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Middle Age Miles

AA Termination – Update #1 – My Initial Communications to AA

american airlines aa aadvantage termination shut down shutdown corporate security citi credit card update

Introduction

As you probably know if you’ve clicked into this article, AA terminated my AAdvantage account last Friday. We recounted the details here and provided some initial thoughts on how we might proceed in order to get my account reinstated or, failing that, to pursue complaints and potential litigation against AA:

This article and our previous articles during the time when my account was “locked” by AA have generated substantial interest. For that reason, we’ll continue to post updates as we move forward in attempting to communicate with AA and, if necessary, pursuing litigation against AA.

Before we start the article, though, I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me to express condolences and provide support. I truly appreciate it.

Also, we’d much rather be writing content on Middle Age Miles that’s focused on the more positive aspects of travel and points-and-miles. We’ll continue to do that as much as possible, in parallel with reporting on my AA situation. We want to continue to bring you best-in-class content and analysis that will help you live your dreams through travel and points!

General Thoughts on Approach

As much as we’re outraged at AA’s actions in terminating my account when I’ve done nothing to violate any terms or conditions of the AAdvantage program or any credit card offer from Citi and AA, we’re going to try to suppress the urge to go from zero-to-100 immediately, in favor of a methodical approach:

  • First, contact AA to:
    • (a) let them know that their reason for termination and allegations against me are not correct;
    • (b) explain and offer to discuss with them and provide additional information; and
    • (c) ask them to reinstate my AAdvantage account.
  • Second, if the first step generates no response or fails, then escalate the matter higher in the AA corporate chain.
  • Third, file one or more administrative complaints (including at least a complaint against AA to the Department of Transportation (DoT)), while preparing for potential litigation and taking the preliminary steps necessary to assert claims in the strongest manner possible.
  • Fourth, initiate litigation against AA.

At this point, we don’t want to reveal any additional details, given that someone at AA may well be reading our articles. But as things unfold, we’ll do our best to provide information and details on Middle Age Miles, as we’re doing with today’s Update #1.

Initial Communications to AA

Today, I made 2 initial communications to AA:

  • 1 – Sent a reply email to AA Corporate Security, in response to AA’s termination email; and
  • 2 – Called the AA Executive Platinum line to try to get connected to a person or department who would talk to me

Reply Email to AA Corporate Security

As a reminder, here is the termination email that AA Corporate Security sent to me on Friday (February 28, 2020):

The key portion of the email is that AA terminated my AAdvantage account, based on allegations (which are incorrect, as explained in our previous articles) of “abuse of the AAdvantage Program through gaming behavior, used to circumvent the Citibank/AAdvantage card enrollment bonus eligibility restrictions.”

I have not received any further communications from AA. As I expected, I can no longer log in to my AAdvantage account, and as best I can tell, all of the mileage, status and benefits associated with my account are gone. I did not have any ticketed award flights at the time AA terminated my account, so I don’t have any firsthand data point to report on AA’s cancellation of future award tickets.

I replied to AA Corporate Security via email (aadvantage.corporate.security@aa.com) this afternoon (Monday, March 2, 2020), as follows:

Dear AAdvantage Corporate Security,

I received the email below from Mr. Patton on Friday.  I understand that AA has terminated my AAdvantage account.

The reason given by AA for the termination is not correct.  I have not abused the AAdvantage Program through gaming behavior.  Specifically, I have not circumvented any Citibank/AAdvantage card enrollment bonus eligibility restrictions.  AA’s termination email doesn’t say what terms AA alleges that I violated, but I can assure you that I have not violated any terms. 

To make sure that I address the concern stated in the email, I can provide these facts:  I was approved by Citi for 4 AA co-branded credit cards in total during 2018-19.  In each instance, I applied under my own name, my own Social Security Number, and my own other account details.  In each instance, AA’s co-brand partner Citi vetted and approved my application.  In each instance, I legitimately spent the amount required to earn the bonus for the card; Citi agreed, and Citi and AA credited my AAdvantage account with AA bonus miles.

