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How to Access American Airlines’ Business Extra Program

How to Access American Airlines’ Business Extra Program
Caroline Lupini

The American Airlines Business Extra program allows businesses to collect rewards for flights on American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia, in addition to the miles travelers earn in their own frequent flier accounts.

Eligibility

To qualify for a Business Extra account, you must have a business with at least two employees that travel on American Airlines or a participating airline partner. Travel agencies and companies who have corporate booking agreements with any of the participating airlines.

During the registration process, you’ll be prompted to provide a company name, address, and website, as well as the name, phone number, and AAdvantage number of a travel manager (they’ll use their existing AAdvantage credentials to sign in).

Earning Points

Participating businesses will earn 1 Business Extra point for every $5 spent on eligible flights. This includes paid flights on American; paid flights on British Airways or Iberia, as long as the ticket is issued by American, British Airways, or Iberia; and codeshare flights operated by Finnair, Japan Airlines, or Qantas if they have an American flight number and the ticket is issued by American.

When booking tickets through the AA website, you’ll see a field for your Business Extra account number at the beginning of the booking process. You can also submit a manual flight credit request online for flights taken in the past 12 months, as long as they were after you opened your Business Extra account; you’ll need the airline, ticket number, originating city, flight date, and passenger name.

Redeeming Points

Business Extra points can be redeemed for flights, upgrade certificates, AAdvantage Gold status, and Admirals Club access. Here’s a few sample award options (all prices roundtrip – no discount for one way awards):

Saver (“Plan AAhead”) Economy Awards

  • 1,400 points for Shuttle (Boston/LaGuardia/Washington Reagan)
  • 2,000 points: intra-North America (U.S. excluding Hawaii, Canada, Mexico)
  • 2,400 points: North America to the Caribbean
  • 3,000 points: mainland US to Hawaii
  • 4,400 points: Europe, Asia, South America Zone 2

Saver (“Plan AAhead”) Business Class Awards

  • 2,200 points: Shuttle
  • 3,200 points: intra-North America (excluding premium transcon)
  • 5,400 points: Transcon, Hawaii, Central America, South America Zone 1
  • 7,200 points: Europe, Asia, South America Zone 2

Saver (“Plan AAhead”) First Class Awards

  • 7,200 points: Transcon
  • 10,000 points: Europe, Asia, South America Zone 2

Anytime awards are available for 2.5x the Plan AAhead price (so a domestic economy flight is 5,000 points and a transatlantic First Class award is 25,000 points.

Award flights are also available on Iberia and British Airways, but the rates are comparatively quite steep – for example, business class to Europe is 14,000 points (nearly double the cost of an AA award), and intra-Europe flights are 3,000 points regardless of distance.

Upgrades (for American flights only)

  • 650 points to upgrade a single domestic segment (excludes B, N, O, Q, and S fares)
  • 1,200 points to upgrade a full-fare, one-way international flight
  • 3,100 points to upgrade a discounted one-way international flight (excludes B, N, O, Q, and S fares)

Miscellaneous

  • 300 points for an Admirals Club day pass
  • 3,300 points for an Admirals Club membership
  • 3,200 points for AAdvantage Gold status (redeem in July to get status for 1.5 years – redemptions in the first half of the year are only good through the following January)

Points Expiration

Points expire on December 31 two calendar years after they are earned, regardless of other account activity. So make sure you spend them!

Booking Business Extra Awards

Business Extra now allows you to book award tickets online (previously you had to book over the phone). From the Business Extra website, click “Book Award Travel.”

Then click Continue to be taken to AA’s corporate booking tool.

Make sure ‘Business Extra Awards’ is selected in the upper right, then enter your search details as usual.

Like booking flights with AAdvantage miles, you’ll be given a flexible date search result screen that lets you select between different award types. Note that all prices are round trip.

Once you select your dates, you’ll get a series of flight options to select from.

The system will let you combine Main Cabin and Business/First Class fares, but you won’t get any discount (you’ll pay the higher First Class fare for the entire trip). You can’t combine a Saver and an Anytime award, but since they’d again charge you the higher Anytime price for the whole trip, there’s really no reason to do that.

From there, it’s just like booking any other ticket – enter the traveler’s details, select seats (yes, you’ll still have to pay extra for preferred or Main Cabin Extra seating if you don’t have elite status), and provide a credit card for payment.

The system doesn’t give you specifics about what is included in the cash portion of the fare (it just says “approx. tax recovery charge and services”), but it looks like the same amount you’d pay for an AAdvantage Award ticket.

Bottom Line

While Business Extra’s award prices look ridiculously low, at 1 point per $5 spent it takes a lot of spending to accrue enough points to score a redemption. However, if you have a business whose employees fly American on a regular basis, it’s definitely worth signing up – there’s no downside, and if all else fails you can at least score a couple of Admirals Club day passes!

 

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. edgewood49

    May 11, 2019 at 10:08 am

    This program is more smoke and mirrors, you have to book your partner airline ticket on AA site you will be paying the upper reaches of each class in fare, if one goes to the individual airline’s site looks up a fare then goes back to the “business extra” and follows the prompts compare it’s higher. All airlines do this. If your that stuck on American then Air Pass is a far better option and actually gives you something. We have in the pass and it worked great, disclaimer it was before Dougie took over American and created America West 2.0 .

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