American Airlines Won’t Let You Track Your AAdvantage Account With Award Wallet Anymore

The best way to track and manage frequent flyer accounts for many years has been Award Wallet. You add your account information and they let yo know when your balance changes. They let you know when your flight plans change – from flight numbers and times to seats. They track airline fee credits,, free hotel nights, and suite upgrades. And they let you know if miles in a program are close to expiration.

American Airlines has told Award Wallet that they can no longer do this with AAdvantage accounts or American reservations. Award Wallet wasn’t even a rogue actor, scraping American’s site. They had an agreement in place with the airline, used an API, and met all security standards. American Airlines even got paid for Award Wallet to be able to help AAdvantage members travel better.

(Update) American Airlines shares,

As of December, 17, 2021, American Airlines does not have a contract with Award Wallet. AAdvantage® members can track their miles and monitor flight activity on or within the American Airlines app.

The airline has brought down the hammer, and we’re all worse off for it.

  1. This is bad for security. The best way to protect an account is to check it regularly. Most members don’t go to their American AAdvantage account every day, or even every week. Long periods of time will pass before they know their account has been hacked and miles have been drained. Using Award Wallet lets you know right away, before someone has flown on tickets fraudulently redeemed through your account.

  2. The usual (wrong) arguments about security don’t even apply. There’s a certain gut plausibility to ‘we don’t want account passwords stored on someone else’s server. Using AwardWallet and tracking changes regularly is good for security. But that’s not even the issue here.

    American and Award Wallet have had an agreement in place allowing this since 2013. Award Wallet accesses data through an API. And they actually do not store member passwords. Members store their own passwords on their own computer when using Award Wallet. And as far as I’m aware there haven’t been any allegations that Award Wallet failed to live up to its security obligations in the agreement.

  3. This isn’t really about security, anyway. This is about monetization of eyeballs. American Airlines wants members going to its website more often, not the Award Wallet website.

  4. But this is actually bad for AAdvantage member engagement. When I need my 3 year old’s AAdvantage number I check my Award Wallet account. When I need my father in law’s AAdvantage number I check my Award Wallet account. I go there in order to be able to log into Members will have a harder time staying engaged with American AAdvantage when they can’t keep track of their accounts in one place.

    When I see my balance change at American AAdvantage I got to to find out what miles posted. Award Wallet causes me to visit more often I’m drawn there with a push notification from Award Wallet each time. When I don’t know about account changes automatically, I don’t go to the account nearly as often.

  5. This change makes the American Airlines travel experience worse. My wife, daughter and I went to Hawaii on American Airlines last month. My seat assignment on the return flight changed long before travel. The only reason I noticed this is because Award Wallet sent me an email. I was able to get moved back so that I could sit with my 3 year old. That’s good for me (because I love my daughter, and because it makes life easier for my wife too). And it’s good for American’s other customers (who aren’t stuck next to a toddler).

    American doesn’t tell you when your bookings change most of the time. Award Wallet performs a service for the airline’s customers, making it easier to fly the airline, and doesn’t even charge American for this (in fact as I understand it Award Wallet had to pay for its past data access).

  6. This will mean more miles expiring. Award Wallet lets me know when my father in law’s miles are going to expire, and that allows me to take steps to keep his account active. He was living in a city served only by Alaska Airlines, so when for a time American ended its Alaska partnership he wasn’t in a position to travel on American, redeem for American Airlines itineraries, or credit flight miles to American.

    I get warnings as expiration approaches – multiple emails – that would otherwise get lost relying solely on American. Maybe American wants fewer active accounts? After all, unlike Delta, Southwest, United and JetBlue they still expire miles. But engaged members are highly profitable, which is why the airline was able to borrow $10 billion against the AAdvantage program.

  7. Do members own their own data? Maybe this wasn’t so clear a decade ago when airlines started going after sites that helped members keep track of their accounts, balances and reservations. But it’s pretty clear from a policy standpoint now – see current debates over Facebook and E.U. privacy regulations – that members should own their data and should be permitted to use it as they see fit. If I want to tell Award Wallet when I’m flying American Airlines, so they can help me know when my itineraries change and when my seat assignments change, from a public policy standpoint that’s clearly my right.

  8. This is American AAdvantage against its members. There are several hundred thousand Award Wallet members. A decade ago it was 300,000 or 400,000 it’s now far north of that, and a majority of members certainly have AAdvantage accounts. This is American telling hundreds of thousands of its own customers that they need to spend more time and jump through more hoops to be a customer, that the airline and frequent flyer program wants to be harder to do business with. And they’re doing it because someone, somewhere thinks that’s a strategy to make more money from members.

