Up to 30,000 American Airlines Miles for New Citibank Checking Account

Reader Robert G. passes along a Citibank offer for a checking account with up to 30,000 bonus American Airlines miles.

Offer code CYKS can be used at http://offer.citibank.com/, by phone at 1-866-466-1822 or at a branch through July 31. It is pitched to existing American Airlines co-branded credit card holders but is unlikely to require that one have the card (although with 50,000 mile signup bonuses out there, it’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t get one if you don’t already have one and haven’t held one in the past 18 months).

Once you’ve opened an account, make at least one direct deposit a month for two consecutive months, and make purchases as follows with your accounts debit card

  • A Citigold checking account, $750 in charges for 30,000 American AAdvantage miles.
  • A Citibank checking account, $375 in charges for 15,000 American AAdvantage miles.
  • A Basic Banking checking account, $125 in charges for 5,000 American AAdvantage miles.

Now, back in the day Citibank checking accounts were amazing for earning miles because you could make your initial account funding via credit card, with no limit up to your credit limit, and the transaction would post with most banks as a purchase rather than a cash advance. I used to use my Chase United card to fund the account, it had an $80,000 limit at the time. And I did this on multiple occasions. That trick is sadly no longer available.

This offer isn’t nearly as lucrative. Especially since a Citigold account requires a $50,000 minimum balance to avoid a $30 monthly fee, meaning that without that you’ll be incurring those fees until you close the account after your miles post (I’d bet on 3 monthly fees, possibly likely still worthwhile but cuts into the value proposition). (A Citi checking requires a $15,000 minimum balance to avoid a $20 fee, and the basic checking requires a $1500 balance for no fee.).

Further cutting into the value proposition is that Citi reports checking account bonus miles on 1099 forms at the end of the year, meaning you’ll have to report the value of those bonus miles to the IRS.

Still, a possible useful and quick way to generate some miles. And if you stay away from the top Citigold offer, you’re likely to receive less than $600 worth of miles from Citibank thus avoiding the 1099 issue.

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. Yes, 3 months of fees – “The AAdvantage® bonus miles will be posted by Citibank to your American Airlines AAdvantage® account within 90 days from the end of the statement period in this offer.”

  2. do you know if there’s any other type of deposit that would qualify as “direct deposit” such as amazon payment or paypal or something? direct deposit isn’t an option for me.

  3. Strange, Citibank officially “ended the business relationship between Citi-checking and AA” last Dec 10th. I just made it under the wire on that deal by completing the requirements in the first week of Dec.

    Now, “It’s Back!”

    Note that this deal on longer allows you to qualify by making online payments. You now MUST use direct deposits for two months. If you don’t have any direct deposits to make, you don’t qualify….

  4. Got the same promo in the mail as well. Can we be certain that the 15K offer won’t trigger a 1099?

  5. $600+ (24K+ miles x 2.5 cents) will trigger a 1099. I did the 23.5K offer last year (just under the threshold) and did not get a 1099. That said it cost me a boatload in checking fees keeping the account open for several months after the miles should have posted. Be sure to add this cost plus the time you will waste if the miles don’t post, plus some more for pain and suffering. No way I would do the 23.5K again, and definitely not 30K which will trigger taxable income of $750.

  6. I received a lower offer (5K/10K/20K) in the mail…but no debit charges, just 1 direct deposit and 1 bill pay for 2 months. Code CYYW

  7. Wow, $15,000 minimum balance to avoid $20 fee for the Citibank checking account. It used to be $6k, right?

  8. Based on what I am reading here, the offers my wife and I received in the mail are heading for the shredder. I always have the most issues dealing with Citi and would be hesitant to waste time with them on even a credit card offer with only 30k bonus, let alone all the disadvantages of the checking offer.

  9. Gary – You say: “I used to use my Chase United card to fund the account, it had an $80,000 limit at the time.”

    Did you post that on your blog?

  10. @mark – I don’t recall for certain, but at the time this was live it may have been shared with me in confidence, and while I blog plenty of opportunities publicly I don’t ever share those that I’m asked not to. And if that’s what this was, then I wouldn’t have posted it.

  11. Very strange, I clicked on the offers.citibank.com link and entered the given promo code. The page displayed that I must call this 800 number to apply. Can you please explain why I am getting this error?

    I do not have an active Citi AA credit card by the way so that may be the reason??

  12. FEw things the link posted is for the basic app I believe (not the gold-I had to reapply) Also nowhere were there any place to input my AA number. And I did cancel my AA citi cards a while back… Not sure how to add my AA number to this checking.

  13. I recently signed up for the citi basic banking offer. It is indeed a lot of trouble, not to mention if anything goes wrong and miles don’t post it’s almost impossible to have citi credit miles. I’m now considering closing the account with 0 miles posted. The chase $150 offer for a checking account is a much better offer.

  14. Using a 40% combined incremental tax rate, you’re paying 1 cent cash per AA mile, and jumping thru the Citi fee hoops to do it.

    Not much value in this one, to my eye.

  15. @Sam except that stay under $600 in reported value from the miles and you’re likely not paying any taxes (so avoid the top offer and other checking/savings offers)

  16. Gary-

    That’s good news, if true.

    I opened a Cit Savings account a couple of years ago and received 5,000 AA miles. I also got a 1099 for $125. I know there are ways to deal with that, but is there reason to think the 30k offer will not result in a 1099 for $750 or some other amount?

  17. I’ve done these offers in the past and have received the large 1099’s. It’s still a good offer if you can use your miles for premium class travel. Should I get selected I’d do it again.

  18. This offer is for “miles.” Will these count toward Million Miler status? Currently, my credit card “points” do not count toward Million Miler status?

  19. I entered the offer code and the link is for the regular citibank checking account. it is not for Citigold. I am confused…

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