Illusion of Progress, American (Airlines) Style

Just got this automated e-mail from American Airlines reminding me of some ways I can use my frequent flier miles.  Two things caught my eye: the number of miles in my account (42,061) and the following statement:

You’re only a few miles away from being able to use your miles for a round-trip AAnytime award, or even a round-trip MileSAAver award to Europe. And, with the buyAAmiles® program, you can purchase the miles you need and be on your way to claiming that award ticket.

This is a nice example of the illusion of progress: I am almost there, so why not finish the deed with one more trip? Or if I don’t have time, I can just purchase the handful of miles to get my award. I’m almost there!

(Note: this entry originally appeared at

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