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I’ve written in the past about which airline and hotel loyalty programs process points purchases directly.
When you buy points directly from an airline or hotel, they’re often processed by points.com, which acts as the third party in these transactions. While the points.com interface is quite easy to use, the downside is that the purchase is processed by them as well. That means the purchase wouldn’t qualify as airline or hotel spend as far as your credit card is concerned.
Conversely, some loyalty programs process points purchases directly. For example, Avianca’s LifeMiles program processes points purchases directly, and that means when you buy miles with them you earn bonus miles as if it’s airfare.
American now processes points purchases directly
Historically American AAdvantage has processed mileage purchases through points.com, though they’re now processing them directly. This has two major implications:
- Mileage purchases will now qualify as airfare for the purposes of credit card spend
- Mileage purchases will post to your account instantly, as opposed to taking a few days
Here are the FAQ’s on the new way they process mileage purchases:
What will be reflected on my credit card statement when I receive my monthly bill?
Your statement transaction description will vary based on the type of payment:
American Express: “American Airlines 001-XXXXXXXXXX Description: Frequent Flyer Fee/Purchase”
Visa or Mastercard: “American Airlines 001XXXXXXXXXX Description: Misc”
All others: “American Airlines 001XXXXXXXXXX”
Is American Airlines charging my credit card?
How soon are purchased or gifted miles deposited into the AAdvantage account?
The miles are deposited immediately after the confirmation number is displayed.
Which credit card should you use to purchase AAdvantage miles?
Since this is great news for the purposes of buying miles with credit cards, which should you now use to purchase American AAdvantage miles?
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card — 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® — 2x AAdvantage miles per dollar spent
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® — 2x AAdvantage miles per dollar spent
- US Airways Premier World MasterCard® — 2x Dividend Miles per dollar spent
Previously this would only qualify as “base” spend, so thanks to this change in processing you’re potentially getting a few percent better “return” than before on points purchases on your credit card. For the time being US Airways mileage purchases are still being processed by points.com.
As a reminder, both American AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles are offering bonuses on purchased miles through January 2, 2015.
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)