American Airlines Refuses To Accept American Airlines Credit Card

American Airlines told Justin that they could not accept his American Airlines credit card due to a bug in their spiffy new booking system. Justin wanted to charge a trip to Disney World on the card, which unlike standard credit cards, is supposed to work exclusively for purchasing tickets with American Airlines.

Justin writes:

Last May I traveled to Las Vegas to get married. In booking my travel trough American Airlines Vacations I used an American Airlines credit card as I would receive 6 months same as cash when using that form of payment. Now this was the card issued by Citibank for the airline, but was not an actual visa/mastercard. I had paid off the card after returning from our trip.

We already had plans for a trip in May of ’08 to go to Walt Disney World so given the experience that we had with American, we had planned on financing and booking our trip through their vacation department. I had every detail planned and proceeded to book online. Everything was in order and I went to pay. I couldn’t enter the credit card as payment because of the lack of an expiration date on the card. No big deal as I then remembered that I had the same problem when booking the Vegas trip, so I called the credit card issuer and they informed me how to remedy the problem. Alas, I was back to the excitement of booking a Disney World vacation for my family! Still didn’t work? Okay. I then decided that the best option would be to call directly and book. And here is it where it gets interesting.

I get in touch with an agent and proceed to go over the vacation that I had saved online from earlier. Everything was the same and sounded great. I gave the form of payment and was placed on hold. I was relieved and knew that everything was going to be o.k. Alas the agent gets back on the line and says “Sir, I am sorry but we don’t accept this card”. I ask ” You mean to tell me that American Airlines does not accept their own credit card”. I was then informed after being transferred to a supervisor and explaining that I had used the same card to book my previous vacation that they had recently switched to a new “system” and that the bug in the system would not let them accept the American Airlines credit card. I asked if this was just a “bug” if you will, then how long will it be before it is fixed? No one could provide an answer. Imagine that!

So after several e-mails to customer service, several phone calls to reservations and my own research I have yet to hear an answer or explanation beyond that. Granted I could have just said okay well then put it on another card. But that isn’t the point. We only have one other card for emergencies and light spending and rely on it for an emergency. I had paid this card off as fast as possible in anticipation of our next trip and now after everyone is exited (including my 5 year old daughter) about finally getting to go to Walt Disney World we are being denied our only means of paying for the travel portion of our trip.

My only hope is that this at the least gets some attention. I know people will say that we could simply finance by another means, but the fact is as we live comfortably, we just can’t afford to finance this vacation with our finances that were allocated for spending money and still afford to go. I just feel cheated by the Airline for not thinking or considering how many people this could effect that aren’t the frequent fliers or substantial customers.

The American Airlines credit card is essentially a 0% APR card for 6 months. If a payment is missed, or the balance is not paid in full after a half year, a 25.96% finance charge applies to the full balance.

Rather than use AA’s extremely limited card, it would be wiser to deposit the would-be credit payments into a free high-interest savings account. Assuming debt that can’t be immediately satisfied opens you and your family to a world of financial pain that could be avoided by saving before paying. Even those playing the 0% APR game need to be able to pay off their credit card bill in full every single month.

American Airlines Credit Card []


Edit Your Comment

  1. comopuedeser says:

    Just get the mastercard so that you get frequent flyer miles too. This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Plus you get other perks with the mastercard as well.

  2. pylon83 says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is here. They have a bug in their billing system. Presumably they are working to fix it. The guy was banking on one particular way to pay for the trip. I think it’s quite a stretch to claim the AA is ruining peoples vacations because of this. It seems he could, but doesn’t want to, put the airfare on another card. Seriously, how much could airfare for 3 to Florida cost? $800? If the limit on the “Emergency” card is that low, it doesn’t seem like it would be that great for emergencies anyway.

  3. g4lt says:


    you haven’t booked travel lately, have you? $800 might get ONE person there, not three. I’m looking right down a $400 fare for myself alone for thanksgiving vacation, and I’m booking almost 11 months early. As for AA ruining a vacation, what else would you call it? This is clearly not where you can blame the victim, as in this case, he had an active revolving line of credit with AA that was effectively denied his use with no warning.

