Use American Airline’s Business Extra program to earn a SWU

a stuffed animal in an airplane

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What is AA Business Extra?

Business Extra is marketed for small business owners. So, if you have a small business and fly frequently on American or their codeshare partners then you qualify to earn a different set of points called business extra points. This program is entirely different, requires registration, and earns a separate set of points. Enroll here.

How do I earn?

Once registered, select an Travel Manager. Add employees as Travelers.

American, British Airways, Iberia, and American codeshare partners earn 2 business extra points for every $10 of paid fare. This is a revenue based program that allows the travel manager to earn a collective bank of points earned off all employee travel. You can then redeem those points for specific employee travel in the future.

Example: Husband and Wife restaurant startup consultant group.

The two of you travel across the country extensively and help restaurants get off the ground. Both of you can accrue points under one account led by one Travel Manager. The company travel manager’s account with accrue Business Extra points based off of both employees’ booked fares. Just don’t forget to add your business extra number to flights. Once you have earned enough to redeem, you select a flyer from the traveler’s list and redeem points.

Current Promotion

There is a current promotion that is extremely lucrative. Earn 1600 Business Extra miles for every business class transatlantic flight. That’s huge. You can register here. You do need a Business Extra account prior to registration though. With just one flight you are already half way to a one-way business class upgrade on an international ticket. On top of that, you would be stacking the 2 points per $10 earned on the fare price and you’re also earning Aadvantage miles plus whatever promotions are currently running.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 2.40.33 PM

My folks recently flew roundtrip to Italy. They paid $800 out of pocket for a roundtrip business class fare. Unfortunately, they hadn’t registered their small business for this promotion. Had they done so they would have earned the following:

  • 9700 Base AAdvantage miles
  • 2425 AA class of service bonus
  • 9700 AA Platinum bonus
  • 25,000 AA Promotional Bonus for transatlantic business class
  • 160 Business Extra points
  • 1600 Business Extra promotional bonus.
  • Total: 46k AA + 1760 Biz Extra.

That’s almost a one way business ticket earned off one roundtrip. They are also half way to a SWU using Biz Extra. Stacking pays.

What are the best redemptions? An Effective SWU

So in the header I mentioned you can earn business extra points for an effective SWU. SWU stands for System Wide Upgrade and they allow you to upgrade by one class of service on a paid ticket. Typically these are only given to top tier Executive Platinum and Concierge Key. But, business extra points provide a unique opportunity to earn an effective SWU.  It’s worth noting that unlike SWUs which can be applied on any class of service these are ‘effective SWU’ in the sense that there are some restrictions: They can’t be used on B, N, O, Q, or S fares.Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 5.30.45 PM

Analyzing the value per point, an upgrade from paid economy to business class on an international flight provides the best value…in my opinion. As you can see, you need 3100 points for a SWU on a discount fare. This is pretty great value, especially when there is a promotion of 1600 points for one roundtrip in business class to Europe.

business extra
image from businessextra.com

Let’s compare that to some of the other redemption levels

business extra
image from businessextra.com
business extra
image from businessextra.com

Look, you aren’t going to earn these points rapidly because the point accrual isn’t the fastest. But, they are free points and have great value down the road when you do redeem them. Make use of stackable promotions and fast track your way to business class.

If you’re  small business owner, and travel for business, you should definitely be earning Business Extra points.



Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

*you may find an elevated offer walking into a branch – see below

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
    • Some people have seen Chase branches offering the following:
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  • 3x on select streaming services
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    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
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  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
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  • No foreign transaction fees
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  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

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