American Airlines started shutting down a large number of frequent flyer accounts back in December for circumventing the restrictions on how often they could earn a bonus on Citibank AAdvantage credit cards.
New AAdvantage accounts were frequently targeted for Citibank card offers that contained an invitation code. This invitation code didn’t have the 48 month restriction between bonuses. So people would open up plenty of AAdvantage, sometimes in a pet’s name, to generate these codes. Or they would buy and sell the codes.
Now there seems to be a new reason that American is shutting down accounts, that I had not seen before: fraudulently submitting rental car receipts for credit.
American AAdvantage is one of the last U.S. airline loyalty programs whose miles expire. Delta, JetBlue, United, and Southwest all have points that do not expire. American, though, requires you to have activity in your account at least once every 18 months or you will forfeit your points.
If you lose your points but can show that you had activity which wasn’t properly credited, you can get your points reinstated. Apparently people were submitting car rentals to earn AAdvantage miles where the actual rental was done by somebody other than the accountholder.
..now we have new reports of terminated– not locked, but terminated– accounts, for submitting bogus paperwork.
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) April 23, 2020
Back in the day when everyone’s miles expired I didn’t used to give a frequent flyer account when I’d rent cars (generally with Avis). That way I could submit my rentals for ‘retro credit’ when I needed to keep an account active.
It seems like many people were doing this, albeit fraudulently. That’s obscure enough that I’d be there was a ‘ringleader’ perhaps even offering to help people get their miles back (for a fee?) and using this trick that came back to bite the members – who will wind up losing all the miles (and booked award trips) in their account.
One unintended consequence of keeping everyone on payroll at a time when there’s limited travel, and limited mileage accumulation, is – it seems – American’s auditors don’t have a lot to do and are finding ‘projects’.