American Airlines Mileage-Earning Debit Card Devalues June 1

UFB Direct’s American AAdvantage-earning debit card will reduce earnings effective June 1. Instead of 1 mile per $2 spent on the card, it will offer 1 mile per $3 spent on the card.

In addition they will no longer reward miles for “supermarkets, grocery stores, super stores, wholesale stores, discount stores, USPS, and financial or money transfer institutions.”

I already found the card and account not to be especially compelling at 1:2. This effectively takes it off the table in my view.

That isn’t surprising. Debit cards are no longer financial windfalls for banks. It’s no longer worth incentivizing transactions since the Durbin amendment to Dodd Frank financial reform eliminated the profit for banks from debit transactions. The rewards debit card is almost entirely a thing of the past.

Oddly, though the Suntrust Delta debit card is no longer available to new customers, they continue to honor 1 mile per dollar for existing customers. I’m fortunate to be one of those, for transactions that either can’t be made with a credit card or are too costly to do so.

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. I was in my local SunTrust today and I handed my Delta debit card over to the teller so she could access my account. She said something to the affect of “Oh, I’m not sure if you heard, but Delta has decided to end our contract with them so once your card expires you’ll be automatically switched over to our Gold debit program”.

    Not sure if she was right or not, but if so that means that another decent debit mileage option will soon be disappearing.

  2. That list of exclusions seems to pinpoint eliminating MS if you ask me. VERYspecific to places where you can buy MOs on debit…

  3. Suntrust just billed me $75 for my annual Delta debit card fee, so I’m guessing it’s not dead yet

    That said, I’m amazed it lives. It has to be insanely unprofitable for them, as I would think the vast majority of purchases (in dollar terms) are from the manufactured spending community.

  4. I plan on using it to load my monthly $1000 to serve, and then once the miles post (6-8 weeks later) I close by UFB account. It was nice while it lasted.
    I had been scared of SunTrust because of reports of them shutting down people’s accounts and taking months to give the money back…

  5. @iahphx How big do you think the manufactured spending community is? Inside the forums it seems like it is so huge. I am sure it is a small percentage of total users of that product. I am sure Suntrust could see unusual activity and close any account doing major damage with MS as well.

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