waitlist online, but rather it will simply state that it’s not available.
The process of booking Business Extra awards is even easier, and all of the pricing options are clearly listed. To ticket you just need to enter the authorization code.
The Business Extra program is a gem of American Airlines, and it’s a program I love participating in. I’m happy to see that they’re making even further improvements to the program, and are now making it easy to book online.
If anything, I’m a bit suspicious that they’re improving so many things without devaluing anything, because doing so seems very…. un-American.
I will say that the department at American that processes Business Extra certificates has among the friendliest phone agents at the airline, so I didn’t mind calling that much.
Here’s to hoping that American soon brings the functionality to upgrade with miles and systemwide upgrades to aa.com.
(Tip of the hat to JT Genter)