  4. BillyShears says:

    I work on the more nerdy end of a major e-tailer, so I’m on the distro list for bugs affecting our live site, even though it’s not my responsibility to even think about 99.9% of them.

    Stuff like this happens. A poor, underpaid contractor forgets a semi-colon here, a revision is overwritten there, or something simply just crashes on a server. The customer service reps are generally the last to know any information, and forget about giving them a time frame to hand out to customers.

    All of that said: Dude, just put it on your “light spending” card and pay it off as quickly as possible. Pretty much the same strategy you would’ve had for the AA card, right? This isn’t a case of The Big Bad Corporation, it’s a case of “F***! Even in the future nothing works!”

  5. comopuedeser says:

    @g4lt: That is why you don’t buy travel 11 months early, it is always more expensive to do so. If you pay 400-800 11 months in advance for airfare to florida you better be flying from Alaska or London because that is way overpriced for a domestic flight. At least that is my experience from flying about 3-4 roundtrips or more a month.

  6. Buckus says:

    It all depends on where you’re coming from and how soon you buy. I had an out-of-town interview with one-week notice and the company that paid for the flight took it up the nose for $450 round-trip for a 1.5 hour trip. Also, he may have been trying to book hotel and tickets to the park, too, which would be major expensive.

    My parents took my whole family (10+) to Disney World ten years ago and it ran to over 10,000, although the rooms were nice. I can’t imagine it’s gotten any cheaper per-person since then.

  7. chiieddy says:

    @COMOPUEDSER: I think it depends on if your local airport is a hub or not. I know I can fly to MCO (Orlando) for about $200 roundtrip, but I also fly out of Logan in Boston. I expect someone flying from, say, Jackson, Wyoming will find it quite a bit more expensive (unless they drive some distance to Salt Lake City). I know our flight to Jackson this summer is looking to cost about $600 per person.

  8. spinachdip says:

    @comopuedeser: Yeah, I don’t get the appeal of this card, since Citibank issues AAdvantage Mastercards (MAAstercAArds?) that have basically the same benefits (I think).

    I have an AAdvantage debit card, which I use for little everyday stuff like groceries. I imagine that’s a faster way to rack up miles than a card that works with only one vendor.

  9. somecop says:

    Ever think of financing your family vacation by saving up the cash ahead of time? Lol. I know. I must be crazy.

  10. humphrmi says:

    So you’re booking a Disney vacation, assumedly the most expensive part (hotels & tickets) have already been booked & paid for by some other means, all you’re worried about is the air, right?

    So why not just call back every couple days and try again? First the repeated calls will keep the “bug” on their radar, and second, once it’s fixed, you’ll be set.

    Unless you’re leaving in the next week or so, I don’t see the crisis. Worst case, if they don’t fix it before you have to leave, just put it on your emergency card and pay it off.

  11. Buran says:

    Why doesn’t anyone here see the stupidity in this? Why aren’t they testing to be sure that their own product works on their own service? How did this EVER make it to the public?

  12. BillyShears says:

    @Buran: Something could’ve happened post-release that disabled it. At that point, there isn’t much that can be done other than to fix it ASAP.

  13. DrGirlfriend says:

    @g4lt: 11 months ahead is way too early to look at fares. They are always inflated so early on.

    What I am getting from this is that the card has 6 months financing at 0% interest, basically, which is why he doesn’t want to use a regular credit card? Yes? Glitches and you’re-better-off-saving aside, AA should at least try to give a better answer than “Shrug. Dunno when we’re fixing this.”

  14. FLConsumer says:

    @g4lt: If you’re flying on jetBlue, easily can do it for that price. I think the MOST I’ve paid from NYC FL was $220 after taxes & fees.

