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Travel is the lifeblood of airlines, so carriers try to incentivize companies by offering business loyalty programs. American Airlines' small-business program is called Business Extra, and it allows companies to earn rewards points when booking travel for their employees.
The American Airlines Business Extra program is a good opportunity for smaller companies to earn rewards for booking business travel. That’s because the minimum number of employees a company needs to participate in the program is three.
Employees will benefit because they can earn miles and elite status for themselves while small-business owners can effectively double-dip on earning on flights.
What is the American Airlines Business Extra program?
Business Extra is America’s loyalty program for small businesses of three or more employees. When small businesses book travel for their employees, the employees earn AAdvantage miles and the company earns points that can be redeemed for rewards.
The points earned by the company can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades, AAdvantage miles, elite status (Gold or Platinum), Admirals Club membership or passes and carbon offsets.
Is your small business eligible for Business Extra?
There are two eligibility requirements for American Airlines Business Extra: business size and location. Both are reasonable.
Companies with three or more employees can qualify, provided that the company doesn’t already have a corporate sales agreement with American Airlines, American Eagle, British Airways or Iberia. That makes Business Extra great for those with a very small business. The business must be located in the U.S., Canada, Anguilla, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Hong Kong, Mexico, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent or South Korea.
Similar to United Airlines' and Delta Air Line’s small-business program, you will have to spend $5,000 on American Airlines travel to start redeeming Business Extra points.
How to log in to Business Extra
Enroll and log in to your Business Extra account to take advantage of the program. To enroll as a Business Extra travel manager, you’ll need to have an AAdvantage account. That’s because Business Extra uses the business manager’s AAdvantage log-in information.
Once you have your AAdvantage account, start here by entering your country, name, email address and any applicable referral code. On the next screen, you’ll need to enter your business name, website and address. Next, enter your contact information, job title and AAdvantage account.
To prove you’re really a business, you may need to submit documents like your Employer Identification Number, articles of incorporation, a partnership agreement or a valid business name registration certificate. You can find a list of documents the program accepts in the Business Extra FAQs.
Business Extra Promo Code
Business Extra sometimes offers incentives for small businesses to join. In a 2020 promotion, for example, small businesses could earn 2,000 bonus points by signing up with a promo code and taking a flight before June 30, 2020.
So before you enroll, check to see if there are any promo codes.
How to earn points in the Business Extra program
Business Extra members earn 1 point for every $5 spent on flights on American, British Airways, Iberia and Japan Airlines, as well as codeshare flights on Finnair and Qantas. These points are separate from traditional AAdvantage miles, which individual flyers will still earn, while a company will earn Business Extra points for those same flights.
The easiest way for a company to earn points from employee flights is by asking employees to add their Business Extra number to their AAdvantage account profile.
After that’s done, the Business Extra account number will be auto-filled when employees complete bookings on the American Airlines website. If employees book an American flight through another website, they can \ add their Business Extra account number before the flight by calling AA’s Business Extra phone number (800-457-7072) and asking an agent to add the number to the record locator.
Points are usually posted within two or three days of the flight. If employees forget to add the Business Extra number before their flight, they can submit a manual request for any flights taken within the past 12 months.
Companies can also earn Business Extra points from cargo shipments as long as they meet certain booking requirements. And companies will earn 1 Business Extra point per $20 of eligible spending on the American Express® / Business Extra® Corporate Card.
Business Extra points expire at the end of the year two calendar years after they’re earned. That means any points earned in 2022 will be valid through Dec. 31, 2024. There’s no way of extending the validity of Business Extra points, so they must be redeemed before they expire.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best travel credit cards for business
How to use Business Extra points
Once a company has collected enough Business Extra points, they can be redeemed for free flights, flight upgrades, AAdvantage miles, Admirals Club memberships or lounge passes, elite status (Gold or Platinum) or carbon offsets.
Once a company has spent at least $5,000 on qualifying flights, the points can be redeemed for rewards. Here are the seven ways to redeem Business Extra points.