I’m happy to provide you with further information and documentation to confirm what I’ve stated above.  I’m also happy to discuss the matter with you to clarify this situation.  I’m surprised that AA would take this severe action against me without giving me an opportunity to be heard.  No one from AA, including the AA Corporate Security group, reached out to me to let me know that my account was under investigation, that AA had any question about anything I had done, or to talk to me at all.  There was also no warning from AA or Citi that there was any problem.  Instead, Citi had approved my applications and confirmed the bonuses, and AA had posted the miles to my AAdvantage account.

If necessary to reinstate my AAdvantage account and benefits, please let me know if you are willing to talk to me and consider the information and documentation that I’m offering to provide.

I’m also surprised that AA decided to terminate my account and take all of the miles, status and benefits that I had earned through AAdvantage, when the allegations relate only to credit card bonuses from Citi.  The vast majority of miles and benefits in my AAdvantage account had nothing whatsoever to do with credit card bonuses.  At the time AA terminated my AAdvantage account on Friday, I had more than 1.23 million miles in my account (of which at least 950,000 had nothing to do with any promotional bonuses from Citi).  In addition, AA took these benefits that had nothing at all to do with any promotional bonuses from Citi: Executive Platinum status, 4 systemwide upgrades, 78 500-mile upgrades, Lifetime Gold status, and more than 1.86 million “Million Miler” miles.

I have been a good and loyal customer of AA for many, many years, having spent tens of thousands of dollars with AA.  In the last 3 years in particular, I have earned Executive Platinum status, which means that I have flown at least 100,000 Elite Qualifying Miles each year and spent at least 12,000 (in 2017-18) or at least 15,000 (in 2019) Elite Qualifying Dollars.  I had also already booked more than $10,000 in flights with AA during 2020.  My own loyalty to AA should mean something to AA now.

I ask that you please reinstate my AAdvantage account in full, including all of my redeemable AA miles, all of my lifetime miles and status, and my Executive Platinum status and related benefits.  I ask that this be completed and confirmed in writing within 7 days of this email message (by Monday, March 9, 2020).  I will assume that AA will act in good faith here and restore my account, status and benefits in full so that no legal action against AA will become necessary.

You can reach me via reply email or by phone at the number associated with my AAdvantage account.  I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best regards,

Charles Craig Tadlock

The intent here was to be polite, as pleasant as possible under the circumstances, and cooperative – yet firm in my request. The email includes a short-but-reasonable time for AA to make things right.

Call to the AA Executive Platinum Line

Shortly after I sent the reply email, I also called the AA Executive Platinum line to try to talk with anyone who might be able to help me. I called from my regular number, the same number that is attached to my AAdvantage account. The call went as follows:

  • First, an automated attendant answered my call. It asked for my AAdvantage number, which I gave. The auto attendant then asked me to please hold while it got someone to help me.
  • The call was then re-routed to AA Customer Service
    • This was basically the same process that had happened when I called the AA Executive Platinum line during the time when my account was locked but not yet shut down.
  • After a couple of minutes of hold time, an AA Customer Service agent picked up the call. She was polite and pleasant throughout our call. I explained my situation and asked if she could help connect me with Corporate Security or someone else at AA who could talk to me about the termination and email.
  • She said she’d look into it and placed me on hold for about 5 minutes.
    • Before she put me on hold, though, she made an interesting comment. She said that she was seeing something unusual. She said that when she’s taken similar calls recently, she couldn’t see any information about the caller’s AAdvantage account – but on my account she could see “partial information.”
    • We’re not sure what to make of this, if anything.
  • When the agent came back on the line, she said that she could not give me any information other than to reply to the email from Corporate Security. She said that Corporate Security will respond to me.
  • I was surprised that the agent said that Corporate Security will respond. So, I re-confirmed – Reply to the email and they’ll respond? She said yes, that’s correct, I should hear back from Corporate Security.
    • I thanked her and told her that I had sent a reply email to Corporate Security, just before I made the call that resulted in me being connected to her.
  • The agent then re-confirmed that nothing else can be done by AA Customer Service.

Wrap-Up from Today

Well, the post-termination process with AA has started. I sure wish I didn’t need to spend time and effort on this, but I think it’s worth pursuing. I feel good about the initial email reply.

