This is the much delayed third in a string of posts on Small Business Travel Rewards Programs. I encourage you to check out posts on United’s PerksPlus program if you fly United, Lufthansa, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, or Swiss, and Delta’s SkyBonus Rewards if you fly Delta, Air France, KLM, or Alitalia.
American Airlines’ Business Extra program is a small and mid-sized business travel rewards and incentive program. American markets it mostly as a way for businesses to reduce travel costs, but I would think that using the earned points as employee incentives would go a long way with little to no cost.
Businesses earn Business Extra points (different from AAdvantage miles), for travel: American Airlines, American Eagle, US Airways, US Airways Express, as well as AA codeshare flights operated by British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, and Qantas Airways.
Two Business Extra points are earned for every $10 spent on eligible flights. The ratio of earning points isn’t necessarily as good as Delta’s SkyBonus program or United’s PerksPlus program, but,there is also less complexity in the program (e.g. you don’t have to worry about fare codes, are you flying to or from a hub, is it a Tuesday instead of a Monday, etc.) The terms and conditions do state that the calculation excludes taxes, surcharges, passenger facility charges, security fees, and service charges, so figure that into the equation. Points also expire on December 31, two calendar years after points earned. So, points earned in 2014 will expire in 2016, regardless of whether you earned them in February or November.
American’s Business Extra makes redeeming the points very easy via their website. Here’s what your points get you:
- Award tickets in economy, business, or first on American Airlines Operated flights
- Admirals Club Day Passes and Membership
- AAdvantage Gold Status
You can check out the full redemption chart here, but I’ve summarized the meat of the redemption chart below:
Business Extra also offers Upgrades:
As well as some additional perks:
My small business has been a member with Business Extra for a couple of years now, although I have yet to redeem for an award. I think the selections are pretty nice, whether for an employee or the business owner.
Qualifying and Signing Up
Now that I’ve gotten you interested in Business Extra, here’s how you qualify for the program. Small or mid-sized companies can participate if they have at least 2 travelers. Of course the company can’t have a corporate sales agreement, discount or other agreement with American Airlines. Much like American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, its about as good as I think you’re going to find in the current environment (ok, that’s a little biased, as an AA Executive Platinum).
You can enroll with no fee here, and will need to designate a travel manager or two. As I mentioned above, points expire, December 31st, 2 years from earning.
Ultimately, anytime you can leverage complimentary programs, such as this American Airlines’ Business Extra Small Business Travel Rewards program, you can generate greater value from travel that you (most likely) already going to fly.