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I was surprised flying American Airlines this week that the onboard credit card pitch for the Barclays AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red World Elite Mastercard® included the flight attendant noting that this is ‘a new card introduced in 2017 (sic) and that if you already have the American Airlines card issued by Citi you can get this one too.’
Explicitly mentioning a competitor product seems to be a new part of the script since I’ve seen several references to this from other flyers on Facebook as well.
- American Airlines has two consumer card issuing banks.
- Barclays gets exclusivity pitching their cards onboard and in airports (but not within 100 feet of an Admirals Club)
- Citi gets exclusivity over other marketing channels, including inside of clubs
These are separate products. You can have both. In fact both banks issue both personal and small business cards, and it’s possible to get one of each, from each bank. And together they offer 230,000 miles in initial bonuses.
The personal and business cards from Citibank both have big offers and a $0 annual fee the first year.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®: 60,000 mile initial bonus after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. This card has a $0 annual fee the first year (then $99).
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®: 70,000 mile initial bonus after spending $4,000 within the first 4 months of account opening. This card has a $0 annual fee the first year (then $95).
The personal and business cards from Barclays charge you an annual fee, have lower bonuses, but don’t have minimum spend to earn the points.
- Barclays AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red World Elite Mastercard® has an offer for 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after first purchase within 90 days of account opening and paying the card’s $95 annual fee.
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® offers 50,000 AAdvantage miles after first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the card’s annual fee.
I find that availability on American’s own flights is limited (though better than a year ago). 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. I almost always use the miles for partner airline travel.
Cathay Pacific First Class
Etihad First Apartment
Citibank doesn’t seem to 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 in my experience 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 closed a card in that product’s family in the past 24 months. For this purpose the personal and business cards are separate, it is possible to earn the bonus for both a personal and a small business card.
It is possible to get both the Barclays personal and small business card. And as my American Airlines flight attendant observed these are separate from the Citibank cards. You can apply for cards from both issuers.
This is great for consumers — more bonuses, but also competition between the banks which drives up bonuses.