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Is it Too Late to Save My TWA Aviators Miles?

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Is it Too Late to Save My TWA Aviators Miles?


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Dear Tim,

My family and I have TWA frequent flyer miles. Can these be used now that TWA is out of business?

Jean D.

Dear Jean,

Although TWA ceased to exist more than two years ago, I still receive queries from former Aviators members, like you, wondering what became of their miles. In fact, I received four such questions in just the past month, which prompted a call to American for an update. As it turns out, the timing was propitious.

In answer to your question: Yes, those TWA miles can be saved—transferred, actually—but the window of opportunity won’t be open much longer.

Here’s the official policy confirmed by AAdvantage management on June 9, 2003:

As of June 30, 2003, AAdvantage will no longer accommodate mileage transfer requests.

A little bit of history for those who may have missed the TWA endgame:

After a long decline into bankruptcy and liquidation, the bulk of TWA’s assets were sold to American Airlines, effective April 19, 2001. While American was under no legal or contractual obligation to do so, it decided it made commercial sense to acquire TWA’s 14 million Aviators members and their accumulated frequent flyer miles. In practice, that meant converting Aviators memberships to AAdvantage, and transferring miles from the former program to the latter.

All Aviators members who could be contacted received instructions on setting up an AAdvantage account—if they didn’t already have one—and were advised that they could manually transfer their miles to American through November 30, 2001. On December 1, the Aviators program was terminated forever, and any miles that had not yet transferred were moved automatically to AAdvantage, provided there was an AAdvantage account with an identical name and address on file.

What happened to those miles that were not transferred, manually or automatically, before the deadline? For lack of a better description, let’s say they went into suspended animation.

While November 2001 was the official deadline, American has continued honoring requests to transfer TWA miles on a goodwill basis. But that long period of leniency is drawing to a close.

So, if you have Aviators miles that you have not yet converted to AAdvantage miles, run, don’t walk, to your phone and call the AAdvantage service center at 800-882-8880. You will need to establish an AAdvantage account if you don’t already have one, and your Aviators miles will be transformed into AAdvantage miles. Then, you can visit SmarterTravel.com’s Mile Finder and discover how you can earn more AAdvantage miles to help you earn a travel award.

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