I wonder about whether it means anything that the Customer Service agent could still see “partial information” about my account. Maybe my account is in some different “bucket” than earlier terminations of other accounts. After all, I did receive a different form of termination email than others had received earlier. Or maybe (more likely?) it doesn’t mean a thing.

I was also quite surprised that the AA Customer Service agent seemed so definitive that Corporate Security would respond to my reply email. I believe that the data points so far have been that people have not received responses from Corporate Security. On this, time will tell.

Again, we appreciate your interest and support, and we’ll continue to report as things develop.


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56 thoughts on “AA Termination – Update #1 – My Initial Communications to AA

  1. JB SanDiego

    Find out when you will get a reply back? For my Amx suspension, I was told by the agent that I would get an email in a month (on the outcome of my suspension). Well, I never recieved an email or communication of any sort. I only found out my suspenstion was over by trial-and-error.

    Also, you will have to check you spam as well.

    It’s unfortunate that making screen shot of your open account wasn’t passed along to you.

    BTW – This whole ordeal is so bad for AA losing good customers. Unforturnately, AA is cramming their customers with projects like ‘oasis’ and in general and even go as far to say ‘this is a good thing for their customers’. So, no, AA doesn’t care about its customers and doesn’t have any intentions of reversing course. This comes down from the CEO and no, he doesn’t care. As you can see from Boeing, it isn’t easy to get a CEO of his throne. In this case, I can only see this happen when there is a stock market crash (will happen sooner, than later) and AA stock becomes a penny stock (crash).

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Many thanks for the thoughts, JB SD. I think you’ll find a lot of people who agree that AA is not very customer-friendly these days! ~Craig

    2. William A

      All you people tried to manipulate loopholes and beat the system. You got caught. I’m not sure why you think AA needs to be friendly, courteous or helpful towards you when your just trying to screw them and their business partners out of miles at every opportunity. You people agreed to arbitration as part of joining the AAdvantage program. All this talk about litigating is nothing more than chest thumping and American should not even dignify it with a response.

      1. Jake Mueller

        AA is screwing Citi for millions of dollars, and is also screwing consumers who only got signup bonuses through publicly available offers.

        All this ‘enlightened’ talk about something you don’t know is willful-stupidity.

  2. Chris

    Very much interested in how this process goes for you, thank you for writing these detailed and thoughtful posts.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Chris – Many thanks for the comment and kind words. I’m glad you’re enjoying the articles and appreciate you reading them. ~Craig

  3. Tex

    Why are you worried “someone at AA may well be reading our articles”

    Isn’t that what you want? For them to hear your complaint?

      1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

        Exactly – thanks, Bob. For sure, I want AA to hear me. And equally for sure, I don’t want to give AA a roadmap of my litigation strategy (in the event that it becomes necessary)! ~Craig

  4. Jake Mueller

    Customer service agents promising you a response from Corp Sec is SOP on their part. Let’s see if you end up getting a response.

    My unsolicited advice to you is to hit AA wherever you can, because otherwise it won’t engage with you.

    Making Citi flight with AA will close the mailer loophole forever, but I think we can all agree that it potentially leads to poorer award-space & perhaps potential devaluation of AAdvantage miles.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Jake – Thanks for the comment (as well as your others on the AA shutdown topic). Based on all the DPs I’ve read, I don’t really expect a response from AA corporate security. That said, I still think it’s the correct way to go through the process – try, and then escalate if ignored or unsuccessful. ~Craig

  5. MrDioji

    Fight the good fight, Craig. I was shutdown on Feb 7th and am still awaiting a reply from my Feb 8, Feb 21, and Feb 28 emails. They were also polite, but firm and escalatory. However, I didn’t have the great revenue and status history that you do, so maybe they’ll respond to you first.

    Thanks for sharing your emails and information. It helps to see what others are writing as I craft my language for subsequent communications. I am writing my DOT complaint this evening. You can fit a lot in 3,000 words, haha.

    Good Luck

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Mr Dioji – Many thanks for this comment and the others you’ve made on the AA shutdown topic. Sounds like a solid strategy on your part and that you’re setting things up well. I wish you didn’t have to go through this, but here we are …

      You’re welcome on the sharing part. Two of the things I’m trying to accomplish here are (1) to help people who AA has also screwed over; and (2) to raise public awareness.

