I realize I’ve been quite the cheerleader lately for American Airlines. My experiences flying with them and communicating with their social media team have been stellar since last year, and I’m happily on my way to qualifying for Executive Platinum for 2013.
However, as I’ve started to fly them and book more tickets with regularity, I’m now joining the large group of bummed out fliers who can’t track their mileage on one of the many third party services out there.
It all started last year when American notified the majority of such services (AwardWallet, MileWise, PageOnce, etc.) that they could no longer access AAdvantage program balances on behalf of their members. The claim was that security was a major issue and user passwords being stored by third party sites opened up the possibility of fraud.
In response, AwardWallet proactively created a plug-in that satisfied this security threat whereby account information was never stored on AwardWallet’s servers. Instead, information was sent/received through the actual owner’s browser and then updated on their AwardWallet account. Well, that only lasted until February this year as American decisively said that was a “no-no,” as well.
As Gary pointed out on his blog, the assumed actual reason behind the change was likely to force AAdvantage members to log into their accounts on AA.com, thereby increasing the likelihood of a sale or another type of marketing impression. I imagine that’s truer to fact than the security thing since the AwardWallet “fix” was subsequently squashed.
To be fair, Southwest Airlines also restricts third party applications from the same type of data collection and display. But I’m still annoyed American is the only airline I fly where I can’t see my balance tracked on my personal favorite tool, PageOnce. Its main function is to track all of your financial accounts, but their frequent travel program tracking is simply stellar, too. They seem to notify me of a schedule change before any of the airlines shoot out a notice.
I wish there were some type of “opt-in” ability to allow these third party companies to resume tracking my balance. The IT infrastructure to handle that on a case-by-case basis, though, is probably too prohibitive. I can dream.
So there. I had to at least tip the scale a bit and post something I don’t like about American. 😉