Episode 32: How to Salvage Travel Plans After AA Account Shutdown

We’ve not put out a free episode of the Milenomics² podcast since last year–The success of the paid show led us to focus on the thriving community of Patreon subscribers.  Over on the Patreon page, and on the heels of the Shop Talk post we did about AA Account Shutdown issues, we’ve recorded a few paid shows on the topic of AA shutdowns as well.

I’m biased, but I do believe the paid podcast has hit a stride–a mix of long-form interviews between Robert and I, discussions of what we’re up to, hilarious mistakes we both make, tips and tricks that we’ve learned from each other and the Patreon Slack community. And, as you’ll see today, every once in awhile, and unexpected twist makes it onto the show.

Free Preview of the Paid Show

In an attempt to get this story in front of as many people as possible we’ve decided to take the unprecedented step of releasing this paid show here on the blog, and on the free podcast feed.

Show Notes:

While recording last week’s episode–just 2 days before Robert was scheduled to leave on AA tickets booked from his locked account we started recording this episode.

Along the way Robert identified possible ways to salvage this trip should the worst happen and AA shut down his account. We’ll outline 4 such possibilities at the top of the show–and then get into a discussion of some travel Robert did a few years ago where he had some issues with positioning flights.

And then, around 33:40 into the show just as we were ready to wrap up our second topic and move into a planned discussion Robert received an email from AA Corporate Security–shutting down his AAdvantage account. 

A few moments later Robert realized that the award seats he had booked for his Japan trip which was upcoming in less than 48 hours were also cancelled by AA.

Using the contingency plans discussed at the top of the show, and not wasting any time Robert races to try to re-book himself onto the same flight as the rest of his family, booked out of a separate AA account not shutdown.

Step through the agony of an AA shutdown, and stick around to see if AA is successful or not in spoiling a family vacation to Japan…. on today’s Milenomics² Podcast.


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About the author

- Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I'll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.


  1. Apologies if this was discussed elsewhere but I was wondering how much AA card churning had Robert done? There still doesn’t seem to be Much clarity on exactly what level causes a shut down

    1. There’s a lot of clarity at this stage–4 or more Citi Platinum sign up bonuses (combination of personal and business) in a two year period is pretty clearly the criteria being used by AA.

      1. Oh wow, didn’t realize that. Don’t know if anyone will have answers to this level of detail but I had some further questions:

        1. In terms of the two-year period, Are they using the date that the Miles posted to the AA account or the opening date of the credit card from Citibank?

        2. Are they using calendar years or is it a rolling 24 month period to calculate the two-year window?

        3. Early on in this process I had heard some people saying that they were even counting Barclays cards against you, is that true or not?

        4. Robert, has your account been frozen prior to shut down or you went straight from a normal account to a shut down?

        1. 1. Not sure on that, but it seems like date the bonus posted
          2. Rolling 24 months
          3. I think that’s true – they’re not discerning where the bonuses are coming from
          4. My account was locked mid-December, terminated mid-February

          1. Thanks for the follow-up. Where are you getting this info from / what’s the best up-to-date source of info? (I’d like to go read through the details further)

          2. One more thing I forgot to mention earlier: Are they continuing to take adverse action against previously un-impacted accounts everyday (i.e. are there datapoints of people that had functioning accounts on 2/15 and then were locked on 2/16 etc.)

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