Warning About American Airlines Credit Card Offers/Promotions
In 2013 is 100,000 bonus miles really possible? This American Airlines credit card review shows how their promotional offers work and the pros and cons behind them.
*Warning about the mega-promotions*
Is a card offer for 75,000 or 100,000 miles too good to be true? Sort of. Years ago Citi ran a couple very brief offers for 75k or 100k miles but they came with major strings – offered for an extremely limited time and minimum spend requirements of up to $10,000 to get the bonus points. Furthermore, these were targeted offers… so not everyone could apply.
My guess is Citi/AA probably did this as a marketing campaign to drum up some quick PR for the card on forums/blogs (and it worked). But the truth of the matter is when you apply for an AAdvantage card these days, you will probably get a bonus ranging from 2,500 to 30,000 miles (depending on the card level). So if you're looking for higher, you're not going to find it. If you want to see the best offer, this page is constantly updated with 2013's best signup promotion.
Being that they're among largest carriers (actually they are the largest based on distance flown annually) 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 Airline credit credit card promotions that are currently available in 2012.
#1: Citi Platinum AAdvantage Visa Signature Card
This is an all-new version which was JUST LAUNCHED on 4/2/2012 and wow… this is the most enticing airline offer yet. Review the benefits and decide for yourself but first, here are the basics:
In addition, something that makes the AAdvantage frequent flyer program superior is that you have over 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.
- 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases
- 1 mile per dollar on everything else
- Now you can earn unlimited miles and they never expire.
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 most 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.
- 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 17.5k miles instead of 25k.
- 10% Back On Miles: You earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back, up to 10,000 per year. For example if your flight cost 40,000 miles you would automatically receive 4,000 miles back.
- Free First Checked Bag: You get this on domestic flights for yourself and up to 4 additional passengers on the same reservation.
- Priority Boarding with Group 1 privileges: Very useful for securing those overhead bins ahead of the crowd!
- 25% Discount For In-Flight Food & Beverage Purchases
- $100 Flight Discount Each Year You Spend $30k: This is a new feature available for the Platinum (the year starts on the date your account is opened).
This Visa Signature comes loaded with perks:
- Personal Concierge Service
- No Preset Spending Limit
- Automatic Travel Accident Insurance
- Retail Purchase Protection
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption Coverage
- Auto Rental Insurance
- Extended Warranty
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement
- Price Protection
- Travel & Emergency Assistance
- Embedded EMV chip and signature
Best Signup 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 and the offer Citi is currently running:
In the past there were a number of drawbacks to the AAdvantage card, such as limits on how many miles you could earn and few benefits. However the new Platinum version launched for April 2012 is arguably the best airline card on the market, especially when you take into account the yearly $100 ticket discount after qualifying spending.
#2: Citi Gold AAdvantage Visa Signature
This is the second best American Airlines credit card offer but unfortunately, it pails 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 seldom traveler.
Here's what you will NOT get:
Here's what you WILL get:
- NO $100 annual flight discount
- NO benefit for free first checked bags
- NO priority boarding
- NO 25% discount for in-flight purchases
- NO 10% rebate on redeemed miles
- NO double miles on American Airlines purchases
There were only 2 positive changes on this card for 2012. The first being that the mileage cap was eliminated (previously you could only earn 60,000 miles per year). The second is that it was changed from a World MasterCard to a Visa Signature; both have very similar benefits but the latter is best in my opinion.
- Credit Card Rewards: 1 miles per dollar but there are no 2x miles on AA purchase.
- 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: A maximum of 30k miles.
The Gold American Airlines card is average and saying that is a stretch. It's no longer a good deal now that Citi has aggressively expanded the benefits on the Platinum version. 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 is normally $50 per roundtrip).
#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.
- Deferred Interest: Similar to store cards, this AAdvantage card offers 0% on purchases of $150+ if paid in full within 6 month. If every penny of the purchase is not paid off before then, interest is charged retroactively going back to the date of purchase for the full amount. At the time of this review it has a very high 25.99% variable APR.
- No Rewards Program: You don’t earn miles and there is no bonus offer with it.
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 in 2013 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. Check out CreditCardForum's sponsored promotion for it, which is currently the best available: