Home Airline Loyalty American Airlines AAdvantage I'm amazed that American Airlines honored last week's points sale error

I’m amazed that American Airlines honored last week’s points sale error


Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.


Last Friday, American Airlines launched yet another points sale which, on the face of things, looked very similar to a lot of the other points sales that we usually see it running. The sale was offering up to 35% off the regular cost of miles and should have priced American’s currency at over 2 cents per mile. But it didn’t. It priced it far lower.

The American Airlines points sale that I’m referring to is still running and if you head over to the sale page and price up the cost of buying between 100,000 and 150,000 miles (the band in which a 35% discount is being offered), you’ll find that the cost per mile comes to just under 2.1 cents.

That’s a vastly inflated price to pay for American’s currency and it’s why the sale hasn’t appeared here on Traveling For Miles – a sensible person would have to be desperate to pay that much for AAdvantage Miles.

Fortunately for me, I happened to head over to One Mile at a Time shortly after the sale started to get some publicity, and saw that Ben had noticed that there was an error in how the sale page was calculating the cost of miles. Within the 35% discount band, instead of offering miles at 35% off the regular price, American Airlines was selling miles at a discount of almost 58%.

What appears to have happened is that rather than discounting the regular cost of miles by 35%, the system took 35% off a price that had already been discounted by 35%. Someone probably got into trouble for that!

I’m not normally a buyer of American Airlines miles, but when they’re erroneously on offer at 1.36 cents each and I know that I can use them to book the Qatar Airways and Etihad Business Class cabins that I’m hoping to fly next year, I’m happy to try my luck.

Despite the fact that I was already running late to meet Joanna (something I subsequently got into trouble for!) I processed a purchase for the full 150,000 miles for my account…

…and immediately tried to do the same thing using Joanna’s account.

The first transaction went through while the second was declined but still appeared as a pending charge in my Amex account (I used my Platinum Card® from American Express to make the purchase) before disappearing a few days later.

Normally, a purchase of American Airlines miles processes within minutes (even though the terms and conditions suggest that the miles may not appear in a member’s account for up to 8 hours) but as I kept refreshing my account as I hurried to meet Joanna, no miles showed up.

After about 5 hours had passed and there was still no sign of any new miles in my AAdvantage account, I began to suspect that the transaction wouldn’t go through. American had already spotted the mistake a few hours earlier and its website was now pricing the sale correctly so I assumed that I was going to be out of luck.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t have had any issue with the airline had the transaction been declined or reversed as I knew that the price I was paying was wrong and that I was taking advantage of a system error but, a little under 6 hours after I had inputted my credit card details, an email dropped into my account confirming that the miles had posted.

Moments later I checked my account and all 150,000 miles were there.

I was amazed and I’ve been waiting all week to receive an email from American to tell me that they’ve clawed back the miles and refunded the cost, but no email has been forthcoming.

I guess that there’s still a chance that American will come looking for the miles that it sold at an overly discounted rate but as it has been a week since the error was published and as American obviously knows about the error (that’s why the error was corrected), I suspect that the airline has decided to let things lie.

I have no idea how many people dived in to pick up some AAdvantage Miles at a bargain-basement rate while the error was yet to be corrected (recent rumors of an impending devaluation probably put a few people off) but considering how well-publicized the error was, quite a few people probably did very well out of this.

Yes, all of us who just loaded up on cheap AAdvantage Miles now have to worry about a devaluation hitting before we get a chance to book any trips (I’ve booked one trip already), but anyone buying miles should know the risks before they part with their money so that’s all just part of the game 🙂

Did you make the most of the American Airlines points sale error? Did you deliberately sit it out? Or were you oblivious to the whole thing?

A Favourite Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is Chase’s incredibly popular entry-level travel rewards card which has recently been refreshed and made better than ever.

It currently comes with a welcome offer of 60,000 points after a successful applicant spends $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership and it charges an annual fee of $95 in return for a list of good earning rates and benefits.

Our Favorite Benefits:

  • 5 points/dollar on most travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5 points/dollar on Lyft rides through 22 March 2022
  • 3 points/dollar for spending on dining worldwide
  • 3 points/dollar for spending on select streaming services
  • 2 points/dollar for spending on travel worldwide
  • Redeem points at 1.25 cents each when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual $50 credit for hotels booked through Chase 
  • Primary auto rental cover
  • Trip delay reimbursement

Click for more details on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Regarding Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser or any other advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility or any other advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 COMMENTS

    • I’ve no doubt that AA is making a killing on points sales but I don’t think this was intentional. Firstly, if this was intentional the “error” would have been around for longer. Secondly, giving customers the idea that miles are only worth 1.36 cents isn’t in the airline’s interest.

  1. AA knows that their miles will be worth less than sh*t in a few weeks when they drop the next AAdvantage “enhancements”. They’ve already got people’s money, why refund it?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Credit Card News & Offers

Deals

Miles & Points On Sale

Air Fare Deals

Related Posts

BoardingArea