New Benefits and Bigger Bonus Coming for Citi American AAdvantage Card

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American Airlines and Citibank announced that their co-brand credit card will be increasing earning and American tells me that a bigger signup bonus is coming next month.

There will be a 60,000 mile offer starting May 3 and the card will come with stronger points-earning and an opportunity to earn credit towards American Airlines travel.

The Platinum consumer card is getting two improvements.

  • 2 points per dollar at restaurants and gas stations
  • An annual $100 American Airlines flight discount after $20,000 spend within a year provided after card renewal

Existing cardmembers will see these improvements go into effect July 22.

Interestingly the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® doesn’t get increased earn that the same time. It’s the $450 annual fee card that comes with American Airlines Club membership — and it offers authorized user cards at no additional annual fee, each one getting club access as well. The less expensive card is actually going to be stronger for earning American Airlines AAdvantage miles than the premium card.

We’ll see whether there’s a competitive response from Barclays. I’ve said for some time that airline co-brand cards have been good for benefits flying the airline especially if you don’t have elite status but haven’t been the most rewarding way to earn miles because of the generous earning cards out there.

And while these changes alone don’t alter that value proposition, they do help a little bit especially since with the changes to Marriott credit cards coming with the new Marriott loyalty program Starwood’s card will no longer be a better way to earn AAdvantage miles than American’s own credit cards.

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. So essentially for those that want AA miles Amex and Marriott just helped Citibanks bottom line!

  2. Lol, so I’m better off downgrading my card to the platinum because I would earn more miles than my Exec. And with status, the annual fee is evenly split.

  3. As long as only Barclaycard gets the EQD opportunities, all my AAdvantage card spending will be going there. I find it kind of odd that Citi didn’t get the same benefit.

  4. Gary- you’ve written at length about AA’s nonexistent award availability; I can’t remember the last time I found even nonstop domestic awards. What’s the point of a bigger signup bonus if you can’t spend it?

  5. I agree with @Miles.

    I just downgraded my Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select to the no annual fee “Bronze” version. But if the Exec doesn’t move to match these earning levels, and with the SPG Amex becoming less lucrative for earning AA miles, I may upgrade back to the Platinum Select.

  6. To the complaint about AA seats not being available, I suggest flying British Air with AA miles. The downside are the fees which are very high. But the seats in Business Class are there and you pay fees equal to an Economy Plus ticket and get a Business Class seat. (if you try this, book two one way award tickets rather than round trip and you will save hundreds of dollars). So it’s not a strategy that works for those with no money.

  7. I’ve had the Citibank Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard for years and previously used it as my primary card more often than not. However, the American Airlines miles have become almost impossible to use on AA flights and, when they are, seats are inevitably in the rear and not on the aisles. Further, co-share flights with BA or other airlines don’t allow seat choices at all or have absurd “fees” tacked on. And Citibank had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to begin to offer no foreign transaction fees — I previously called their customer service each time I went abroad and basically threatened to spend my money with another card (I have several) if they didn’t waive these fees; they did this each time by charging my card the fees then crediting them back. And acting like they did me a favor. This new increased benefit is still not up to that given by my new primary card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa & they’ve basically lost almost $100,000/year of my card spending. My monthly parking garage cost alone negates the entire $450 Chase Reserve Visa card fee ($300 cash credit + 3x points on $5000/year). Citibank’s new 2x restaurant/gas offer is lower than the 3x I’m getting as well. I really don’t know what they’re thinking. End of rant.

  8. As for those who say that AA seats are not available, here is my experience using AA miles during the past three years from New York and Philadelphia (trips completed or already booked):

    AA in coach into Rome, returning from Venice (2 tix)
    Cathay Pacific in business roundtrip to Bangkok (2 tix)
    Cathay Pacific in business into Singapore, returning from Hong Kong (2 tix)
    Japan Airlines in coach roundtrip to Tokyo (2 tix)–upgraded to premium economy using cash
    Qantas in coach roundtrip Sydney to Perth (4 tix)
    AA/Fiji Airways in coach roundtrip to Fiji (2 tix)
    AA in business into Budapest, returning from Prague (2 tix)
    Qatar in business into Male, returning from New Delhi (2 tix)

    So, I guess I wonder about AA’s nonexistent award availability. Personally, I have no complaints.

  9. DSK,

    In fairness, a vast majority of your trips were actually not on AA. That doesn’t invalidate the statement “seats on AA are not available”.

    I’m with you though — I’m all about international partner travel.

  10. DSK…what you left off was that many of the referenced rewards were on airlines vastly superior to AA metal…a big plus!!!

  11. I take it with these changes its still the same products so if you have opened or closed them in the past 24 months its a no go for the bonus correct?

  12. Fact remains, AA points @2X still worth less than CSR @ 3X for travel and restaurants, Ink Cash for gas @2X. So the offer still doesn’t make the card worthy of spend.

  13. Too little, way too late.

    Citi credit cards, especially Business cards, are so inferior to the cards from Chase, Amex and Barclaycard. If you have the Citi Select, there’s no path to upgrade the card to Citi Platinum Select. Really?

  14. Just got the official notice today. Benefits as described above. And an increase from$95/year to $99/year. Now if I can just get an aisle seat….

  15. @Steve R I am not saying this is fair or right, and AA made the rules (not me) but as an American Airlines Platinum, every open seat is available to me at no surcharge in economy or Main Cabin Extra. I understand that people with AA status may see an empty seat map while those without status may only see middle seats available, or seats available only at the back of the plane. I have never had a problem getting an aisle seat, normally in the front of Economy when I am flying in that class. This policy affects me personally when family members are traveling without me, and I think American may be the worst offender among the USA big 3.

  16. I understand. The concept of “fairness” doesn’t enter into it for me. The fact that I am not an AA Gold or Platinum member is my doing by not flying AA enough. I get that & its their right to run their flight availability & seating program as they see fit. HOWEVER… since Citibank’s AA Mastercard locks me into AA miles which AA then chooses to restrict, I find that the usefulness of the Citibank card is minimal & have moved on. If Citibank went to a point system like Chase has, and allowed me to cash in the points (literally) or use them for purchasing power on any travel cost, I’d probably not have relegated their card into my “backup” pile. When I fly AA, I’ll use it (since it comes with baggage and other perks) but, otherwise, not so much. Purely a business decision.

  17. “AU’s getting club access as well”
    This is misleading. Read the fine print. AU’s get some access but not full access.

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