[SIMPLYMILES GONE AGAIN!]: AAdvantage Miles @ $0.0042 Apiece

Update: 12/29/21 1:02 p.m. Eastern: Gone ahead. Don’t worry. They clearly have the miles data, but didn’t load all of it since there were reports of missing transactions (that were there the first time). If I had to guess – and I did not check with American – they need to remove the data, check it, and reload. I am confident this will get sorted out.

Update: 12/29/21 7:54 a.m. Eastern: Per several commenters Tuesday morning Conservation International transactions which took place before the offer was pulled are now showing up with bonuses. However purchases from other vendors done before the cutoff, but that posted with later transaction dates, do not. Still interested in more data points – thank you!

Update: 12/29/21 6:37 a.m. Eastern: And miles are back in SimplyMiles accounts (not yet in AAdvantage accounts at aa.com).

Curious to hear from readers whether Tuesday morning transactions are reflected now, and whether any transactions with merchants other than Conservation International done while the promo was alive but that posted with dates after it ended have received bonuses?

Update: 12/27/21 7:48 p.m. Eastern: And just like that miles have disappeared. I am not panicking. The fact that they posted the miles suggests they have the data! They didn’t post Tuesday morning transactions initially even though they had promised to honor the deal up until the time it was officially pulled. (And some transactions that were done prior to the deal being pulled – for things other than the charity offer – posted with later dates without the bonus.)

I’m confident miles will come back, hopefully fixing some of the initial problems. Let’s all see what materializes on Tuesday.

Update: 12/27/21: I’ve been checking my account every day, sometimes twice a day – usually first thing in the morning (in case anything posted overnight) and then again midday. Miles are finally showing up as pending on the SimplyMiles site! The miles don’t show up in your AAdvantage account yet. That’s fine. That’ll take days or weeks. But this is real progress.



The deal of the year allowed you to buy American AAdvantage miles for less than half a cent apiece, which is unprecedented – taking advantage of an opportunity to earn 40 miles per dollar on a donation to Conservation International through Mastercard, combined with an end of year quintuple miles bonus – together that meant earning 240 miles per dollar spent. See this post for full details.

The response was huge. The deal was supposed to last through December 27th or “while supplies last.” It was shut down mere days after launch, on Tuesday morning December 14th.

Initially American Airlines put up a notice saying they were honoring transactions through Sunday night – even though they’d continued to promote the offer for nearly a day and a half after that. That notice was taken down. And we’ve had to wait while American and Mastercard, who partner on SimplyMiles, worked out what to do.

Good news. It took a little bit of time, but American Airlines shared with me that the deal will be fully honored for transactions made through the point at which they took down the offer.

We are pleased to credit AAdvantage accounts with miles for those customers who activated the SimplyMiles 5X promotion and made purchases and donations by 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. We are excited that members are able to use the SimplyMiles platform to earn AAdvantage miles on every day purchases.

Congratulations to everyone who got in on this deal. It’s hard to overstate just how incredible this offer was. And kudos to American Airlines and Mastercard for honoring the offer made to customers even if it might have been considered “too good to be true.”

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. Thanks Gary. My points posted back to Simply Miles but no to AA yet. None of my other purchases have shown up ouside of Conservation International.

  2. Presumptuous to assume this was a “mistake” offer considering what Gary reported back from his initial inquiry with AA. The scale may have been a bit of a surprise but unlikely IMHO.

    Data: 504k posted to SM – all earnings, bonus & dates (all 12/13) for my 4 CI donations correct in the miles earned ledger. Only used the CI offer. Used two different cards: Aviator Red & Citi DC.

    Got my World Cup outbound tickets to Doha in J on hold for myself & My Better .5 with AA/IB/RJ, waiting for the miles to post to redeem. Sadly but unsurprisingly no QR or EY J availability (yet?!). LOL @ first world problems…

  3. @Peter – I am not a tax lawyer or CPA, but in my view the value of the miles represents a quid pro quo for the contribution (so you’d have to reduce your deduction by the value of what you receive) and this moots out any tax benefit.

    I’m also not sure that the timing of when you receive the miles matters, since you’re promised something in exchange for the gift – when they fulfill doesn’t seem to control.

    Again, not offering you tax advice – but I have worked in non-profit finance for 20 years.

  4. Small potatoes compared to most — didn’t have a simplymiles acct earlier, so only had the lower level deals available. Made purchase thru Best Buy on 12/12 — shipped on 12/14 — base miles posted today, but not bonus miles. SimplyMiles says it tracked on 12/14, which is in alignment with when it posted at Citi. Not going to spend much time to fight for a few thousand miles, just thought I’d add in a data point.