  15. Sackajacka says:

    I don’t see this as a big deal. Why not get one of a number of credit cards that offer 0% on all purchases — not just American flights? Discover Miles card – 6 months 0%. Chase Flexible Rewards – 6 Months. Amex Clear – 12 months… you get the idea.

    Seriously, while unfortunate, it is a bug. They informed him right away. No big deal.

  16. mac-phisto says:

    some folks need to work on teh reeding comprehenshun.

    he’s not just booking the airfare…he’s booking the entire trip. trip for 3 to disney for a week is a few thousand bucks easy. what’s a one-day hopper pass these days, $150?

    i don’t know that this is so much a glitch. perhaps aa is looking at phasing out the “store card” program & issuing everyone the aadvantage mastercard…didn’t another company do that quite recently?

  17. Sudonum says:

    Yeah, my wife just looked at taking the 5 year old grand child to DW for Easter. A 2 bedroom suite from Disney was $1600 a night. Sure there are cheaper places to stay, but if you want the all inclusive “Disney Package” it could go several grand easily. But then that gets back to the old “if you have to charge it you can’t afford it” line.

  18. humphrmi says:

    @mac-phisto: I thought he was just booking the air portion, I’m not surprised that they won’t book an entire Disney vacation, including hotel and tickets, on an AA credit card for zero percent financing / six months.

    Having figured that out, I suspect that the “bug” is on purpose and he’ll soon find out that this type of vacation isn’t eligible for that card or some such.

    In fact, I’m surprised that AA Vacations (which is actually a separate subsidiary of AMR) takes the AA credit card at all. I have an AAirpass and I can only use it to book flights, and AA Vacations won’t take it.

  19. Paul_Blackstone says:

    At what point do you just say “screw it” and book with another airline? A company that causes this much of a headache surely deserves to lose the business, regardless of who the blame falls on. Granted, I realize the person is set on booking with this American Airlines card, but based on how difficult it seems to be to get it to work, it seems it would be easier to just use the “emergency card” or apply for a different card that has similar 0% teaser rates (assuming you plan to pay it off on time). I highly doubt that the AA package is even the best deal out there – if you shopped around I’m sure you could save a few bucks to boot, and not have to deal with the clowns at AA at all.

  20. Leah says:

    Sounds like our letter writer should also save up for a vacation before actually going on the vacation. I don’t know about everyone else, but it’s much more fun for me to work overtime and think “this will pay for Disney World!” rather than work overtime and think “oh, goody, I get to pay off my credit card.”

  21. Tallanvor says:

    @comopuedeser: If you are flying into or out of a small airport without an LCC like Southwest, it can be very expensive, no matter when you book.

  22. mac-phisto says:

    @Sudonum: not sure where she’s looking at staying, but my favorite stay was at the wilderness lodge, which is in disney’s 2nd tier of pricing. last time i went, i stayed at the port orleans (which is even less expensive – it’s in their “moderate” tier) & that was pretty nice. downside was the longer transportation time to the parks.

    the 2nd tier (deluxe) is ideal b/c most of the resorts are direct to the park via monorail (or in the case of the wildnerness lodge, via boat). a co-worker stayed at the animal kingdom lodge last year & her 5-yr old daughter LOVED it…the lodge sits on a wildlife reserve, so there’s animals roaming around the entire estate. plus, i think it’s one of their more reasonable resorts.

  23. theblackdog says:

    @BillyShears: “So what do we have on this thing? A Cuisinart?!”

    One of the funniest movies ever.

  24. Sudonum says:

    I don’t recall exactly which property it was. I know she mentioned the animal kingdom lodge, and the “staying with the animals” part. For this particular “vacation” I’m just going to ask her when and where I have to show up and how long I’m going to be out of town for. Then try to stay heavily sedated or liquored up. She wants Great Grandpa and Grandma and Mommy and Daddy (who have since split up) there as well. The highlight of the trip for me will be going to Charlie’s Steakhouse. Although this troop could ruin that as well.

  25. Mr. Gunn says:

    Lame, but he shouldn’t be using that card anyways. Use a rewards card so you get points towards your next ticket.