Update 12/18/19: Another round of shut downs has been occurring over 12/17 and 12/18 with cancellation e-mails also going out. What is concerning is that we have one report of a person being shut down who didn’t use mailers. I’ll have a more detailed look at this later today.
Update 12/16/19: Shut down e-mails read as follows (keep in mind this e-mail is from December 5th):
A recent investigation has determined your involvement in multiple violations of the General AAdvantage Program Conditions, related to the accrual of ineligible miles and benefits, through fraud, misrepresentation and/or abuse of the AAdvantage Program. Additionally, it was determined that there are multiple violations to the AA Conditions of Carrier regarding Exploitive Practices related to your issuance of ineligible AAdvantage awards. Per the AAdvantage program governing terms:
- Fraud, misrepresentation, abuse or violation of applicable rules (including, but not limited to, American or American Eagle® conditions of carriage, tariffs and AAdvantage® program rules) is subject to administrative and/or legal action by appropriate governmental authorities and American Airlines. Such action may include, without limitation, the forfeiture of all award tickets and any accrued mileage in a member’s account, as well as termination of the account and the member’s future participation in the AAdvantage® program. If your account is terminated due to inappropriate conduct or while under investigation, you may not open a new AAdvantage® account or participate in the AAdvantage® Program in any capacity without obtaining the express written permission of American Airlines. In addition, American Airlines reserves the right to take appropriate legal action to recover damages, including its attorneys’ fees incurred in prosecuting any lawsuit.
From the conditions of carriage:
Your ticket is not valid when:
- We find that the ticket was bought using an exploitative practice
As such, we must now exercise our right to terminate AAdvantage account <your number>. All membership benefits associated with this account, including all remaining miles and issued award tickets, are forfeited, effective Dec 5, 2019. Award tickets obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, or violations of the AAdvantage Terms and Conditions and or Conditions of Carriage are not valid for travel. These tickets have been cancelled and you will need to make alternate arrangements for any upcoming travel plans.
Because it is clear from our investigation that you have been engaged in one or more violations of the General AAdvantage Program Conditions, any additional accounts in your name or that you control must also be terminated. All membership benefits associated with these accounts, including all remaining miles and unused tickets, are forfeited, effective Dec 5, 2019. You are no longer eligible to participate in the AAdvantage program.
Hat tip to saxonthebeach908
Update 12/12/19: Reports of another wave of shut downs occurring, people are being told about this when calling a specific number. It looks like when trying to make an award booking it won’t ticket either. I suspect people will be formally told in the coming days about this round of shut down. It doesn’t seem limited to people abusing physical mailers either. Some limited discussion going on in this reddit thread.
Original post: Recently we’ve seen a number of American Airlines loyalty members have their accounts shut down due to alleged credit card rewards ‘abuse’. I won’t go into specifics on the how the alleged ‘abuse’ has been carried out as I don’t think that will benefit anybody but it’s to do with Citi American Airline mailers. There are two main reasons why this crack down is occurring:
- American Airline pays for a portion of the new customer acquisition cost
- Some have been using this method and then selling the miles to brokers (strong held belief that this negatively impacts revenue premium seat flights that would otherwise be paid for in cash)
At this stage these shut downs are being handled by American Airline’s corporate security program. I expect a lot more shut downs to come, but hopefully I’m wrong about that. As far as I know at this stage it’s unclear what will happen to award tickets on shut down accounts that have already been booked. Progression seems to be as follows:
- Unable to access account
- Told to wait for contact from the Corporate Security program
- Asked for additional information
For what it’s worth corporate security is saying to be as honest as possible to save your account. American Airlines insider @xJonNYC is providing somewhat regular updates both on his Twitter and in this Flyertalk thread.