[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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  1. When will these miles be shown as “earned” on the SimplyMiles site and posted to our AA accounts? I have my confirmation emails but show nothing on either site.

  2. LOL, until they decide you don’t deserve them. Then they will steal them all back. Thanks for pimping a shady company.

  3. Should I at least be showing some “transactions” in my account? I know it’s easy, but I’m a little concerned there has been no acknowledgement of any of my purchases.

  4. a tricky question…was unable to find an answer anywhere…I activated the Conservation International offer and then when I tried to make a donation, the charge wouldn’t go through(on an already existing card on simplymiles)…so assuming that the bank was denying it..I then proceeded to add a new master card to SimplyMiles and then made the donation using the newly added card….now will this qualify? …I know..this is not related to AA honoring 5xor not…but am wondering, if adding a card AFTER activating the offer, does not even qualify for any SM offer..then I might see and try if I can do anything about it..any input/suggestions…thanks in advance…i did email their customer service and am waiting for a reply….

  5. @KS – if you linked a card to simplymiles, and made the transaction after you had linked that card and activated that offer, you should be eligible

  6. This was a pure marketing ploy plain and simple. I bet 90% of people weren’t targeted. Of the 10% who were, 2% are blog readers, and 10% of those actually took advantage. Meanwhile thousands signed up for SimplyMiles.

  7. I made three purchases (Winc, Best Buy, Teleflora) since I didn’t have the conservation donation offer. I don’t have any email confirmations nor does it show in miles earned page. 🙁

  8. @Gary Leff,

    Thank you for keeping us updated. This is indeed amazing progress (will wait to see it to believe it!).

    So, am I reading too much between the lines here …

    You wrote that AA told you …” We are pleased to credit AAdvantage accounts with miles for those customers who *** activated the SimplyMiles 5X promotion *** ”

    Now, there was no choice to ACTIVATE the 5x promo. lol. It was valid on all visible offers in one’s account.

  9. @JonNYC While I don’t think it makes you crazy, it is in fact $0.0042 which is about 4/10 of a cent per mile and a great deal. $0.042 is 4.2 cents/mile which would be very bad.

  10. @Gary – What about activating the offer, adding a card, but the donation email came through at 11 AM CDT when the site was being take offline? It feels like they should at least honor transactions up until they added the promotion ending banner.

  11. of course Best Buy charged $100 and $100, I think that probably doesn’t qualify, but it’s for the same transaction!!!

  12. Great and fair response by Mastercard and AA. So excited that it worked out. Any idea when the miles will be deposited into AA account?

  13. @ Mary Jane — Someone mentioned $52,000. I’ve heard rumors of $40,000, $31,000 and $30,000 as well. I would bet that there are some 6-figure donations out there that don’t begin with a 1.

  14. One thing to keep in mind is that some offers said they would post within 2 to 3 business days while offers like the conservation place said 6 to 8 weeks so I’d look for these by the end of January. Also if you got screwed like BestBuy splitting the charge, etc. you might need to fight for those. The other thing this tells me that is that the original offer basically said “until they run out of miles to give away” but in reality, they just picked a random time and date. They don’t even know the damages yet.
    I am happy they are honoring it and from a marketing standpoint, I think it works for them. What I expect to see is reduced award availability due to newly minted “millionaires” and a devaluation is coming very very soon.
    I never thought I’d see an offer that trumps the old US Air Grand Slam promo. Fun times.

  15. I made donation Monday night and my >$200 Best Buy purchase Tuesday morning at 9:45am CST so I should be good but I’ll still be nervous until I see the miles post. Thanks for the update Gary.

  16. Thanks Gary! It is my best Christmas present!

    I am expecting 11,280,000 miles across 5 accounts in my family. This bet, I mean donation, of $47,000 is fantastic!

  17. Holy cow! I expected lots of several hundred dollar “donations”, but these $10-50,000 “donations” is surprising. Would love to find out how much Conservation International received December 12-14!

  18. Fingers crossed. Will be happy when miles actually appear. I shot for like 1.5m miles. When you have a family of five you need those miles!!!

  19. Thank you Gary! I wouldn’t have donated without you confirming with your AA source. This is amazing!

  20. In other news, a one- way economy ticket from IAH-DFW on AA is now 1 billion miles. Go figure.

    At least I still have lounge entry for 33 to abuse.

  21. Clearly, this one was in a blind spot for AA and Mastercard. We can be certain that they will peruse the offers before launching another 5X bonus. That being said, let’s give credit to AA and Mastercard for stepping up and honoring the transactions. And, let’s thank Gary for tipping us off.

    Given all of the positives in this story, to those offering negative comments, you sound like the type of entitled millennial who I’ve always fired. Check your attitude.

  22. Echoing Cooper: many thanks, Gary, first for confirming the initial offer which tipped me over the edge to going in on this, and second for breaking this news which gives me a lot of relief after the past couple of days. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  23. @Gene – off the top of my head (memory) five years ago they had > 850 billion miles outstanding, I didn’t go check the numbers but yes they almost certainly do.

  24. @ Gary — Thanks. That should mean that the inflationary effect from this promotion should be “transitory.”

  25. Has anyone had a qualifying transaction? My account still states no qualifying transaction.

  26. DJ — The specific offer’s terms and conditions said “up to 8 weeks.”

    It’s sort of like missing the Great Pumpkin and having to wait two months for Santa.

  27. Can’t wait for OMAAT to continue to brag (like Georgie) about how “fortunate” enough he is to be liquid enough to buy $50k+ worth (personally got in but not divulging). Still not as vomit inducing as the smore campfire at Alila Ventana Big Sur where everyone tries to “one-up” each other on how much they travel…

  28. Is there an alternate way to get ahold of SimplyMiles than the Contact Us form on the webpage. I had a question about my transaction, but every time I try to submit the form, it gives me an “Access Denied” page on every device and browser I use.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated!

  29. Where are we at the the .0042 cents per mile. Do we call our credit card companies and claim that $1000 back or are we getting the miles SOON? When are we getting the miles???

  30. Bonus points are posting fine for 12/12 and 12/13 but not for 12/14 transactions. Hopefully, it is just due to some additional review because of the 10 AM CST cutoff that day.

  31. Yikes mine is showing the prebonus amount despite making the cutoff by 1.5 hrs. Hopefully they correct this.

  32. Thanks for all the work you put into this Gary, I would not have participated had it not been for your research.

  33. You donated $28,000 ?? wow! TBH you bough yourself travel on first class for the rest of your life lol

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