  5. Thanks Gary. I was wondering if the final transfer of these miles to AA FF accounts was somehow advantageous for MasterCard to do before Jan 1 from their perspective.

  6. My 240k (from $1k donation) from conservation international (and 1500 earned via CVS) posted, then unposted, and now on 12/29 they have reposted.

  7. Peter, AA itself would not receive a tax benefit from this promotion. Even if it did, as corporations pay tax quarterly, it would only be a timing benefit of three months. And, this is such small peanuts in its overall picture, it’s not worth the effort.

  8. Data Point: All expected miles including the bonus for transactions on 12/14 were there posted to SimplyMiles this morning and have now been un-posted again.

  9. Gary,

    Points were there this AM and then Walla they are no gone. Any idea what’s going on here?? Anyone else have this issue?

  10. Going to be interesting to see if the AA RAT team jumps on this. They have in the past, I don’t see any reason they won’t again.

  11. My purchase with Conservation International was executed on 12/13/21 @ 12:33 CST according to the confirmation email that I received. But on the SimplyMiles website, it still say 0 miles and “You currently have no qualifying transactions” when I login and check my Transaction History. To the best of my knowledge, the miles/transaction were not removed yesterday, but rather never showed up ever. I guess I should reach out to customer service?

  12. My 240k (from $1k donation) from conservation international (and 1500 earned via CVS) posted, then unposted, and now on 12/29 they have reposted.’

    The Exact same thing happened to me. BTW, I’m now kicking myself for not having donated more than 700 bux. SIGH. Lesson Learned. And there were some other killer offers on there. Live and Learn.

  13. 11:20pm Pacific: CI miles just posted to my AA account while I was booking the LAX-BOG biz sale. They’re about 100k short. Nothing on the SM earnings ledger. Who cares if they’re in my AA account. Progress!

  14. Just wanted to post… checked my AAdvantage account just now 2:50a EST and all my miles have posted. Didn’t even check Simply Miles first… figured I’d just open the app. Great to see this posted so fast. Thank you so much Gary for alerting to this, I felt comfortable taking the “risk” with this donation because enough attention was going to be paid to it that I felt it reasonable AA would play fair. Didn’t go crazy, bought w humble amount of miles in comparison, but wonderful to have w nice doubling of my AAdvantage miles to spread around now for the next few years.

  15. Some points posted to AA at 1:00am central… I’m still 60K short of bonus points, not all posted???

  16. Ironically AA’s system is not showing other info right now, like my 500 mile upgrades and my Travel credits in my wallet aren’t there. But I got all the miles from the CI and Target promos posted so I’m happy.

  17. Hey Gary, are you aware of many readers who have not yet received their bonus miles from the AA/SimplyMiles 40x promotion? I made a SimplyMiles Conservation International (240x) purchase with my MasterCard on December 13, 2021, while the promotion was still ongoing, and got an email confirmation of the purchase immediately. But I still have only seen the base 1,000 miles credited to my AA account, and none of the bonus miles totaling 240,000 miles. I’ve submitted a couple of inquiries to SimplyMiles through their online contact form (where they promise 48-hour response time), and haven’t received a response.
    I’m not sure if this is worth a follow-up post on your site, but I’m wondering how many people are in the same boat.

  18. @Larry, same boat here. Sent a support message to SimplyMiles, but no response yet. I bought on 12/13, 11:57 PST. No miles posted anywhere yet, so wondering if there’s any place to follow up on this.

  19. @Nash D — I’m in the same boat as you; nothing at all has posted yet and I’ve been ghosted by Simply Miles. I’ve reached out to AA and MasterCard as well and have gotten the run around from both of them. I feel pretty stuck here.

  20. “ We are pleased to credit AAdvantage accounts with miles for those customers who activated the SimplyMiles 5X promotion and made purchases and donations by 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday, December 14, 2021” This is simply not true. Simplymiles will not even respond regarding my Best Buy purchase from 12/14 9:45am CT that posted to Simplymiles but no 5X bonus. 12.5K miles down the drain. This is after several attempts to reach out via their customer support. No response. Not even a ‘go pound sand response.

  21. @Nick @Tom Not much of an update here, but I did email them a couple of times, and received a response saying they have opened a case on my behalf to have the “technical team” look into it, but that has been about a month ago. I’m following up every couple of weeks or so to see if there are any updates, but nothing has posted to my account yet. Fingers crossed that they’re still looking into it and hope that this gets resolved.

    @Gary – is it possible for you to re-surface this up with AA and SimplyMiles on our behalf? I’m sure there are a lot more people in the same situation who haven’t received anything and might have given up on this already. I’m sure we could spin up a sheet with people’s info to send their way.

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