Friday, February 24, 2012

American Airlines Bans AwardWallet

Last December, I posted about American Airlines cracking down on AwardWallet. And while there may be legitimate concerns about a third-party website storing passwords and gaining access to personal information, the reasons they gave always seemed a bit disingenuous. The core issue has always been AA trying to drive more traffic onto their own website to increase revenue. After all, if people are using AwardWallet to check their miles balance, expiration dates, and even flight itineraries, why would they bother going to This issue can be seen in the same vein as AA's legal scuffle with Orbitz and Sabre last year, and I'm sure we'll continue to see AA do everything in its power to handicap competing websites that use its data.

Soon after the crackdown last December, however, AwardWallet cleverly built a workaround by way of a browser extension that effectively stored your password on your own computer and only accessed your miles balance, eliminating any excuse that AA had previously used. Unfortunately, this lasted only two months before AA took action again. Today, I received this email from AwardWallet:

"Dear Milesglu,

We regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing support for the AwardWallet browser extension on February 25, 2012. This means that you will no longer be able to track your American Airlines related information (balance, status, etc.) on

 We have been forced to take this action by American Airlines' stance toward AwardWallet. We created the browser extension in order to address American Airlines' concern that AwardWallet was collecting customers' mileage data. We believe the extension addressed this concern because it simply collected your mileage data and stored it locally on your computer. American Airlines, however, objects to the extension. It's position appears to be that AwardWallet is prohibited from providing any software tool that facilitates the ability to track the customer's American Airlines' mileage information. We think this is unfortunate.

If you have any questions about this matter please do not reply to this email, instead let's have a discussion in the forum:

Please make a note of your AAdvantage number and password as you will not be able to see it on after we make this change.

Thank you for your continued support of!"

Definitely an unfortunate turn of events, and one that I hope will not spread to other airlines in the near future. To learn more about AwardWallet or to sign up for an account, take a look at my previous post here.

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