Award Wallet Implements Workaround to Continue Helping Members Utilize their American AAdvantage Accounts

Back in December, American Airlines forced Award Wallet to stop checking AAdvantage accounts, claiming that their servers contacting American’s were a violation of American’s website terms and conditions, and that storing member passwords and account information was as well.

The battle began to heat up in October or at least that’s when the Wall Street Journal reported on it.

Oddly enough, American lets Points.com do precisely those things. Of course American has a business relationship with Points.com. American would say that they ‘trust’ Points.com, though they don’t apparently have a formal program or certification standards. Further, Award Wallet is actually a partner of Points.com. That doesn’t seem to create concern for American in their trusting of Points.com, yet they still don’t want Award Wallet accessing their site. It’s suggestive that something else entirely is going on here.

American clearly wants to control the user experience. But American ain’t Apple. They’re creating roadblocks to their members to stay engaged in their program. Members will check their balances less and think about AAdvantage less if they can’t use the tools most convenient to them to do so. American seems to think bringing more members to their website will let them advertise and sell better to those members.

Fortunately, Award Wallet has developed a workaround. I’ve been using it for a few weeks, but realize that I’ve been negligent in failing to mention to folks that it’s out there and working. It’s a browser plug-in and it works when you access Award Wallet via either Google Chrome or Firefox (not yet Internet Explorer, I believe). The idea is that your password and account data will be stored on your own computer and it’s your broser and not Award Wallet’s servers that will access American AAdvantage, in order to comply with American’s legal threats. But the end user experience is virtually the same, you still see your American balance alongside all of the others and you still can get one-click login to your account.

The only difference I’ve noticed is that when your account balance changes, you don’t see that notification. Award Wallet doesn’t seem to know what your balance was different than the last time that it checked. A small item, but something I do miss.

Still, kudos to the Award Wallet folks for an ingenious solution to help members continue to get the most out of their miles and stay engaged in the AAdvantage program.

I’ve been using Award Wallet for over two years now and couldn’t be happier. Back in November I called it one of the eleven most useful travel sites. So anything that gets in the way of members making the most of it is certainly something I’m against.

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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Comments

  1. Hi! Just a heads-up the plug in does not work with the latest Firefox Version 9.0.1. Installed it yesterday and now the plug in doesn’t work

  2. @WN It’s been mentioned. Go to their website and ask in the support forums as they do maintain an official presence there.

  3. If AwardWallet is a partner of points.com, I wonder if they could get away with just scraping the AA balance from points.com for users who have accounts there. This would yield a slightly less up-to-date AA balance without accessing the AA site directly, and avoid the need for a plugin.

  4. Great workaround, almost there…
    Although awardwallet does appear to add in the AA amount for the total, they do not sort AA amounts. Since we have 200K each my wife and I are like seeing the account totals near the top when we sort.

    Thanks Mark

  5. American has bigger fish to fry, airlines are so lame to anger their customers over something so trivial…American gets delisted this week from the Stock Exchange and AA delists Awardwallet…what a messed up business model.

  6. For folks looking for a ‘ink’ — jus re-add the account and check it, you’ll be prompted to do everything you need to

  7. than kyou gary, one thing you may want to change, the word “Browser” is missing the “W” in the following passage.
    “The idea is that your password and account data will be stored on your own computer and it’s your broser and not Award Wallet’s servers that will access American AAdvantage, in order to comply with American’s legal threats.

    thank you

    Peter

  8. Reply to:
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    Tzukino

    Hi! Just a heads-up the plug in does not work with the latest Firefox Version 9.0.1. Installed it yesterday and now the plug in doesn’t work
    =========

    Indeed we had a problem and we addressed it but now you need to manually uninstall your old extension from Tools -> Add-ons, then try editing your AA account and it should prompt you to install the new version of the extension and i should work.

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