Loyalty & Rewards

American Airlines And Citi Crack Down On Account Abuse

airline rewards cards

Citi and American Airlines have cracked down on customers they say are abusing the airline’s rewards program, signing up for multiple accounts fraudulently just to get airline miles, according to a report by Bloomberg

The move has a number of customers taking to social media to complain, saying that they were incorrectly targeted by the campaign. There are others who sign up for multiple cards as a hobby and take advantage of the offers, and they have been complaining as well.

Some people will open multiple accounts with AAdvantage, using a fraudulent name and a false email address, and then accept an offer for a Citi credit card, which could come with a perk of as many as 70,000 miles.

Some customers’ accounts were locked because they responded to multiple offers from the company.

“We regularly monitor AAdvantage account activity and take appropriate action when we find cases where the member has violated our program policies or American’s conditions of carriage,” said Susannah Wesley-Ahlschwede, a spokeswoman for American Airlines Group Inc. “There is no recent change to our approach.”

A Citigroup spokesperson also said it hasn’t changed the way it approaches fraud. The company sometimes disallows a customer from getting a bonus if they’ve already collected one in the last four years.

One man said he found out through an email that his account with AAdvantage had been closed, and that some flights he booked a year in advance were no longer happening. American said he got his flight rewards through an “exploitative practice.”

The man, Kaden Stern, said he got the offers from people who were selling codes meant for potential customers, and that there was nothing that said the codes were not transferable. 

“I know I’m not innocent, but I don’t think the way they’re doing it is the way it should be done,” Stern said. “Those sign-up bonuses weren’t supposed to be gotten, but the rules didn’t say I couldn’t.”



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.