There are many American AAdvantage members whose frequent flyer accounts were locked, starting late last year. Many of those accounts were closed, with pending award travel cancelled. This was because of taking advantage of a ‘loophole’ to sign up for multiple Citibank credit cards.
- Normally there are limits on how often you can get a single card and initial bonus on an AAdvantage Citi card.
- However new American Airlines frequent flyer accounts were being sent a mailer with a code to apply – and the application process bypassed these normal restrictions.
- So people were opening up new accounts, sometimes in the names of their pets, in order to generate mailer codes they could use.
Some people abused this in a big way, and even sold the miles. Others caught caught up in the dragnet who, in my view, didn’t actually do anything wrong. If they opened an account for their child (real person!) and used the code that came in the mail that specified no restrictions on who could use it I don’t think they really broke any rules. If Citi wanted to impose initial bonus restrictions on this application path, they should have done so.
Shocking to me, in response to this, the scammers have come out to take advantage of people whose accounts were placed under review.
I’ve long loved to push the envelope of what’s possible with miles and points, though always without breaking the rules. I’m often approached about buying or selling miles and I’ve never been willing to take part in that. One scammy company approached me several years ago with the following pitch,
We deal a lot with reward points, buying and selling.
Currently working with a lot of really large companys,
Our prices are very competitive, if this interests, you, we may be able to work something out.
Now they’re back with a new approach:
Now with business slow for us all, if your interested we can open up any accounts under audit.
We take a percent of the points , we have an approx 50% success rate , you can email back if interested
They say that they can convince airlines to unlock frequent flyer accounts that have been audited for breaking the rules, and they want the owners of those accounts to break the rules again by bartering half the miles they get back. That won’t end well.