The Strangest Gift I’ve Ever Received Just Came in the Mail from Citibank

One of my first projects after graduating college was marketing a program where the low hanging fruit was just fixing the processes for responding to people that were interested.

They’d see the program on a poster, call up and ask for information. Since there wasn’t really anything to send out yet to people wanting more information, they got mailed… a poster.

Not every project I’ve worked on has required a rocket scientist to leave better off.

I was brought back nearly two decades to the project when I checked my mailbox today and found a thank you gift in the mail from the Citi Executive / AAdvantage Card.

This is the premium American AAdvantage co-brand card from Citibank. It comes with Admirals Club membership and lets you earn 10,000 elite qualifying miles after $40,000 spend in a year.

So what gift did they send?

As a ‘special thank you for loyalty’ they’ve given me two one-day passes to any Admirals Club lounge.

Don’t they know I already have club membership? After all, I receive that as a benefit of the card.

This is all good, I’ll find someone to give away the passes to. In fact, they could have made this mailing a win by simply changing the marketing copy:

We appreciate your loyalty as a Citi Executive cardmember and you know how valuable lounge access can be — as a place to escape the bustle of the airport, to have a shower after an overnight flight, or to find assistance from helpful agents when flight plans go wrong. We’d love to let you share that benefit with a friend or family member. Please accept these two lounge passes as a token of our appreciation!

Instead I get probably the strangest gift since a hotel booking site sent me a hammock at Christmas (I wouldn’t need a hammock if I were booking a room through their site, since I’d have a bed) or the time Microsoft gave me a branded pen, stapler, and note pad (for when my copy of Microsoft Word stops working?).

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. That is funny. I don’t even know what to do with all the US Air card passes my wife and I get since we both have the Citi AA Exec card and the US Air passes seem to be account specific like you can’t just give them to others.

  2. @Denis – since the inaugural $200 airline credit is not being extended upon renewal, I’ll probably need the passes!

  3. I don’t think that’s all that strange of a gift. One of the perks of my hobby is being able to gift friends with lounge passes and drink vouchers.

  4. I agree with VNAFlyer. I’m going to Europe on American for our 40 th wedding anniversary and would love them. 🙂

  5. As a fan of your blog and the owner of a hammock company, I’m a little shocked. I didn’t know anyone could be bothered by the free gift of a hammock… Bed or no bed, a hammock is always awesome!!

  6. @Seth – I’m not dissing on a hammock! Just thought it was a strange gift from a hotel booking site, since if you’re using your product you’re buying a bed. Dissonance between gifter and gift, is all !

  7. Let your readership (uhh hmmm) have those passes? Could really use them on a BCN / PHL (layover) / LGA flight in April.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *