American Airlines Cuts Fee To Transfer Miles By Two-Thirds

You can use your miles to book an award ticket for someone else, but if you want to combine miles with another customer that is going to cost you with the major U.S. frequent flyer programs.

American Airlines, though, has just cut the cost of transferring miles from one account to another by two-thirds. That means instead of charging 1.5 cents per mile, they’re now charging only half a cent.

Here’s American’s internal note to agents about this change:

At old pricing it almost never made sense to do a transfer, unless it was for a small number of points to top off an account to book a high value award. The old 1.5 cents per mile price was a little more than I consider AAdvantage miles to be worth.

At half a cent American should see more transaction volume, earning revenue for miles they’ve awarded to accounts with fewer miles (it may also mean some more redemptions). Half a cent per mile is below American’s cost but it makes the miles belonging to infrequent customers more useful, making AAdvantage more appealing for those individuals (and for families who might use their miles) while still generating back about two thirds of American’s cost for those miles.

JetBlue offers family pooling, where you link accounts and can spend the miles from these accounts together at no charge. Frontier has this, too, as long as the head of the account has elite status or their credit card. Hawaiian Airlines lets members share their miles with a co-brand credit card customer for free. However, neither Delta, United, Southwest, nor American have offered this feature.

Air Canada has offered family pooling, but found themselves subject to quite a bit of fraud. Free points transfers lets customers sell their miles.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. As you said, useful to top off accounts, like I just did with my sister. $10 fee wasn’t horrible. Otherwise usually doesn’t make sense. Wish they had family pooling. Would make things much easier, especially if they’re trying to get infrequent travelers involved.

  2. Do people who are accruing a smattering of miles really pay attention to this?

    I feel like it’s far more some bean counters did the math and decided they would get more revenue getting another $0.005 per mile from people transferring them than $0.000 from everyone who wasn’t going to re-buy their miles at 1.5 cents each when they’re not even worth that much…

  3. Good timing for our group of travelers, I value their miles at 1 cent and with a transfer fee of 1/2 a cent we can start closing our AA accounts without much waste(under 1000 miles)!

  4. No posts at all about Capital One buying Discover. Interesting. Thought I’d see more. Maybe the news hasn’t spread?

  5. Newbie here. I don’t understand the story. I thought that the miles accrued in an account, like via credit card spend, and are like 1 cent or so per dollar spent. So if AA charges (for example) 1 cent per mile to transfer points to someone else, doesn’t that wipe out the total value of the points?

  6. AA should allow free transfer of points between members in household especially minor children accounts…..and it should absolutely be free to and from Executive Platinum accounts

  7. I understand the difference in value of FF points that exists in the various programs. However though unequal in value Qantas may be, their program does allow modest transfers between family members (awards are also limited to the account owner and family members).
    Simply transfer Qantas Points to an eligible family member who’s also a Qantas Frequent Flyer. Minimum transfer is 1500 points
    Certainly permits watching small balances expire.

  8. Man I wish United would do this. I am a FF with 1k status and my husband and child have miles but not a ton and no status since they only travel when we go on vacation 1x or 2x a year. I’d LOVE to put all our miles in a family pool and use them more effectively. But why would United do that? They can just pretend to give a meaningful reward (miles) that ultimately can’t be used in any reasonable amount of time. Win-win for them (appearance of reward, plus no actual cost to them). I am definitely not paying some absurd fee to use the miles by transferring them.

    I would never have thought AA would come out looking better by making their fees so much lower. Now if UA and Delta do free family pooling…that would be a game changer!

  9. update just found link. advice. I am gold with 400K and my wife is plain with 382,000. since I get some benefit with gold, is it worth transferring 200,000 for $1000 so i have a higher balance in my account for award travel and/or upgrades

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