American Airlines Is Using Its Small Business Program To Boost Bookings

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.

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.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Gary: These are nice but rather niche promotions that run every year. Typically, there is a bonus to Europe during slow time and some bonuses to new destinations. Nothing to rave about.

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