American Pledges Up To 1 Million Business Extra Points For Minority-Owned Businesses, Non-Profits

American Airlines has a small business program, Business Extra, that gives points to businesses when their employees travel on the airline. This is separate from, and in addition to, the AAdvantage miles that travelers earn themselves.

The airline announced today that they are giving up to 1 million Business Extra points to minority-owned small businesses and also non-profits.

  • They will award 500,000 points “divided evenly between minority-owned small businesses and the airline’s Our Social Good program, which supports organizations that seek to improve stability, health and care for global citizens in need.”

  • And match an additional 500,000 points that may be donated by program member businesses

Business Extra points are more valuable than AAdvantage miles, since redemptions are generally lower-cost. A donation of 1 million points worth order of magnitude of about $100,000.

While donating points to others is a common feature of loyalty program, American says they’re the first to offer it in a small business program. Business Extra members can now gift points into a choice of (3) funds:

Small businesses that are members of the program (or join, this is also a program member acquisition drive…) can apply by July 31 to receive donated points which will be “awarded based on the amount of points requested, importance of travel to the business and the company’s plans for using any points received.”

CEO Doug Parker had a personal interaction with a Southwest Airlines flight attendant over race that went viral after he flew the airline and was carrying the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism which had been recommended by a board member months earlier, but that he’d put aside distracted by the coronavirus crisis.

Despite this great publicity, with the exit of Vice President for DFW Cedric Rockamore I was hard-pressed to think of a single African American in leadership at American Airlines aside from their Chief Diversity Officer. A spokesperson identifies two African American Vice Presidents in HR (Compensation and Benefits and Team Member Services), however, though no one in an airline role. They also point out that the airline recently announced more intentional recruiting and advancement.

I’m not suggesting that American Airlines is worse than other major U.S. airlines in this regard (the facts around the NAACP travel warning three years ago were suspect at best). In context, though, it doesn’t seem like donating points worth around $100,000 does much to signal in this area.

If you fly American Airlines and have a company you should sign up for the program they’ve been running a ‘take one flight, get a round trip’ offer for new program members.

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. Have had a Business ExtrAA account for years-can’t remember the last time I was actually able to use an upgrade from it, though. Just like the regular upgrades, these have been basically non-existent for a long time.

  2. Pandering. Discrimination against straight white men, aka normal people. Supporting a business not because it is any good or promising but because the owner is QUEER.

    Not like I needed another reason to avoid American Airlines, though.

  3. How is this not racial discrimination? And what about in Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, where a minority is a white person?

  4. This is offensive and amounts to racial discrimination, pure and simple. So much for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream.

  5. Awesome. Discrimination based on skin color, among other things. There’s a term for that…

  6. Jason is correct. It’s pandering. What about all the businesses and customers who have stood by AA through ups and downs? Gee thanks guys.

  7. Aerowhat – King’s dream is still alive. Bernice King said “We will not stop until reparations set us on a path to be free at last.” Based on DNA, it looks like Bernice owes reparations since she has European DNA.

    “WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For the children of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and social justice icon Marcus Garvey, DNA roots tracing has confirmed they have something genetically in common: Both their paternal ancestries trace to Europe; and both their maternal ancestries connect them directly to Africa., the pioneers of DNA-based ancestry tracing for African Americans, recently revealed the paternal roots of King and Garvey through their sons — Martin Luther King III and Dr. Julius Garvey respectively – during a special DNA Reveal Dinner hosted by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation’s African Policy Summit in Atlanta on Sept. 26, 2010.”

    In fact, most blacks today have some European DNA and all whites with European DNA have some African DNA going back to “Lucy’s” time.

  8. Really? Points for skin color or who someone chooses to share their bed with? Isn’t that EXACTLY what “people of color” and minorities say they are fighting against? Let’s consider all that and everything else
    “people of color” and minorities have been given by taxpayers over the years as their reparations for sins committed by people the taxpayers do not even know. I would never be rude to someone simply because of their skin color or choice of partner.
    However, I have returned rudeness to someone who was rude to me.
    Let’s call it even and move on with simply

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