Easy: 180,500 American Miles from 3 Credit Cards

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We know that American Airlines is below expected credit card signups this year.

They have two different banks issuing American Airlines co-brand credit cards and both are offering 60,000 mile signup bonuses. And Citibank offers both a personal and a small business card.

What’s notable is that when Citibank runs a limited-time offer it’s usually a 50,000 mile signup bonus.
This time they’ve upped the ante to 60,000 points (something they did back in May also when it was really unique). I do not know how long it will be available, but these are great offers to jump on.

In fact we haven’t seen bigger offers for these cards in many years (and the 75,000 and 100,000 mile bonuses from 2010 were targeted even though many of us were able to sign up for them).


American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard® has an offer for a limited time to earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

There’s a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95. Cardmembers receive one free checked bag and preferred boarding on American Airlines flights.

You also get 10% of your miles back (up to 10,000 rebated per calendar year) when you redeem miles.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® has an offer for a limited time to earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

There’s a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95. Cardmembers receive one free checked bag (on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation) and preferred boarding on American Airlines flights.

Barclaycard AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red World Elite Mastercard® has an offer for a limited time to earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after first purchase within 90 days of account opening and paying the card’s $95 annual fee.

Cardmembers receive one free checked bag (on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation) and preferred boarding on American Airlines domestic itineraries.

Spending $25,000 on the card in a year will earn $3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars. And like the personal Citi card you get 10% of your miles back (up to 10,000 rebated per calendar year) when you redeem miles.


American Miles Can Be Used for Business Class on Cathay Pacific

I don’t think these are super cards for your ongoing spending, but they’re great the first year and for the signup bonus, and they’re good cards to keep if you fly American Airlines a reasonable amount but not enough to earn elite status because of the free checked bags and preferred boarding (which avoids having to gate check your carry-on).

There’s a real opportunity here to sign up for Citibank cards and then pick up one from Barclaycard as well giving you more miles towards an award ticket. And here’s a trick. Barclaycard upped their signup bonus to 60,000 miles as well about 7 weeks ago. But if you ‘apply onboard’ you get 500 more miles for applying whether you’re approved or not. That just means you need to enter an employee number with the application. One I’ve come across that works is 139705.

Citibank doesn’t have a hard limit on the number of their cards you can have though of course how much credit they’ll make available for each person will vary. After you apply for one card they’ll consider another application from you 8 days later, but you can’t apply for more than 2 cards in 65 days.

Generally Citi will give you the bonus on a new card account if you haven’t opened or close a card in that product’s family in the past 24 months. Since I have the Executive ($450 annual fee) card, I’m not eligible for the signup bonus on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard® even though I haven’t had the latter card for a couple of years.

Over the past several years I’ve redeemed my American miles more than any other currency for long haul travel in first class on Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Etihad, and more.


Etihad First Apartment, Most Bookable by AAdvantage Within a Couple Months of Departure

I find that availability on American’s own flights is limited (though opens up wide in waves before closing back down, and they’ve promised it’ll improve in the coming months). That’s not how I want to use my miles anyway. And if I can’t get domestic connecting flights on American as part of an award then I’ll view that as being like a fuel surcharge (but don’t forget you can include Alaska Airlines domestic flights in your awards!)

The best use of points both for availability and price is business class on their partners such as Qatar and Cathay. I’ve currently got about a million AAdvantage miles in Etihad First Apartments booked myself.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®
Barclaycard AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red World Elite Mastercard®

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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Comments

  1. Well, I know to never listen to you complain about the devaluation of AAdvantage or the lack of SAAver space again…

    The proliferation and promotion of credit card miles is a direct factor in the devaluation of the programs.

  2. If AA space were ever available this might be worth it. I’ll bulk up spend on better producing cards. And I’m ready to cancel my Barclay AA Red card, they’re refusing to credit back the annual fee this year…the only benefit to me has been early boarding. Not to mention I’ve worked hard to fly other airlines now…

  3. If you don’t fly on Qatar or Cathway AA miles are almost worthless. Just get a quote from a broker. Vote with your feet and take out a bank travel card and tell Citi and Barclays why when you cancel your cards this year. AA miles are lower than pesos more like lira!

  4. Agree with Paul. A couple years ago, AA miles were awesome, with decent availability to EY, CX, JL premium classes. I even used them to fly to Tahiti on TN. Now that miles have devalued and availability dries up, I don’t know what to do with the miles in my account.

  5. Many disfiguring, debilitating or disgusting diseases are easier to get rid of than AA miles, and the diseases don’t generally charge extra to check bags on international flights.

  6. I have had much better luck booking saver reward tickets in the last 2 weeks to SEA and CLT, destinations where it was impossible to book saver awards during the last 2 years. We will have to see if this continues, perhaps I can increase my valuation of 1.0 cent per mile upwards. Remember to factor in the 10 percent mileage rebate when calculating your cents per mile if you have a credit card. BTW, CLT was booked with BA Avios, which comes from the same inventory.

  7. There seems a lot of bitterness here regarding availability. Presumably on “popular” routes. In the last two years I’ve had no trouble using my AA miles for international business awards on Qantas, Finnair, Malaysia and AA itself. The latter just last week.

  8. FYI, I just used the above link for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® and submit an application, and it came back with AO JSE General Error Page says: “We’re very sorry, but the page you are looking for cannot be found. We apologize for any
    inconvenience. Please visit View All Cards to see the current list of available products and offers from CitiCredit Cards.” So I went to Citi’s AAdvantage card website directly and submit an application again and was approved instantly.

    Barclaycard’s link was fine, and I was also approved instantly,

    Thank you.

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