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Gary from View from the Wing wrote about how American Airlines has sent letters to AwardWallet and other mile & hotel point tracking sites asking them to stop providing information on American Airlines’ mileage balances to their users.
I use AwardWallet and love being able to update both Emily and my frequent flyer and hotel accounts with just 1 click! Using a service such as AwardWallet, UsingMiles, or GoMiles makes it very easy to keep track of the 40+ accounts which Emily and I have.
But American Airlines has sent letters to these mileage tracking services asking them to stop providing information on American Airlines’ customers mileage balances.
This follows Southwest’s decision last year to not allow mileage tracking websites to access data from Southwest.
As Scott McCartney reported in the Wall Street Journal:
Southwest said it decided last year, as mileage managers began to proliferate, to ban them from its site because it was worried about the security of account information, which includes stored credit-card numbers.
While security breaches may appear to a legitimate concern, I don’t really buy it. Mint.com has access to all my bank account and checking information, and the banks are happy to let a third party site track their clients’ account information.
But if it really is a security concern, Gary has a solution.
Why not just require these websites to certify their security standards and indemnify the airline in the case of negligence?
Bottom Line: American Airlines would be upsetting a lot of customers if it prevents third party mileage trackers from accessing information on customer’s mileage balances.
I really wouldn’t have warm, fuzzy feelings if I was forced to log-in to American Airlines’ website to check my account balance.
While I check my AwardWallet balances many times a day (in fact, I have it on my iGoogle homepage), I check my Southwest account balance (which can’t be accessed on AwardWallet) much less frequently, perhaps once every 2 weeks.
Update: Gary Leff points out that American doesn’t mind if some sites like Points.com has access to your account information because they have a business relationship with Points.com. So are the “security concerns” just a way for American to get more money from the mileage tracking sites?
How would you feel if you were forced to log into each airlines’ website to check your mileage balance?