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Business Extra is the American Airlines loyalty program for SMEs that rewards businesses for booking employee travel with the airline while employees still earn AAdvantage Miles and elite status credits in the usual way. It’s a nice win-win situation for businesses and employees alike and the program has just introduced a couple of temporary measures to help businesses out in the current crisis. One measure, in particular, is great.
The Business Extra program has been emailing members overnight to inform them of two temporary changes it is making to encourage future flight bookings:
- Complimentary Award Reinstatement
- Complimentary One-Time Ticket Transfer
Both are potentially very useful but it’s the latter that I like the most.
Business Extra Award Reinstatement
Program members who have cased in their points for select Business Extra awards which have yet to be redeemed can have those points reinstated at no cost through 31 May 2020. Ordinarily, points that have been redeemed but not yet processed can be reinstated online within 5 days of redemption without incurring a fee but, after 5 days, reinstatement fees of $150 USD for the first certificate and $25 for each additional (within the same transaction) apply.
Awards that can be reinstated at no cost include:
- Unused upgrades and reservations that have been ticketed
- Unredeemed AAdvanatge® Gold status
- Unredeemed Admirals Club® memberships*
*Complimentary award reinstatement does not apply to Admirals Club one-day passes.
Business Extra members who wish to reinstate the points from one or more of these awards should call Business Extra Customer Services.
Business Extra One-Time Ticket Transfer
Here’s what the Business Extra email says:
Business Extra members can transfer unused tickets to another traveler on flights purchased through May 31, 2020 with a one-time fee waiver during the validity of the ticket.
Qualifying tickets must contain a valid Business Extra account number in the reservation. This waiver can be combined with any other qualifying waivers and does not require a waiver code. To process your one-time complimentary ticket transfer, please contact your travel agency or American Airlines Meeting Services at 800-433-1790.
The email doesn’t include any terms and conditions for this one-time transfer so I’m left to assume that as long as the original booking contains a Business Extra number, it can be transferred to any other individual.
These are two very nice concessions from the Business Extra program but the ability to transfer a flight booking to another person without penalty (albeit one-time only) is clearly the biggest bonus of the two.
It makes sense for the Business Extra program to allow members to get their points on unused awards because, essentially, that’s what American Airlines is allowing AAdvantage members to do with their miles. This temporary enhancement makes it a lot “safer” for members to redeem their Business Extra points before 31 May 2020 as the program is guaranteeing that the points can be reinstated without penalty at a future date if the award isn’t used.
The complimentary one-time ticket transfer is a great idea and it’s something I’ve long wished we could do with all our bookings (yes, I understand why we can’t). With so much business travel in limbo and with businesses often not in a position to know who will and will not be able to travel in the future, being able to book a flight for employee “X” before 31 May and then changing that reservation to employee “Y” at a later date (should employee X not be able to travel) will give businesses a little more flexibility that they’re likely to appreciate. It’s also likely to make some SMEs book a trip that they may not have otherwise booked.
I cannot see any of this information published on the Business Extra website nor can I find it when I use the “newsroom” link in the email I’ve seen so I have inserted an image of the full email at the end of this post.
These are two nice moves from Business Extra that should go down well with program members, and it’s the ability to transfer a reservation over to another traveler that I like the most. From a personal point of view, this one-time enhancement is likely to see me making a booking (for 2021) that I would not have otherwise made so if American Airlines was hoping this would encourage more bookings, it’s probably mission accomplished.