The position American Airlines is taking is going to make the lives of members and passengers harder, and it’s going to mean less engagement in the AAdvantage program. This makes AAdvantage less relevant. There’s already a petition seeking to have AAdvantage allow members to track their accounts through Award Wallet again.

Award Wallet is still useful for tracking the major hotel programs, as well as credit card rewards programs, rental cars and your non-U.S. frequent flyer programs.

With Southwest, United and Delta I still have my account numbers in Award Wallet and can log in with a single click. I also get my itineraries and mileage balances emailed to Award Wallet, which they forward to me, so that they can process those accounts without access those airline systems.

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. Gary, Please interview the executive team at American Airlines. Ask them if they hate Award Wallet and why they now prohibit passengers from tracking their AAdvantage miles using the useful Award Wallet application.

  2. American Airlines/AAdvantage management are hugely disconnected from what their members want, are willing to pay for, and

    In my opinion, American shouldn’t be CANCELLING the agreement, but rather ACQUIRING AWARDWALLET and looking for new opportunities to engage with members outside of, how to get the co-brand in the hands of non-members, and overall being a more interesting program.

    THIS IS A BIG LOSS for American. They don’t even know how big of a loss this is for them.
    People are going to get fired over this at American.

    Or maybe this was Rick’s final “FU” to management for firing him — knowing that AA will lose big time from not having Awardwallet onboard?

    I can’t wait for the shitstorm to start.

  3. AA is likely paying Award Wallet for their application based on number of users. If that number has climbed into the millions of accounts, AA could be saving a boatload of cash by pushing members toward their mobile app

  4. I’d like to note that this goes far beyond data access. Note that AwardWallet said:

    “We’re writing to let you know that American Airlines has ***forced us to stop tracking your American Airlines account*** on AwardWallet.”

    “Unfortunately, we are not in a position to fight this demand. As of today, we have ***removed the following accounts*** from AwardWallet:”

    If it was about just access to data then AwardWallet could do what they have done in the past which is to let you update your balances manually or let you forward your monthly statement t a dedicated email address.

    No, this is termination with extreme prejudice. AA’s lawyers have brought the hammer down on AW in a way that makes them scrub all AA customer data from their system and not even let folks track things manually by hand-entering the data. It’s intimidation, pure and simple.

    AA has shown its true colors here, but frankly, I’m not surprised. Honestly, the best thing that could happen here is that the media picks up this story and paints AA in the negative light they should be painted for being such a bully, and this raises awareness of AW in general, and it ends up being a net positive for them. They provide a fantastic service, and personally, I will actively avoid any programs that take this customer-unfriendly approach.

  5. It makes perfect sense. AA *wants* your miles to expire. They *want* you to make poor choices (for you, not for them) with booking and reservations. Information is their enemy. Independent information aggregators are Satan personified.

  6. I’ll even add another reason AA is stupid to kill this relationship. When you comment on the Award Wallet blog they will give you AA miles for comments (something you could add Gary 🙂 which not only helps to keep your orphan accounts alive but I’d assume Award Wallet was buying those miles from AA which added revenue to them. Maybe I’m only a lowly little AA Platinum elite but this is not customer-friendly at all.

  7. I agree on point 4, member engagement. I visited easily because I could sign in through AwardWallet, and I commented on the AW blog every so often to get the 5 AA miles. Now AA have made it harder to track my family’s accounts. Boo hiss.

  8. It’s very clear they’d prefer to have miles expire, since they’re a financial liability. Hopefully the tone of the airline changes once Parker is out and Isom is free to operate without the reigns on…

  9. @Jonathan – indeed, which makes it even more infuriating. Even though WN won’t let Award Wallet connect, I can still at least track the points manually, and have the login and password info stored somewhere safe. I also track my parents’ miles/points for them – they’re not tech savvy at all.

    Thanks for nothing, USAirways dba American Airlines

  10. @ Jonathan — Huh? I added AA as a manually tracked program today. It is now the same as ny DL tracking on AW.

  11. The low-EQ of AA legal and upper management are the downfall of their airline.
    Extremely short-sighted by AA.

    If I were the CEO-appointee…….the first thing I’d be doing is firing whoever thought getting rid of Awardwallet was a good idea. It sounds like it was the ending of a contract of some type based on the notice I received – which means legal had to approve it for whatever reason. Legal should ALWAYS advocate for pro-member stuff – because, well – havn’t they learned anything over the past 30 years? The airline ALWAYS loses when they’re not pro-member.

    I spent $280,000 on my Citi card last year and retained Executive Platinum on my own merit and absolutely agree that AA has this bullshit attitude of “members versus management”. This is yet another example of the anti-member culture at AA.