      Knock ’em dead on the DoT complaint, and best of luck to you too!!! ~Craig

  6. Jake Mueller

    Craig, you’re not the only one to have received a termination letter from AA that alludes to Citi cards.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Jake – Correct, of course. But this was new language that started appearing from AA late last week, when their previous responses to people they were terminating were much more vague. It’s an interesting development for sure. ~Craig

  7. William A

    I think the point of contention AA has with you is that you were advised you were under investigation and you continued doing what you were being investigated for. The rules say you’re to stop the thing you were doing pending the outcome of the investigation. Were you advised you’re under investigation? It seems you avoided addressing that.

    1. MrDioji

      He was not advised that he was under investigation. And what do you think he “continued doing”?

      From his termination post:
      “Remarkably, before terminating my account, including when it was locked for 2½ months, AA (a) did not notify me that I was under investigation; (b) refused to communicate with me regarding the investigation; and (c) gave me no opportunity to explain my situation or defend myself.”

    2. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi William A – Thanks for the comment, and fair question. Two things here: (1) as the article and Mr Dioji reference, AA did not notify me that I was under investigation; and (2) I certainly didn’t apply for any more AA co-branded credit cards after I figured out that my account was locked, and I hadn’t applied in many months before that. Certainly didn’t mean to avoid addressing that issue, and I’m glad to provide further clarification here. ~Craig

  8. William A

    American does not just arbitraliy lock accounts. Trying to look for loopholes to manipulate and then telling thousands of people how to work the loophole is not a sustainable environment for American to run the AAdvantage program. If you found a system that gives you an advantage in a Vegas casino you’d be shutdown immediately and asked to leave the casino. American shouldn’t have to constantly worry about staying one step ahead of mile manipulators.

    1. lochquel

      It’s nice to feel sympathy for a faceless corporation that does everything in their power to take your money while pretending to provide you with something in return.

    2. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi William A – I think the distinction here is that what you’re calling a “loophole” appeared to be exactly the way Citi and AA intended for things to work. It wasn’t like I snuck around in the shadows or falsified anything – no, I applied for each card using my name, SSN and correct personal financial details. Citi reviewed all of that, determined that I met the criteria set by Citi and AA, and approved me. Then later, Citi again determined that I had met the requirements for issuance of the sign-up bonus, and the AA miles were properly credited to my AAdvantage account. It’s not at all like sneaking loaded dice into a casino. To the contrary, I played according to the exact rules set by the casino.

      I appreciate the comment, to make sure we have clearly articulated the important distinction here. ~Craig

    3. Dick Bupkiss

      So, just to be clear on your analogy: in defense of what AA is doing, you’re saying that participating in their loyalty program is the same thing as gambling in a Las Vegas casino, and members of the AAdvantage program should expect to be treated as if they’re doing business with the Golden Nugget? Does that make Doug Parker Michael Corleone or Fredo?

  9. William A

    It’s unsustainable for AA to keep doling out miles to people trying to get one over on them because they’re a big business and people feel like they should take whatever they can from them. Everyone looses in the end. I don’t feel sympathy for them. I feel like acting ethically is the responsibility of all involved in a business transaction. If you feel like the company you’re dealing with doesn’t act ethically then take your business elsewhere. It shouldn’t be used as an excuse for you to act unethically.

    1. Someone

      AA didn’t give out any miles. They sold them to Citi. Citi gave them out. Then AA reclaimed miles that they already sold. Stop talking about things you don’t understand.

      1. William A

        They sold the miles to Citi for much less than their actual value because if participants acted ethically they would recover they loss on the back end from increased brand loyalty. They should have known there is no loyalty among thieves and manipulators. I know precisely what I’m talking about.

        1. MrDioji

          FTFY: They [probably] sold the miles to Citi for much less than their actual value because if [Citi implemented tighter restrictions and were consistent with Terms and Conditions across all marketing avenues, then] they [may] recover their loss on the back end [by making redemptions harder and harder and hoping for miles breakage and expiration].

          The corporations have no loyalty to consumers, why should consumers be loyal to the corporations?

