Like Delta (Sky Bonus) and United (Perks Plus), American Airlines has a small business program. It’s designed for companies that aren’t going to have corporate-level agreements with an airline that come with discounts or rebates. Instead they offer points redeemable for travel and services from the airline.
The good news is that even some of the smallest businesses can join and can ‘double dip’. The traveler earns frequent flyer miles as usual, and the company earns points in the separate Business ExtrAA program on top.
I’ve used this program for my company to gift complimentary gold elite status, American Airlines Admirals Club members, and most often to redeem for confirmed one-segment domestic upgrades known as BXP1 certificates (which are now electronic and can be redeemed online).
Whenever ‘C’ (confirmed upgrade) space is available on a domestic flight, as long a the ticket isn’t in Basic Economy or N, O, Q, or S fare classes I can upgrade it once tickets have been issued.
Right now the Business ExtrAA has some interesting promotions. It’s clearly a strategy for Sales to boost bookings strategically.
- Double Business ExtrAA points to Europe for travel through April 30 on American, British Airways, Iberia and for Finnair codeshares on American. Winter transatlantic is weak even before the recent viral unpleasantness reared its ugly head. Register with promo code NA2EU20.
- Double Business ExtrAA points on new domestic Austin flights through September 30. American is diving head first into the Austin – Boston and San Jose markets where they’ll compete with JetBlue, Delta, and Southwest (and Alaska). They have a strong customer base in Austin and good corporate business. Using their marketing program to target increased business travel makes good sense. Register with promo code AUSTIN20.
- Double Business ExtrAA points flying Boston – Raleigh and Indianapolis through September 30. American has been running more flights out of Boston than at its New York JFK hub and that’s before looking at its substantial Saturday service seasonal leisure destination business. They’re going up against Delta’s expansion in Boston, and JetBlue’s presence there. They need all the help they can get. Register with promo code BOSTON20.
Southwest Airlines launched the “Southwest Sweethearts Club” in 1972, awarding secretaries with credits towards travel for each flight they booked for their boss (15 one way flights earned them a free one way ticket, and 120 one ways for their boss entered them into a raffle for a free vacation). In 1980 the program was renamed “Southwest Secretary Club.”
Awarding the travel decision-maker and not just the traveler is an important element of marketing. It’s nice to see American use their Business ExtrAA program to strategically boost travel and believe they should use AAdvantage for this more than they do. For that the airline’s senior leadership may have to stop thinking about AAdvantage as ‘the card program’ and remember the role that it can play supporting the underlying airline.