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The miles and points game is changing for sure. I’ve previously written about how banks are leveraging technology in order to crack down on certain types of behavior. A common reason that’s being cited is ‘credit card reward abuse’. However, how do banks or travel companies determine this? A lot of times they add the details in the terms and condition of the program. In other cases, certain companies tend to be extra vigilant in monitoring suspicious activity and even shutting down customer accounts.

Also ReadAfter Amex, Chase shutdown data points emerge

Card Rewards Abuse Notice

Doctor of Credit and multiple Reddit users have reported incidents where American Airlines is getting in touch with customers to inform them about these transgressions. Doctor of Credit’s post outlines the key piece in the letter:

A recent investigation has determined your involvement in multiple violations of the General AAdvantage Program Conditions, related to the accrual of ineligible miles and benefits, through fraud, misrepresentation and/or abuse of the AAdvantage Program. Additionally, it was determined that there are multiple violations to the AA Conditions of Carrier regarding Exploitive Practices related to your issuance of ineligible AAdvantage awards.

AA follows this by outlining the full terms and conditions. In the end, AA states the action they’re taking since they determine that you indulged in credit card rewards abuse.

As such, we must now exercise our right to terminate AAdvantage account <your number>. All membership benefits associated with this account, including all remaining miles and issued award tickets, are forfeited, effective Dec 5, 2019. Award tickets obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, or violations of the AAdvantage Terms and Conditions and or Conditions of Carriage are not valid for travel. These tickets have been cancelled and you will need to make alternate arrangements for any upcoming travel plans.

Analysis

I find the use of the term ‘exploitative practice’ pretty interesting. Clearly, AA determines that you’re abusing card rewards by applying for offer that you weren’t supposed to get. This follows pretty closely on the heels of account shutdown reports earlier during the month.

While there could be more, but most likely AA is going after customers for abusing the AA Mailer trick. AA Corporate Security is also in the process of contacting customers whose accounts have been locked or shut down. In certain cases, customers have reported that their award bookings have also been affected.

The Pundit’s Mantra

In case you’ve been thinking of pulling a similar trick, the please refrain. It seems like travel companies and banks are in no mood to play games. They’re ramping up their efforts to monitor customer accounts. Wherever they’re seeing shady activity, they’re cracking down for sure.

I always advocate playing by the rules. While we all love the best deals, we don’t want to risk getting flagged or shut down. The miles and points game isn’t going anywhere. Instead of taking a crash and burn approach, why not play it slow and steady? Even if you slow down, you’ll find enough opportunities to keep earning miles and points at a decent pace.

What do you think about this recent wave of shutdowns? Let us know in the comments section.

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