There are the obvious risks of trying to game the credit card rewards system. You could mess up your calculations for earning signup bonuses and end up in debt. Your credit score could take a hit. Your points could be devalued or the card’s partners could get switched up.
But those are mistakes. There’s another risk that’s not as innocent: rewards abuse.
Customers have reported that American Airlines and Citigroup have been locking accounts and canceling flights of customers who have violated AAdvantage program policies.
Here’s an example of such behavior, from a Bloomberg report:
One issue is a practice that’s long been prohibited: opening numerous accounts with American’s loyalty program, AAdvantage, using a fake name and email address, then accepting a subsequent offer from Citigroup to apply for the airline’s credit card. Those online promotions often come with generous rewards of as many as 70,000 miles.
A post at The Points Guy indicated a recent promotional mailer may have been a factor. The mailer didn’t have the usual signup restriction that blocks current Citi cardholders from getting a signup bonus if they’ve opened a card in the past four years. And since signup bonuses are honestly the most attractive thing about most rewards credit cards, people opened a new card for the points. The offer also apparently lacked redemption restrictions, allowing users to share their promotional offer with others.
American and Citigroup both told…