        2. Jake Mueller

          Well, you can get signup bonuses from publicly available 4 Citi cards & 2 Barclays co-branded with American Airlines over the course of one year (if you hadn’t received SUBs from the Citi cards in the last 4 years).

          But AA is shutting down people for it. How can the consumers be at fault?

    2. Jake Mueller

      Suppose A buys a car from a dealer B at a great price. A then sells it to C. Now B has that car (which now belongs to C) towed away into one of its garages because B feels like it was a mistake to sell the car to A at such a low price that it incurred a huge loss. B doesn’t even refund the purchase amount to A, so A can’t refund anything to C. C is the loser here.

      A is Citi, B is AA, C is the consumer

  10. Ben

    You continue to be needlessly optimistic and frankly a little holier than thou about being different from other shutdowns.

    Literally everyone who has contacted AA by phone has been told that corporate security will contact if i email. I’ve been waiting for this mythical correspondence from corporate security for months (besides the boilerplate letters)

    Stop thinking you’re special.

    It’s time to join together in a class action.

    1. Jenny

      A class-action lawsuit would help AA utilize its legal resources well. A lot of small claims court lawsuits will leave them gasping

    2. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Ben – Thanks for the comment. I certainly don’t mean to come across as “holier than thou.” There are factual differences between my situation and others, but I surely don’t think that I’m better than anyone else. I think that AA has screwed over a lot of people here.

      I’m sorry that AA shut down your account too, and I certainly hope that you get reinstated or properly compensated. We’re doing our best here to share things that we hope will help others and raise public awareness. ~Craig

  11. Joe

    Doesn’t it say on the back of the credit card application “bonus limited to 1 new account every 2 years” or some such language to preclude people from getting multiple credit cards and bonuses? If so is that why you are being accused of gaming the system? Just trying to understand the issue.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Joe – Thanks for the question. No, none of the offers I applied for had that language or any similar time-restricted language. ~Craig

  12. William A

    I guarantee this will end in accounts being restored, eventually. What American is doing is the equivalent of giving a child a timeout. They’re telling you to “check yourself before you wreck yourself”. You may not be bringing loaded dice into the casino, but card counters are way more dangerous, and this mile manipulation is more like card counting than loaded dice. You have the attention of AA security because of the brazen way many of you spread the information about the latest way you can circumvent rules for personal gain. You don’t want to have the attention of AA security because they will always do their job.

  13. Dave

    I’m in a similar situation. I have lost 4mm miles across 3 family accounts, only ~1mm of which were from the Citi sign-up bonuses.

    Small claims route is better than nothing, but potential max payout is only $21,000 (my state limit is 7K) minus the costs…. for 4mm miles 🙁

    What are your thoughts on being able to sue them in Texas small claims court given that this is what they list as their corporate info ( 4333 Amon Carter Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76155, US
    T: 1-817-963-1234) ? The amount in TX will be going up from $10,000 to $20,000 in September. Maybe this is the route we should all be taking if we get no responses to our emails?

    1. William A

      We all agreed to binding arbitration as part of joining the program. You can certainly file in small claims but AA will immediately file a motion to dismiss because you agreed to arbitrate with a mediator when you enrolled. Filing fees aren’t refundable.

      1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

        Hi Wiliam A – There isn’t an arbitration provision in the AAdvantage program terms & conditions. Can you please show me what you’re referring to? Thanks. ~Craig

        1. William A.

          Mandatory arbitration
          By agreeing to these Terms, you also agree to resolve any claim, dispute, or controversy arising from or relating to the Site, its Content, the Program or these Terms (or any prior agreement between you and us with respect to the same), or the relationships which result from these Terms (whether a tort or statutory claim, or a claim seeking monetary, equitable, or other relief) (“Claim(s)”), will be, upon the election of any party to the dispute, resolved by neutral binding arbitration administered by the National Arbitration Forum (“NAF”), under the Code of Procedure (“Code”) of the NAF in effect at the time the Claim is filed. Claims include past, present, and future Claims. Any such arbitration will take place in Chicago, Illinois, unless the parties agree to an alternative location, and will apply the substantive law set forth below. All parties to the arbitration will have the right, at their own expense, to be represented by an attorney or other advocate of their choosing. Any arbitration proceeding may not be consolidated or joined with any other proceeding and will not proceed as a class action. THE PARTIES UNDERSTAND THAT THEY WOULD HAVE HAD A RIGHT OR OPPORTUNITY TO LITIGATE DISPUTES THROUGH A COURT, TO HAVE A JUDGE OR JURY DECIDE THEIR CASE, AND TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION OR OTHER PROCEEDING INVOLVING MULTIPLE CLAIMANTS, BUT THEY CHOOSE TO HAVE ANY DISPUTES DECIDED THROUGH INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Rewards Network or Rewards Partner may seek injunctive or equitable relief through a court of competent jurisdiction in the event of any misuse of its intellectual property or any misuse of its Site, its Content, the Program or its systems, without the posting of a bond, proof of damages, or other similar requirement.

