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After 41 years, American quietly scraps AirPass program

Dec. 03, 2022
2 min read
American Airlines Boeing 737 New Winglets LaGuardia LGA
After 41 years, American quietly scraps AirPass program
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While most travelers purchase airline tickets directly from the carrier or through a third-party booking site, some American Airlines flyers have historically used a special program to make flight bookings.

This program, dubbed AirPass, offered individuals and small businesses the ability to pre-purchase travel with American at fixed rates. The program was designed to help frequent travelers manage travel costs — especially travelers who often made last-minute bookings and changes to their plans.

In fact, AirPass was a great way to pick up a ton of perks for flying with American, without actually stepping foot on a plane. Depending on how much money you deposited (membership typically required at least $10,000 in funding), you could enjoy benefits such as instant upgrades, preferred and Main Cabin Extra seating, Admirals Club access and even AAdvantage status. Deposits of $50,000 or more earned you invite-only Concierge Key status.

American even recently improved the AirPass program with several new perks, including the ability to book AirPass flights on select partners and a complimentary annual Wi-Fi subscription beginning in 2021.

AMERICAN AIRLINES

Now, after 41 years, American is scrapping the program for good. In a statement shared with TPG, a carrier spokesperson said:

Beginning November 30, the AirPass program will no longer accepting any new or renewal contracts or any additional fund deposits. All customers with current contracts will be able to use their remaining funds or request a refund between now and the end of their contract period. American will continue to honor its commitments to Lifetime AirPass members.

Existing AirPass customers can either use their remaining funds or request a refund, which will be processed within three weeks. No new memberships are available for purchase, and the airline's dedicated website has been updated to reflect the cut.

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American posted a detailed FAQ page for affected travelers.

It wasn't clear why American decided to make the cut. Perhaps the program wasn't getting as much business as American hoped, or the airline found that it no longer made sense to maintain the offerings due to the increased demand and high fares we've seen in recent months.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees