American Now Processes Their Own Buy/Gift Miles Transactions

US Airways and American both used to use to process purchase miles transactions.

That meant the transactions were charged by that third party, instead of the airline itself.

  • You would not earn bonus miles for an ‘airline’ or ‘travel’ transaction with your credit card.
  • With American, the third party process meant miles would take a couple of days to post

That’s changed (and it can’t be good for the folks at

American’s FAQ now explains that:

What will be reflected on my credit card statement when I receive my monthly bill?

Your statement transaction description will vary based on the type of payment:

  • American Express: “American Airlines 001-XXXXXXXXXX Description: Frequent Flyer Fee/Purchase”
  • Visa or Mastercard: “American Airlines 001XXXXXXXXXX Description: Misc”
  • All others: “American Airlines 001XXXXXXXXXX”
Is American Airlines charging my credit card?


How soon are purchased or gifted miles deposited into the AAdvantage account?

The miles are deposited immediately after the confirmation number is displayed.

That’s a big improvement for American AAdvantage members. For US Airways members… it’s a mixed bag.

  • You get the airline charging your card going forward, so bonus miles.
  • is no longer part of the relationship. And they were part of the reason the airline sold miles so cheaply, with Points buying the points in chunks at wholesale and reselling rather than taking a transaction fee.

It’s ultimately part of why the old way that US Airways sold miles at fire sale prices is over.

But it’s a process improvement nonetheless. And since how quickly the transaction will post, and whether it will earn bonus miles, are two of the most common questions that come up with every purchased miles bonus it seemed worth nothing the change.

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. The question is, will Amex Platinum refund me $200 worth of miles purchases if it is processed directly by AA?

  2. @RG I don’t see anything especially interesting there, care to share the insight you gleaned?

    (If it’s “buy miles and get your credit card airline fee credit to reimburse” that seems far less desirable than ‘buy airline gift cards’ since you’re still paying quite a lot for the miles… I wouldn’t buy miles with a reimbussable incidental credit at a price i wouldn’t pay for the miles)

  3. Just wanted to point out the flyertalk thread for this topic… Out of curiosity, where did you first hear of this?

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