          THE DECISION OF THE ARBITRATOR WILL BE A FINDING AND BINDING RESOLUTION OF THE CLAIM. IN ARBITRATION, NEITHER PARTY WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL OR TO ENGAGE IN DISCOVERY, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE NAF RULES. This arbitration agreement is made pursuant to a transaction involving interstate commerce and will be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. Sections 1–16. Judgment upon the award may be entered, and proceedings to enforce this arbitration requirement may be pursued, in any court having jurisdiction.

          If any portion of this arbitration provision is deemed invalid or unenforceable, the remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect, except that if the prohibition on class actions or joinder of multiple claimants is found to be unenforceable, all of the arbitration provisions in these Terms will be deemed invalid or withdrawn.

          1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

            Thanks, William A, and I appreciate the quick response.

            That provision is from Rewards Network (the company that administers AAdvantage Dining), not AA or the AAdvantage program itself. That provision does not prevent or impair a court case against AA related to the AAdvantage program. I hope that helps clear things up. ~Craig

      2. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

        To Jake M and William A – I very much appreciate the comments and engagement with Middle Age Miles from both of you. That said, I’m going to delete the 2 most recent comments to this thread so that we don’t get too chippy with one another. I’m very happy for banter and for testing one another’s points of view, but let’s keep it constructive. Many thanks. ~Craig

    2. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Dave – I’m really sorry about your family accounts. It sounds like you guys are in a very similar situation to mine for sure – even worse since there are more miles and more family members.

      It sounds like you’ve really done your research. Without giving legal advice – yes, it looks like you could sue AA in justice court (small claims court) in Tarrant County, Texas, where AA is headquartered. Also correct on the Texas justice court limit going up to $20k as of 9/1/2020. Send me a DM on Twitter @MiddleAgeMiles1 if you’d like to discuss in a more private forum. ~Craig

  14. Dave M

    Hi Craig. Thanks for sharing your situation. Here is a summary of my situation, which did not include the use of any mailers:

    • I am a frequent traveler between Los Angeles, CA where I reside, and Kalamazoo, MI where I grew up and own several businesses.
    • In early 2018, I began flying AA exclusively for this travel and decided to open a Citi AAdvantage personal card for all spending.
    • Shortly thereafter, AA flight attendants began vigorously promoting a new Barclay’s Aviator AAdvantage card and explained that existing Citi cardmembers were eligible to receive an additional 60,000 mile bonus.
    • With AA’s own employees encouraging members to obtain multiple bonuses, I was interested in transitioning my business spending to AA branded cards to earn miles.
    • Prior to doing so, I called Citi to confirm that the new business cards would be eligible for welcome bonuses, and Citi confirmed since they are indeed separate legal entities.
    • I then opened 3 Citi AAdvantage business cards for 3 different Limited Liability Companies formed in the State of Michigan and in good standing:
    o XXXXXXXX, LLC (Rental Real Estate)
    o YYYYYYYY, LLC (Rental Real Estate)
    o ZZZZZZZZZ, LLC (Property Management Company)
    • In early 2019, I transitioned all business spending to ZZZZZZZ, LLC for accounting purposes and closed the XXXXXXXX, LLC and YYYYYYYY, LLC cards.
    • In late 2019, Citi eliminated the 10% bonus feature for redeemed miles, so I decided to transition to a Barclays Aviator business card which offered a 5% bonus for redeemed miles.
    • In each case, Citi or Barclays reviewed the application, performed their due diligence, made a credit decision, and issued the cards with the promise of a mileage bonus upon completion of spending requirements within a certain period.
    • For every card issued, the spending requirements were met prior to the deadline, and miles were deposited into my AAdvantage account.
    • All the while, 100% of my personal and business spending was being done on AA branded cards, translating into additional duly earned miles.
    • Around December 20th of this year, I learned that my AAdvantage account was being “audited” by Corporate Security.
    • On February 4th of 2020, I learned that my account was terminated when AA cancelled a flight 7 days before departure which was booked with miles on 1/23/20 (at which point I was under the impression that the audit was complete since I was able to use miles).
    • In the intervening period, I placed multiple calls to AAdvantage Customer Service seeking information and requesting contact from Corporate Security to resolve the issue.
    • To date, I have not received a single email or phone call from AA’s Corporate Security group explaining the termination, or requesting additional information.

