150,000 Free American Airlines Miles Just For Getting Two (No Annual Fee) Credit Cards

I’ve been writing about this occasionally for several months, but credit card signup bonuses have been incredible over the past year. First there was the 100,000 mile signup bonus offer from Chase for a British Airways Visa, then Citibank came out with their 100,000 mile offer for their American Airlines cards. Chase even had a 50,000 mile offer for the United Visa.

Just incredible. Sign up for a credit card, maybe grab a second one (a small business card, most people are able to get one e.g. Their Name & Associates) and go anywhere in the world. In a premium cabin. Sometimes for an annual fee, other times even that’s been waived.

Those banks, they must really think acquiring a customer is valuable.

Well, the current big offer is 75,000 miles for an American Airlines credit card, bonus posts after spending $4000 on the card within six months, and annual fee is waived the first year. The offer runs through February 28.

Will it be extended? Who knows. It’s certainly true that bigger bonuses have become the new normal. I remember when 15,000 mile signup bonuses were a nice offer, 20,000 miles was a big deal. Most offers are better than that these days.

But will 75,000 or 100,000 come right back? Why risk it? If you haven’t had a American Airlines credit cards from Citibank, now is a pretty darned good time to sign up, unless perhaps you’re going for your mortgage this year. Credit score issues have been discussed in the past on this blog, they’re beyond the scope of this post, but in general best advice is if you have a good score then get these really good offer credit cards and the only reason to hold off is if you plan to get a mortgage within the year. (On the whole getting more unused credit available will push your score up over time, but credit applications temporarily ding your score a little bit and that on the whole this temporary ding won’t matter at all to your credit costs. But that’s a whole separate discussion. I had a pretty darn sweet score when I got my mortgage and I’ve been churning cards for years…)

My advice really is to grab these cards if you haven’t had them. Some people who have had them can get them again successfully, but Citibank isn’t automatically giving everyone the card and bonus if they’ve had those in the past.

I do find that people who have had a personal card in the past can get the business card usually, at least.

And if you haven’t had either, get both.

If you get both cards and meet the required minimum spend, you’d have 158,000 miles. You could fly first class from the US to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, stopover, and continue in business class to Bali. And return on Cathay in business/first as well (there’s no first class service from Hong Kong to Bali).

And of course a spouse or significant other could do the same thing by getting the two credit cards as well.

Boom, instant honeymoon. Ok, not instant, it takes a little while to spend the $4000 on each card and have the miles post, then you have to find availability. But Cathay Pacific has outstanding availability from Toronto and from San Francisco, they’re adding Chicago flights, and you can always grab an American or Alaska flight to the Cathay Pacific gateway.

Maybe I’m a bit over the top in this post but it’s only to reach out and grab you and shake you and say this one is just too good to pass up, and there’s only about a month left to grab onto it.

(The current 50,000 mile signup bonus offer for the British Airways Visa is pretty good too, but I’ll be happy if you just grab those American miles.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, there are still links (on FT) for 75k AA miles with $1,500 spend instead of $4000. Do you think these links and offers are still valid?

  2. I got the Visa, and a couple days later, I applied for the Citi Amex and received a letter stating that I was being declined for the AA Citi Amex because I already had an AA Citicard. My colleague at work got both, why was I locked out? Can I dispute? Anyone else had the same thing happen? Thx much!

  3. @John – no dispute to be had, I’m afraid. Ts&Cs clearly state first-time Citi AA Cardmembers only. What happened to you has happened to many, so don’t feel singled out.

  4. Gary: I’ve been churning for years and promoting the idea on my website daily. The impact of an application is a meager 2-5 points on your credit score and the rewards can be huge as your example suggests.

    But I think the old saying may prevail for many, as is the case with acquiring FF miles in any manner:

    “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink”

    Too bad isn’t it?

  5. Great offer. I jumped at the AA personal and business cards with the earlier 75K offer. Well worth it, easy miles! Don’t see many offers this good.

  6. Trying to determine if this is worth pursuing; I’m based on the West Coast and don’t have any AA status or miles, but 75k miles for both my wife & I (assuming we both qualify) would get us a return economy award to Australia on Qantas – so I think I’ve just convinced myself it’s worth it. Any attractive premium cabin options ex. West Coast for those of us starting with a 0 balance to aspire towards (with the help of a top-up from SPG)?

  7. I’ve had both AA personal and business in the past year (personal since cancelled, business still used to meet a spending threshold promo obtained via retention offer).

    Think I should try applying for 2 personal cards at the same time? I remember hearing 60 day window for personal applications and 90 for business, technically I haven’t applied for any in those windows.

  8. To Simon: Why not each apply for 2 cards? 150K miles for each person is very nice. 150K will get 25K flight miles in biz class. (one world biz award). I would apply for 2 personal cards & do the business card 90+ days later.

    To John Foster: One has to apply for 2 cards on the same day–preferably one after the other.

    My relatives got 150K each for applying for 2 cards. 300K for spending 6K is nice. I got 150K myself which put me over 1 Million AA miles.

  9. Citi approved my personal card instantly when I applied in October 2010. I applied for the business card at the same time but they gave me a big run around on that one even though I have a real business and exceptionally good credit. First they wanted verification of my business address, then they denied the application outright. I resubmitted it and then got approved, receiving the card almost 3 months after they issued the personal one. Citi can be tricky to deal with but their recent offers have been very appealing.

  10. The old links for 75K after spending $1500 still work and do still earn the bonus.
    I personally know a few people who signed up very recently and confirmed the bonus with Citi CS.

  11. I signed up using the $1.5k link for both my wife & I this afternoon – had to “chat” with Citi agent to complete my wife’s application during which she confirmed the promo was 75k miles after 1.5k spend.

    About 20 mins time + $170 investment ( 2 x $85 annual fee) to earn us (depends on availability) 2 return Y tix to Australia this year for my parent’s 50th anniversary.

    I know, I know – we don’t talk or get excited about Y redemptions on this forum, but we’ll take it 🙂

  12. Anyone have any luck with all 3 cards, Business, Personal and Amex card? I did the Visa and business card for 75ea, was considering the Amex? is it worth a shot?

  13. I signed up for both the Visa and AMEX with no problem. Instant approval, but both were done in the same day. Wasn’t comfortable asserting that I was a business.

  14. I didn’t know CX was adding Chicago. Now that’s good news. P.S.: I got the 75K Business Citi Visa in October. A terrific business card, IMHO. Maybe they’ll wave the annual fee for the second year? That’ll be nice. Doesn’t Citi still owe TARP money?

  15. Question on churning tactic – do you cancel the card before you get hit with the fee or do you pay one year and then cancel?

  16. Jim- if you’ve got the miles and dont want the card, cancel it. While calling to cancel they might offer you a decent retention offer: I got annual fee waived and 10k bonus miles with $5k more spend in 6 months

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