How the $200 Statement Credit Works on the 100,000 Mile Signup Bonus American Airlines Card

The biggest offer in the frequent flyer world right now is, I think, the 100,000 mile signup bonus for the Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard.

The card comes with:

  • 100,000 American Airlines miles after you make $10,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.
  • $200 in statement credits on purchases within 12 months of account opening.
  • American Airlines Admirals Club lounge access
  • Priority check-in, security, and boarding and first checked bag free
  • No foreign currency transaction fees
  • 10,000 elite qualifying miles when you spend $40,000 on the card in a year

The annual fee for this card is $450. It’s worth spending $450 for 100,000 miles if you’re in a position to meet the minimum spend requirement.

But in effect it’s really a $250 fee the first year because of the statement credits. You get back the first $200 you spend on the card.

When the offer first came out there was some speculation that, despite terms not mentioning such a restriction, the statement credit was meant to be for American Airlines purchases only (past Citi offers have come with that kind of benefit). It would have been possible, one presumes, to buy American Airlines gift cards to get the statement credit. But for the irregular American Airlines flyer that wouldn’t have been as valuable as a straight-up credit.

We now know it really is a straight-up credit and as a result the effective first year fee is $250, on this card which offers a 100,000 mile signup bonus, and also gets lounge access and American Airlines flight benefits.

Some people seem to be getting the $200 credit triggered simply by the card’s $450 annual fee but that was not my experience. Perhaps that’s because the fee credit appears before the annual fee hit on my card statement.

Instead, I got a credit for the spending I did on the card before the fee was charged. My first statement didn’t get all of the $200, since I didn’t get around to running up card charges until I had had it for a few days.

When my statement closes next week I should get the remaining balance of the $200 credit.

Here’s what the terms say — it’s clear the credit is supposed to be for the first $200 in charges, and shouldn’t apply to the annual fee. Not that it really matters, because you’re going to want to run up $10,000 in charges on this card to pocket the 100,000 mile bonus.

Eligible purchases excluded returned goods and services, cash advances, convenience checks, transferred balances, credits, fees and interest charges. Statement credits will appear on the monthly billing statement from Citi®.

I do not know how long this offer will be available, it isn’t my link and I don’t receive referral credit for it, and I haven’t had conversations with Citibank about it. But it’s a great deal I think.

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, 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. I finally bit the bullet and applied for this card earlier this week. Fedex arrived bright and early at 930am earlier this morning with my card! Now time to go meet that minimum spend!

  2. Just approved for this card yesterday. Didn’t really want to apply for a new card at this time (due to a round of card apps 2 months earlier), but felt like this offer was too good to pass up.

  3. My AA number does not appear on the Citi online website.

    Has anyone encountered the same issue?

  4. Originally approved for the 75k offer with $100 credit they bumped me to the 100k offer with the $200 statement credit. Citi applied the additional 25k and $100 credit 2 billing cycles after I hit the 10k spend. They also took 2 billing cycles to update my AA number on their website. FYI.

  5. The first charge I made (and only one to make my first statement a month ago) was $1000 Amazon payment. To my surprise the amount due that month was only $800 because Citi credited me the $200…and the $450 annual fee hadn’t even hit yet. I really did think the $200 was only going to work on AA purchases so I’m VERY happy with this card offer now. I also used it to gain access to a US club a couple weeks ago. The desk agent was having “AA computer problems” but I gave her my AAdvantage # and I was let in with no fuss. Now to finish off the minimum spend, and then the fun starts with using those 100K miles =]

  6. The credit comes fast with first $200 spend of any type it seems.
    Also once you are approved you get the card via fedex or some related delivery within a few days.

    In addition if you can get a referral code to use during the process from an AA lounge person it seems to help them. I got instant approval on website. I just hope it holds up long enough that my wife can grab one as well.

  7. Got $220 statement credit (and annual fee charged) on first statement. Made no AA purchases so it was a straight credit for me.

  8. So to make sure I trigger the 100K bonus, I think I want to make sure my total bill is $10,250. That would be the $10,000 in spending, plus the $450 annual fee, minus the $200 statement credit.


  9. Just got my card in the mail a few days ago. Will I be receiving and actual Admirals Club Membership Card as well, or do I just show the AA Executive Credit Card to get into the lounge?

  10. @ Matt & Gary
    Actually you don’t need to bring the credit card with you to the lounge, once you give them your AA number, they can confirm you’re am Admirals Club member.

  11. For a card with a $450 annual fee it sure looks and feels like crap. The CSP is still my gold standard for look and feel and that only carries a $95 AF.

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