    My termination letter never came through on 2/4/2020, but after multiple emails to Corporate Relations, it was finally “re-sent” yesterday and actually came through this time. The reasoning is different from yours:

    “A recent investigation has determined your involvement in multiple violations of the General AAdvantage Program Conditions. These violations are related to the accrual of ineligible miles and benefits; through fraud, misrepresentation and/or abuse of the AAdvantage Program. Additionally, any award tickets obtained through an “Exploitive Practice” are in violation of the AA Conditions of Carriage and are not valid for travel. Per the AAdvantage program governing terms:”

    I would love to get on the phone with someone and ask how it is possible to accrue ineligible miles that the credit card companies willingly issued and AA deposited into my account. I certainly did not commit fraud or misrepresentation, as I am a real person and business entities are in good standing.

    Just thought I’d share my situation back so that you have more data points. I hope that you continue to provide updates, if you are lucky enough to hear back or make any progress.

  15. Terence

    You are getting the royal runaround. Small claims court is the ONLY way get their attention, email almost ALWAYS gets ignored. AA will be forced to spend big money on lawyers no matter if they win or lose. I’ve brought a large corporation to small claims court, was successful, and had fun doing it. I’m not a lawyer, just a regular civilian.

    This is what will happen, you fill out the small claims court papers and have them delivered to AA via certified mail. AA lawyers will get your notice to appear in court…and the lawyers will tell corporate security to knock off the crap and give you your miles back, they have bigger things to worry about. The lawyers don’t want to waste their time in small claims court. On a side note, corporate lawyers greatly outrank security staff.

    You’ll probably have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but you’ll get your miles back. Just tell “us” that you got your miles back…and can’t say anything else…we’ll understand.

    Visit your local small claims court office and pick up the papers, they make it very simple.

    Send the papers to AA corporate/legal offices in Dallas, AA’s “registered agent” in your state (google it), and the local airport.

    If you lose, you’ll have fun in the process dragging AA to small claims court, and have on hell of a story for this website.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Many thanks, Terence. I really appreciate your support, and also the time you took to detail the process for those who are considering small claims court. ~Craig

  16. William A

    I am almost certain American Airlines has in house Attorney’s already working for them or they at least have Attorney’s on permanent retainer. Lawsuits are a fairly frequent occurrence with the airlines.

  17. Chuck Lesker

    You are wasting your time writing long, reasoned letters to AA. They will not reply. I do realize that the letter helps set up a basis for further actions; but a short letter is as good as a long one, because they will not reply.

    Someone at AA tried to be a hero internally by doing this. Their case is very weak, so they have to stand firm and not give an inch. The methods being used are (a) boilerplate accusations that are difficult to refute specifically because they have no specific content (b) no further response. In short, they are sleazy and vicious.

    Next step is to write to DoT. They will take your report and send it to AA; AA will have to respond to that. But they will respond in broad generalities, using meaningless boilerplate , and that’s the end of it. DoT makes clear that they don’t pursue remedies individually. There may or may not be enough complaints for DoT to take broader action.

    I am waiting to see if anyone has been successful in small claims court; so far no data points. Can one successfully claim a cash value for lost miles? If it works for anyone, I will emulate them. As a lawyer, I hope you will go first. To repeat, no point in waiting for AA to reply, it’s not going to happen.

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