Award Wallet is my favorite website for tracking miles and points. Instead of obsessively checking all of my mileage balance individually, I can obsessively check all my balances in one place. 😉
Back in December I wrote about American demanding that Award Wallet stop tracking AAdvantage accounts. They claimed it was due to security concerns over Award Wallet storing passwords to mileage accounts, though I suspect it had a lot more to do with American wanting customers to visit aa.com so they can hopefully extract some revenue out of them, as opposed to going to Award Wallet instead.
Award Wallet had a creative solution to this problem by creating a browser extension whereby you could store your password on your computer, and then when you check your account balances with Award Wallet it would open up your AAdvantage homepage for you, which displays your balance. It was a creative solution on the part of Award Wallet, and you would have thought all parties would be pleased with the solution — Award Wallet was no longer storing AAdvantage numbers and passwords, while consumers still had an easier way to check their account balances.
Well, I just got an email from Award Wallet, which reads as follows:
We regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing support for the AwardWallet browser extension on February 25, 2012. This means that you will no longer be able to track your American Airlines related information (balance, status, etc.) on AwardWallet.com. We have been forced to take this action by American Airlines’ stance toward AwardWallet. We created the browser extension in order to address American Airlines’ concern that AwardWallet was collecting customers’ mileage data. We believe the extension addressed this concern because it simply collected your mileage data and stored it locally on your computer. American Airlines, however, objects to the extension. It’s position appears to be that AwardWallet is prohibited from providing any software tool that facilitates the ability to track the customer’s American Airlines’ mileage information. We think this is unfortunate.
If you have any questions about this matter please do not reply to this email, instead lets have a discussion in the forum:
Please make a note of your AAdvantage number and password as you will not be able to see it on AwardWallet.com after we make this change.
Thank you for your continued support of Awardwallet.com!
Now this is really disappointing on the part of American. Thumbs up to Award Wallet for trying to come up with a creative solution, though thumbs down to American for wanting to make it more difficult to track our miles. I do wonder what their justification for this is? Surely not privacy concerns, since with the browser extension AAdvantage members are storing their passwords on their computers and not with Award Wallet.
Update: An American Airlines spokesman sends along the following explanation:
· Upholding its long-held stance on how third-party websites access proprietary AAdvantage member details is just one of the ways American protects the benefits afforded through the AAdvantage program.
· Because travelers’ AAdvantage account numbers and passwords can be used to claim AAdvantage mileage awards out of their accounts and access personal details, American will always protect this information.
· Security is chief among our points of consideration when we make decisions regarding the sharing of our customers’ data with third-party websites
· We simply cannot permit websites that have not satisfied our security requirements the access needed to track AAdvantage balances or any other function that is otherwise secured behind AA.com login credentials.
· Consistent with these principles, it is worth noting that Points.com, an AAdvantage participant, allows many of the same types of services as other mileage tracker websites – but has fully satisfied our rigorous security requirements.
· We are also in the process of qualifying a number of other mileage tracker websites.