American Airlines Business Extra is a very nice loyalty/rewards program for small businesses with employees that fly on AA. A company that enrolls in Business Extra can earn points for each flight taken by its employees on AA, British Airways and Iberia. Those points can then be exchanged for certificates that are good for free flights, upgrades, AA Gold elite status, or even an Admirals Club membership.
In a nutshell – Each eligible flight earns 1 Business Extra point for each $5 spent on airfare (excluding taxes and government fees). Some standard redemptions include 2,000 points for a domestic US round-trip “Saver” ticket; 5,000 points for a domestic US round-trip “Anytime” ticket; 650 points for a domestic US one-way upgrade; and 3,300 points for a one-year Admirals Club membership. International flight awards are also available. As a reference point, we give Business Extra points a baseline value of 10 cents per point (although we wouldn’t argue much with anyone who said they’re worth up 12 cents each). At our valuation, Business Extra results in about a 2% rebate on AA flights.
Business Extra operates separately from and in parallel with AA’s standard AAdvantage frequent flyer program. That is, you can earn Business Extra points and AAdvantage miles on the same flight. Business Extra is free to join, there are no minimum flight or spend commitments, and there are no recurring fees.
There’s obviously a lot more detail to Business Extra, but it’s far too much to include in this particular article. We have it on our “to do” list to publish one or more articles in the future about the program, hopefully soon.
Nice 650-Point Promotion for New Enrollees, Through September 10
Business Extra recently released a nice new promotion for new enrollees. Companies that enroll in Business Extra using the promo code 19AUG by September 10, and fly within 90 days, will receive 650 bonus Business Extra points as a sign-up bonus.
Here are screenshots from a Business Extra email announcing this promotion:
As you can see, Business Extra pitches the bonus as earning a free upgrade. One-way upgrades indeed cost 650 points, for routes within North America or between North America & Hawaii or the Caribbean. The upgrades may be confirmed in advance after the underlying ticket is issued; however, they are subject to availability. And importantly, they are limited to certain fare classes. Fares purchased in basic economy (fare class B) and certain discounted fare classes (N, O, Q and S) are not eligible to be upgraded with Business Extra upgrade certificates.
In actuality, though, the 650 bonus points don’t have to be used for upgrades; they will be available for any Business Extra redemption so long as the account holder has sufficient points.
Here is a direct link to the landing page for the promotion:
- Business Extra: Landing Page for New Enrollment Promotion (good through September 10, 2019)
And, if you’re interested in learning more about Business Extra in general, here’s a link to the dedicated FAQs page:
- Business Extra: Dedicated FAQs page
Business Extra Has Tightened Its Enrollment and Verification Requirements
If you Google search for articles on Business Extra, no doubt you’ll come across a number of articles that suggest that it’s easy for an individual to join Business Extra as a “business” and double up on earning loyalty rewards with AA. Some of these articles may even be fairly recent.
We spent some time earlier today helping a friend use the promotion to enroll her photography business in Business Extra. As we went through that process with her, we learned that Business Extra has substantially revised its enrollment process and requirements. The revisions and verification steps make it much harder for people to enroll and participate in Business Extra if they don’t have a true, legitimate business.
Here’s what we learned as we worked our way through the process:
For starters, we learned that Business Extra expects the companies that enroll in the program to have at least 2 business travelers. The exact eligibility requirement reads: “Companies with 2 or more travelers that do not have a corporate sales agreement, discount, or other agreement with American Airlines, American Eagle, British Airways or Iberia.”
Next, as we began the enrollment process, we saw that Business Extra requires not only a Business Name, but also a Business Website. The two enrollment pages are shown in these screenshots:
After this, there was another screen that asked for further details about the business and person requesting the account. We didn’t capture a screenshot of that page, but among other things, the form asked for the applicant’s position in the business, which in our case was “Owner,” as well as the applicant’s personal AAdvantage number.
Once those forms were successfully completed, we received a “Thanks for joining” screen. At that point, we were also able to successfully log in to Business Extra (using the business owner’s personal AAdvantage login credentials) and see the business’s Business Extra number (a six-digit number). We were also able to log in to the business owner’s personal AAdvantage account and add her new Business Extra number to her AA profile (under Your Account / Edit account / Reservation Preferences, in a box at the very bottom of the page).
On the “Thanks for joining” screen, though, we were presented with steps necessary to validate the new Business Extra account. They are squarely designed to ensure that the new-member company is a “real” business and not a “fake” one.
Here’s a screenshot:
In case you can’t read it easily, the verification process requires the company to “validate [its] account credentials and confirm [it has] two or more employees flying.” It requires:
To verify the account information on file, please provide two or more of the following items:
• Employer identification number (EIN) / Federal Employer identification number (FEIN) / Federal Tax Identification Number
• Articles of incorporation (S corp or C corp) / Articles of Organization (LLC)
• Partnership Agreement (General Partnership) / Certificate of Limited Partnership, Limited Partnership Document (LP, LLP)
• Valid Business Name Registration certificate issued by a government agency (e.g. Business License, DBA/Doing Business As Name, Assumed Name, Fictitious Business Name, Registration of Trade Name)
• Seller’s Permit or Vendor’s License issued by a government agency such as a local taxation department or tax commission
• Utility bill issued to the business within the last 90 days (e.g. electricity, water, phone, natural gas)
Business Extra provides a link for these documents to be submitted online (unaltered), subject to certain file-type and size requirements.
It appears that the verification process does not have to be completed before the company can earn (and redeem) points with Business Extra. However, “Companies have six (6) months from enrollment to validate their information before the account is suspended or terminated. At that time, points earned will be forfeited and no longer available for use.”
We don’t know how strict Business Extra is in applying these validation requirements, but it’s clear that they’re trying to discourage individuals and those with “fake” businesses from enrolling in the program. As we mentioned earlier, that’s a significant change from the enrollment process of previous times. When we enrolled in Business Extra several years ago, this verification process didn’t exist. And as we mentioned, you can find a lot of articles online that make no mention of these verification requirements and suggest that it’s easy for an individual to enroll.
Business Extra’s 650-point bonus for new member companies is very nice and can provide a newly-enrolling business with a great kick-start to its earning in this useful program. We’re happy to share it and hope that some Middle Age Miles readers can take advantage of it. But we wanted everyone to be aware of the new verification requirements, lest you get caught off-guard during the enrollment process. Good luck!
Do you have additional thoughts on Business Extra or any data points on how strict Business Extra is during the verification process? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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