1. Using points for free flights
There are three types of flight awards: PlanAhead, Anytime and Partner awards, and each award type costs a different amount of points. All awards are priced based on a roundtrip ticket. Here is the minimum number of points required for each award type:
PlanAhead awards are the cheapest and limited in availability. Since Business Extra members earn 1 point for every $5 spent, a company would have to spend $10,000 on employee travel to accumulate 2,000 points.
The full list of flight award prices and options is available on the Business Extra website. While you can redeem points for one-way flights, they will still cost the round-trip award price. You won’t be able to use the return portion for a future flight.
You can redeem points toward flights two different ways. If there’s award availability at the time you want to redeem points for a flight, you can book the flight on the Business Extra website.
Here’s an example of a roundtrip flight from Atlanta to Santiago, Chile for 4,400 Business Extra points.
If you need to change or cancel your flight, there are a couple of factors to account for. A change fee will apply if your award flight is a PlanAhead award. Those with AAnytime awards will be able to skip the fee when making changes. If you’ve redeemed points and purchased a ticket but need to cancel to get your points back, the same fee policy is applied.
2. Using points for award certificates
The other flight redemption option is to use points for award certificates. These certificates are valid for a year. You can use the certificate to book flights up to 330 days in advance. That makes these certificates the way to go if you need to redeem expiring points but you don’t yet know when you’ll travel.
Generally, elite upgrade certificates cannot be applied to Business Extra flights. However, top-tier Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members can apply 500-mile upgrades to eligible flights.
3. Redeeming Business Extra points for upgrades
Business Extra members can also redeem points toward flight upgrades. There are three options.
The domestic upgrade awards (designated by the code BXP1) are popular due to their low cost and the ability to apply this upgrade to flights such as American’s coast-to-coast lie-flat business class flights and flights to Hawaii. However, neither domestic nor international upgrade certificates are valid toward bookings into the cheapest fare classes (those with the code B, N, O, Q or S).
Upgrades may only be applied after the ticket is issued, require available upgrade space and are valid for one year after issuance.
4. Redeeming Business Extra points for an Admirals Club membership or lounge passes
Business Extra members can redeem 300 points for a one-day pass to an Admirals Club (code BXP7) or 3,300 points for a one-year membership to the Admirals Club (code BXP8).
When you redeem points for lounge passes, you have to designate which traveler will be using them. The passes aren’t transferable.
» Learn more: Different ways to access Admirals Club lounges
5. Redeeming Business Extra points for AAdvantage Gold or Platinum elite status
Members can even redeem points to get elite status. Your business can redeem 3,200 or 6,600 Business Extra points to gift someone AAdvantage Gold or Platinum elite status, respectively.
Gold status comes with one free checked bag on American Airlines flights, 24-hour upgrade window, complimentary upgrades on flights under 500 miles in length, 40% bonus miles on flights, complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats at check-in and complimentary Preferred Seats.
Platinum status includes everything from Gold status, as well as a 48-hour upgrade window, 60% bonus miles on flights and two free checked bags.
» Learn more: Guide to American Airlines elite status
6. Redeeming Business Extra points for AAdvantage miles
You can also convert Business Extra points into AAdvantage miles. The transfer ratio is 1 Business Extra point : 6 AAdvantage miles. The minimum number of points needed is 100 points, which would become 600 AAdvantage miles.
» Learn more: Is an American credit card worth it?
7. Using points to offset carbon emissions
American has partnered with nonprofit Cool Effect to help customers use their points to offset carbon emissions from their flights. Points redeemed for Cool Effect will be used to support carbon reduction projects.
You can redeem points in increments of 300 for a carbon offset award certificate.
» Learn more: How to maximize rewards for business travel
Final thoughts on American Airlines Business Extra
American Airlines’ Business Extra program is a great way for small businesses to be rewarded for employee business travel. With rewards ranging from Admirals Club lounge passes to free flights around the world, the program is a good choice if you have three or more employees and spend about $5,000 per year on business travel.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card