Exclusive: Bilt Rewards and American AAdvantage Partnership Terminates in June

Bilt Rewards and American AAdvantage are ending their partnership in June. That means it will no longer be possible to transfer Bilt points to American, although the exact last date in (presumably late) June for transfers is not yet certain. I received word yesterday about this plan and reached out to both American and Bilt for comment.

So how big a loss is this for Bilt?

  • I’ve never transferred Bilt points to American. There haven’t been any of those lucrative transfer bonuses like the up to 150% to Air Canada, Air France KLM and Virgin America that we’ve seen. I prefer to use my Bilt points at 1:2.5 than at 1:1.

  • Still, the ability to transfer to American was a unique offer from Bilt that isn’t replicated by programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, or Citi ThankYou Rewards.

    That’s because American Airlines doesn’t have any credit card transfer programs, and can’t outside of their co-brand banking partnerships, Bilt has a credit card but is a loyalty program in its own right rather than a credit card program. So they can have transfer partnerships outside of exclusive co-brand deals, much the same way that Marriott can.

  • Bilt still has United and Hyatt, not to mention Air Canada Aeroplan and Air France KLM and still within the oneworld alliance like American there’s British Airways, Iberia and Cathay Pacific. In total there are 15 transfer partners in addition to American AAdvantage. And Bilt points can still be spent at 1.25 cents apiece through their travel portal as well.

In other words, it’s the loss of a unique transfer partner that I’d be unlikely ever to use even if I didn’t already have a large AAdvantage balance. I suspect that the loss of that uniqueness will land more heavily for some of you.

I reached out to both Bilt Rewards and American about this upcoming change. American hasn’t yet responded, but I will update this post if they do. According to Bilt,

Bilt and American have agreed to wind down our partnership beginning in June. We appreciate everything we’ve been able to accomplish together since Bilt’s launch in 2021.

Bilt publicly announced in June 2021, so this would mean the partnership lasted three years. It’s unclear what’s driving the end at this point. American is in the process of re-negotiating its co-brand credit card deals. They also have a separate team negotiating partnerships (outside of the AAdvantage team that handles benefits and redemptions) with a mandate of maximizing revenue. I imagine that any renewal option would have been on challenging terms.

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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  1. Hi Gary– do you think Citi Thank You points will ever be transferable to American again? Been hoping for a long time that this would come back.

  2. Report on reddit that for a brief moment the other day, Alaska showed up in the Bilt app as a transfer partner (with logo). Have to imagine a new partnership with them has already been agreed upon and they are waiting to announce it.

  3. I’m a DFW captive, but AA is giving me more and more reasons to diversify my flying to UA/DL/SW. Status on AA has become all but worthless now when it comes to upgrades. I’ll make PP in my sleep, but chasing EP is just not something I’m going to do anymore.

  4. This isn’t a big deal when Bilt Rewards offered huge transfer bonuses on Rent Days. But for how long can Bilt Rewards afford to offer such transfer bonuses? Not for very long, IMO.

  5. It is AA’s loss. It was an opportunity to introduce BILT credit card holders to AA with the potential to snag them with their own cc offers.

    AA is printing miles like play money with the inevitable corresponding loss of value, if we aren’t there already.
    400,000 miles for a 6 hour business class flight ?

  6. Ugh, due to the stated limits that no one else transfers to AA except Bilt, I only signed up for Bilt with the hope to top off my AA miles if/when needed. (Not a Bilt cc holder, just play the Rent Day games for a few points here and there specifically to top off AA miles.) Huge bummer for me, but I guess not a huge deal in the end. I can always just order another Blue Apron box in the AA shopping portal, I guess!

  7. Either Citi/Barclays was mad that this was an end run around their “exclusive” AA relationship, or Citi is about to enter into an agreement with a bank that forbids this relatioship.

  8. AA was the only transfer partner I’ve ever used as it suits my use case of US to India redemptions at 40k points consistently with Qatar and Etihad. Will miss having them.

  9. Never forget that BILT founder Richard Kerr was a known purchaser of AA/Citi mailers back when the trAAin was alive. The Venmo receipt screenshots are common.

  10. @That BG Paul – Richard is an employee of Bilt, not a founder, and as far as I know had a good working relationship with American

  11. Bilt “agreed” to end the relationship with AA the same way I “agreed” to forego breakfast on the SLH stay I have booked in August.

  12. I hate seeing them lose AA. I don’t much care for United and Hyatt is overrated in my opinion. Having AA is what made them unique and one of the very reasons I got the Bilt card.

    I’ll dump most of my Bilt points over to AA before their relationship ends. I’m not keen on storing Bilt points on the off chance that they’ll do some rent day promotion to a carrier that most other card cards have as a transfer partner.

    As long as Amex continues to keep the MR printing machine going with the 150-250k Biz Gold/Platinum welcome offers, there will never be a transfer bonus to a foreign carrier that’s going to cause me to hoard Bilt points on the off chance they pick a partner that I may like.

  13. OUCH that hurts! Can always transfer to Hyatt with Chase so this was my main AA generator. Hopefully this means AA will switch to another relationship after leaving Bilt.

  14. Ooof. Having AA as transfer partner was huge as it opened up a segment of award availability that Amex and Chase holders can’t access. Unless Bilt can replace AA with another unique transfer partner not already covered by MR/UR, I suspect this is going to alter how much spend folks put on the Bilt card. I certainly will be reducing spend.

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