Alert Regarding American Airlines Credit Card Offers/Promotions
Can a 100,000 bonus mile sign-up offer be legitimate? This American Airlines credit card review shows how their promotional offers really work in 2014 and the pros and cons behind them.
*The truth about the mega-promotions*
Is a card offer for 75,000 or 100,000 miles too good to be true? Potentially, but they often come with major strings. Years ago Citi ran a couple very brief offers for 75,000 or 100,000 miles but they were available for an extremely limited time and had minimum spending requirements of up to $10,000 to get the bonus points. Furthermore, these were targeted offers... so not everyone could apply. Even for those who were approved, getting the bonus was tough, given the lofty spending requirements.
Citi/AA probably did this as a marketing ploy to generate some quick PR buzz for the card on forums/blogs (and it worked, sadly). But the truth of the matter is when you apply for an AAdvantage card these days, you will probably get a bonus ranging from 25,000 to 30,000 miles (depending on the card level). So if you're looking for higher signup bonus offers, you're not going to find them with Citi/AA.
This page is constantly updated with the highest signup offer as of March 2014.
Because AA is among the largest carriers (actually they are the largest based on distance flown annually and especially since the US Airways merger) it comes as no surprise they have one of the most popular frequent flyer programs on the market. However there are some important things you need to know. Let's review some of the Citi American Airlines credit card promotions that are currently available in 2014.
#1: Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard
This version was launched in 2012 and has seriously upped the ante... it's the most enticing airline offer yet. You'll have to review the benefits and decide for yourself, but here are the basics:
In addition, something that makes the AAdvantage frequent flyer program superior is that you have more than 1,000 different ways you can earn extra miles. For example, there are several dozen hotel chains and eight of the most popular car rental companies participating.
- Earn unlimited miles that never expire.
- 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases.
- 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
- Annual fee of $95, waived for first 12 months.
With the Platinum American Airlines card you get some unique advantages:
New AA Platinum Benefits
- No Blackout Dates: In the frequent flyer world, AAdvantage miles are highly coveted because unlike some other airlines, there are no restricted dates for award tickets. Of course they can't guarantee reward seats will always be available but at least you have the freedom to fly on American Airlines, American Eagle, and American Connection without any blackout dates.
- 10 Percent Back On Miles: You earn 10 percent of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back, up to 10,000 per year. For example if your flight cost 30,000 miles you would automatically receive 3,000 miles back.
- MileSAAver Discount: You get a "discount" in the number of AAdvantage miles needed for selected domestic destinations – 7,500 miles savings per roundtrip ticket. For example, a reduced mileage award may only cost 17,500 miles instead of 25,000.
- Free First Checked Bag: You get this on domestic flights for yourself and up to four additional passengers on the same reservation.
- Priority Boarding with Group 1 Privileges: Great for getting on board ahead of the crowds so you can score an overhead bin before they're taken.
- 25 Percent Savings on Eligible In-Flight Purchases: On things like in-flight food and beverage purchases.
- $100 Flight Discount Each Year You Spend $30,000: This is a new feature available for the Platinum (the year starts on the date your account is opened). It's pretty easy to meet this spending threshold if you put every expense on your card. This benefit alone offsets the cost of the annual fee.
This World MasterCard comes loaded with perks:
- Embedded EMV chip and signature
- Retail Purchase Protection
- No Preset Spending Limit
- Automatic Travel Accident Insurance
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption Coverage
- Auto Rental Insurance
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement
- Travel and Emergency Assistance
- Personal Concierge Service
- Extended Warranty
- Citi Price Rewind
Best Sign-up Promotion
If you've been thinking about getting an American Airlines credit card, now would be the time to do it considering all the new benefits, not to mention, this offer they're running on the Platinum that gives you 30,000 bonus miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of cardmembership (a very easy spend threshold to meet).
Prior to this card's launch in April 2012, there were some drawbacks to the AAdvantage card, such as limits on how many miles you could earn and few benefits. However this version is arguably the best airline card on the market, especially when you take into account the yearly $100 ticket discount given after qualifying annual spending and card renewal.
#2: Citi Gold AAdvantage Visa Signature
This is the second best American Airlines credit card offer but unfortunately, it pales in comparison to the Platinum. When you consider all the things you're not getting, I honestly can't think of a rational reason why someone would apply for the Gold. Paying just $45 more per year to get all of the above simply makes sense, even for the infrequent traveler.
Here's what you will NOT get:
Here's what you WILL get:
- NO benefit for free first checked bags
- NO priority boarding
- NO 25 percent discount for in-flight purchases
- NO 10 percent rebate on redeemed miles
- NO double miles on American Airlines purchases
- NO ability to earn a $100 annual flight discount
There were only two positive changes on this card last year. First, the first being that the mileage cap was eliminated (previously you could earn only 60,000 miles per year). Second, it became available in Visa Signature and World MasterCard versions.
- Credit Card Rewards: 1 mile per dollar, not double miles on AA purchases.
- Partner Rewards: Same as Platinum.
- No Blackout Dates: Same as Platinum.
- MileSAAver Discount: The "Reduced Mileage Awards" will cost you 2,500 miles more than what you get with the Platinum.
- Annual Fee: $50
- Bonus Promotion: The highest offer is 25,000 miles.
The Gold American Airlines card is fairly unremarkable and saying that is a stretch. It's no longer a good deal now that Citi has aggressively expanded the benefits on Platinum, while scaling them back on this one. When you consider that the Platinum only costs $45 more and it offers you first checked bags for free, that in and of itself justifies the higher cost, even if you only use that perk once per year (because one checked bag normally costs $50 per round trip).
#3: American Airlines Credit Card
This is their lowest tier and it basically operates like a store credit card (but for an airline, of course). Here's why I say that...
- Not a major card: This is NOT a Visa/MasterCard/American Express/Discover. It can only be used for purchases from American Airlines.
- No Rewards Program: You don't earn extra miles for using it and there is no bonus offer with it.
- Deferred Interest: Similar to those financing "deals" you see at furniture stores and tire shops, this AAdvantage card offers 0 percent on purchases of $150+ if paid in full within six months. If every penny of the purchase is not paid off before then, then the interest is charged retroactively going back to the date of purchase for the full amount. As of the time of this review, that interest rate was a Variable 25.99 percent or non-variable 21.96 percent - 25.99 percent. Very expensive!
This version is only for those who have absolutely terrible credit and are trying to rebuild credit history. Everyone else should try for a better tier.
The winner is...
...quite obvious! After you compare the American Airlines credit cards for yourself, you can see why the Platinum is the only way to go. Here's the best offer currently available for it as of March 2014:
With this 30,000 mile offer, you only have to make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of cardmembership to get the bonus miles. Typically the spend requirements are much higher so this is a nice opportunity if you want it.