Enter Daily to Win in Celebration of 40 Years of American Airlines AAdvantage

American Airlines was the first major airline to introduce a frequent flier loyalty program in 1981 — which will be exactly 40 years ago on Saturday, May 1, 2021 — in order to encourage loyalty among its customers; and the program came to be known as AAdvantage…

Enter Daily to Win in Celebration of 40 Years of American Airlines AAdvantage

Admirals Club Lounge Atlanta

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…and in celebration of that day, American Airlines has launched a potentially fun promotion which you have chances to win among 1,392,040 prizes — such as:

  • 40 winners of the grand prize will receive one million AAdvantage miles
  • One winner of the second prize will receive one travel package for four people to Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge In Orlando, Florida, which includes accommodations for two consecutive nights — single room, quad occupancy — and $1,000.00 in American Airlines gift cards which can be used toward airfare
  • 200 winners will enjoy membership in Admirals Clubs for one year
  • 1,300 winners will be awarded with a Mastercard gift card worth $20.00
American Airlines International Business Class between Bogota and Miami

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The promotion consists of four phases — the last of which ends on Monday, May 3, 2021. All start dates begin at midnight Eastern Daylight Time; and all end dates conclude at 11:59:59 in the evening Eastern Daylight Time.

April 5, 2021
April 11, 2021
April 12, 2021
April 18, 2021
April 19, 2021
April 25, 2021
April 26, 2021
May 3, 2021

Other prizes consist of different amounts of AAdvantage miles, Admirals Club day passes, seat upgrades, rental car upgrades, and lodging discounts at select participating hotel and resort properties with Hyatt.

Additionally, you will also have chances to participate in instant win games.

No purchase or payment is required or necessary to enter, play, win or claim a prize; and a purchase or payment will not increase your odds or chances of winning.

This promotion is open only to members of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program program who are legal residents of the 50 United States — including the District of Columbia — who are 18 years of age and older.

Click here for the complete list of official rules and prizes, as other rules, terms, conditions, and restrictions apply. Be sure that you read all of them carefully and agree with them before participating in the sweepstakes — which include but are not limited to those dealing with the topics of:

  • Privacy and personal information
  • Release and limitations of liability
  • Selection and verification of winners
  • Winner notification procedure
  • Disqualification of participants
  • Criteria and restrictions pertaining to claiming and using prizes once they are won
  • Rights
  • Publicity
  • Tax liability
  • Technical issues
  • Legal waivers and statements
  • Unclaimed prizes
  • Cancellation or postponement of prizes
  • Substitution of prizes
  • How to find out the names of the winners
  • What can potentially happen in the event of a dispute
  • Burden of proof of submission of entry
  • Typographical errors
  • Other disclaimers and conditions of participation

In the Beginning: Frequent Travel Loyalty Programs

American Airlines airplanes old new livery Las Vegas airport

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Not long after what is now known as AAdvantage was officially launched by American Airlines, other airlines actually used incentives when they subsequently launched their frequent flier loyalty programs — such as bonus miles as one example — to entice customers to join as members.

“The roots of these programs can be traced back to 1979 when Bill Bernbach, CEO of Doyle Dane Bernbach — the advertising agency for American Airlines proposed that American do something special for its best customers”, according to this article written by Randy Petersen for WebFlyer. “After some ideas were kicked around at American, the Marketing Plans group agreed that a free trip would mean a lot to a frequent traveler if it included a deal for a companion and a first class upgrade. At the time, first class was a relative unknown for the frequent traveler, the space was usually occupied solely by movie stars and VIPs. The idea was then defined in a short paragraph for Tom Plaskett, asking to pursue a concept that offered a frequent traveler the equivalent of a free first class trip to Hawaii from any domestic point, with a free upgrade for any companion for whom a ticket at even the lowest fare was purchased. Of course, Hawaii was kind of a symbolic destination because most business travelers would not have traveled there on business and would find it an attractive incentive for them to fly American Airlines.”

You read that correctly: premium class flights and upgrades for companions really were free — not even taxes or fees were charged — and Randy Petersen took advantage of that, according to this article which I wrote on Thursday, November 23, 2017: “Intrigued, Randy — who had always aspired to travel — decided to follow the advice of what he read and wound up enjoying a trip to Hawaii for free.”

Frequent flier loyalty programs were not designed for people who annoyingly call it a “hobby” and purposely “game the system” — some even went so far as to ruin some deals for everyone else in order to selfishly feed their insatiable greed — nor were they ever designed for that purpose. They were initially designed to reward customers who already flew as passengers frequently order to drive future business. The ideal customers typically already traveled frequently on business trips; and airlines such as American Airlines were trying to sway their business from other airlines and give them an incentive to consolidate as much of their air travel as possible on one airline — especially if the customer had an expense account.

Generally, the idea was to spend the company’s money to conduct business travel and earn free flights to go on a well-deserved vacation with your family. What sane person would refuse free flights?


American Airlines

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

With a few arguable exceptions, the prizes are admittedly not all that great — and some of them would be considered worthless or useless by some people.

Regardless, congratulations to American Airlines on the milestone of 40 years since the first frequent flier loyalty program was created and officially launched. Although doing so may have seemed like a great idea at the time, nobody in 1981 realized just how substantial of an industry loyalty would become for airlines — and, eventually, for lodging companies, rental car companies, and other businesses in the travel industry…

…and I hope that you win at least one prize if you decide to participate in this promotion.

All photographs ©2014, ©2018, and ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Enter Daily to Win in Celebration of 40 Years of American Airlines AAdvantage”

  1. don says:

    Great read. I read it during my 15 minute cooling off period after getting my vaccination. Science for the win!

  2. derek says:

    Today, I entered and won 20% off FTD (expires at the end of the month). I really doubt that I will be redeeming this award. Good thing the rules value this prize as zero approximate retail value.

    One of the possible awards is 40 AAdvantage miles that they value at 89 cents, I believe. I wouldn’t mind winning that.

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