    Will my spend go to United or Delta? no – but I sure as heck won’t prioritize flying, or earning miles with American. Keeping the co-brand also makes no sense with so much uncertainty in how they treat their members.

    This means I’ll split my business – some to American. Some with Southwest, some with Jetblue or Spirit or whever it makes sense on the day.

    AA isn’t just killing their own loyalty business – they’re systematically destroying the concept of being loyal to one brand.

    It’s time for a great reset at American AAdvantage and that involves purging of legacy AAdvatnage who think that doing anti-member stuff like this is somehow beneficial to their brand.

    It’s time to put members first. I believe this includes empowering other brands to do that work on behalf of AA (to which customers have more loyalty with – ie: Awardwallet).

  12. @Gene Fair point—you can re-enter it as a manually tracked program. My point was mainly that my Delta miles are still tracked under Delta in AW and DL didn’t make AW completely purge all DL account account info when they could no longer update automatically.

    Additionally; you can forward your Delta statement and AW will parse it. Not sure if this will work for AA as a manually tracked program?

  13. Gary, you spent too much time writing that article and crying about it. Just write the AAdvantage numbers you need down. Or go fly with the other mentioned airlines since they make your life easier and American doesn’t.

  14. @JAXBA: “I visited easily because I could sign in through AwardWallet, and I commented on the AW blog every so often to get the 5 AA miles.’

    I see nothing stopping Award Wallet from issuing AA miles if they still have them to give away. My local burger joint gives away AA miles when you buy a cheeseburger.

  15. Well, I blame AW for failing to give us any notice at all. I now have to backtrack through a bunch of ticket numbers to get to the credits that aren’t a part of the online voucher process. With even 5 minutes notice I could have gone to the place I stored the numbers and let it go. Now I am totally disgusted with AW and will be finding another tracking plan.

  16. I cannot count the number of times American has made itinerary changes on seats,times and equipment where I have not been notified and each time they apologize and say they always send out email notifications. Just untrue. AW has saved me money,time and frustration on many occasions.l have signed onto AW to be added to the petition they are supposedly sending to American. I sincerely hope so because this move by American is contrary to their own self interest and just WRONG.

  17. I’m bummed by this move. AwardWallet is very efficient. It’ll suck not to see my aadvantage account on there.

    But, Gary, I think you’re wrong about one point. AwardWallet does store passwords. I can tell you I use multiple computers and devices to access award wallet and I am able to find my passwords for my various mileage/hotel points accounts on award wallet, AAdvantage included. That could be the issue here, or it could be something else. I have no idea. But AwardWallet for sure has my password to access my AAdvantage account.

  18. @Truthiness – AwardWallet stores passwords for some programs (though gives you the option to store them locally on your computer). They did not store AAdvantage passwords as part of their API access.

  19. @ RWK — Yeah, I’ve had a bunch of recent schedule changes where AA provided no notification. At least they were able to help after 2 hours on hold…

  20. I think AwardWallet is at fault here. They will not let you add any account with manual tracking. Either they track automatically or nothing at all. That was not the case before. Previously you could add a manual tracking account. I would not be surprised that other airlines follow American’s lead.

  21. This is very unfortunate and a customer-unfriendly move. I use AW to track miles for family members as well. Getting alerts from AW always drove me to visit for myself and helped me keep those family members regularly engaged with the AAdvantage program when they would not be otherwise.

    I also agree that AW has saved me multiple times when there was a schedule or seat change and neither AA nor ExpertFlyer generated an alert.

    I’ve signed the petition and contacted AA customer service. I hope AA and AW can reach some kind of agreement or workaround.

  22. Companies making it harder for consumers to actually use the benefits you accrue show their true colors. This is a typically bad decision customer unfriendly decision by management.

  23. This is even more draconian than United or Southwest
    At least for those 2, I can still store the info on AW and access them by clicking on the account
    My AA accounts have been removed from AW completely so even the numbers are lost!
    Idiots at AA

  24. ffi, that is why I blame AW for this. AA can’t possibly tell AW what to store, but only drop future access. AW is now my target of cancellation.

  25. @mark johnson So you actually think AW removed all the AA customer data proactively without being forced to do so by AA?

    If that’s the case, why do I still have a DL account in AW even though DL also refuses to let AW access customer data?

  26. Please tell me how AA can tell AW that they can’t display previously acceptable data on their website. Yes, I feel that AW didn’t give a tinkers damn about their customers and just took the easy way out.

  27. Ummm, they just call up their high- priced lawyers and threaten. That’s what companies like AA do best.

    The easy way out for AW was to just leave the customer data there and disable updates (like they did with DL).

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