LTO: Citi American Airlines Offers 40,000-AAdvantage Mile Bonus - NerdWallet
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LTO: Citi American Airlines Offers 40,000-AAdvantage Mile Bonus

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Aw nerds! It looks like this offer has expired. Please visit NerdWallet’s Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® page for updated info.

For a limited time, the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature is offering a 40,000-mile signup bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. That’s up from the previous 30,000-mile offer – though you need to spend $3,000 in the first 3 months to make it happen. That’s a signup bonus worth $400 – a great offer, considering the card’s $95 annual fee is waived in the first year.

And the card comes with good perks, too:

  • Free checked bag for up to four people on your reservation
  • 10% rebate on AA miles that you redeem, up to 10,000 miles a year
  • This means your signup bonus is effectively 44,000 miles
  • $100 American flight discount every year that you spend $30,000

Moreover, the card’s a Visa Signature, which means you get perks like discounts on car rentals, free wine tastings and experiences.

It’s worth noting, however, that British Airways miles are far better for short-haul American Airlines flights. A flight from LAX to SFO, booked two weeks out, would cost 12,500 AAdvantage miles + a $75 late award booking surcharge. With British Airways Avios, however, that same flight would cost 4,500 miles and no surcharge. The British Airways Visa is also currently offering a sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus Avios after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

How does the AAdvantage stack up?

If you fly American often, the AAdvantage is a pretty decent option. The waived checked bag fees quickly make up for the annual fee – two roundtrip flights with a checked bag and you’re in the black. However, there are a couple drawbacks. Its annual fee might be a deterrent for some, especially if you don’t check bags. You earn just one mile per $1 spent on most purchases, and earn 2 only on American. You’re limited to redeeming your miles for American and other OneWorld Alliance flights. And there’s a foreign transaction fee. We’ll address those concerns one by one:

Annual fee. The annual fee is waived the first year, and the signup bonus more than makes up for it. But if you’re really concerned, you can call the card company at the end of your first year and ask them to waive the fee. You’re a great customer, you’ve made your payments on time, and you’d hate to have to close the account; could they please remove the annual fee.

Lower, more restrictive rewards and/or foreign transaction fees. A legitimate concern; if you won’t take advantage of waived bag fees and mileage rebates, you’re probably better off with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®or Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, whose annual fees are waived the first year. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® has a signup bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. And the Venture has a bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel. Both earn 2 miles on every $1 spent, and you can use your miles against any travel expense: airlines, gas, hotels, you name it. While you don’t get the American Airlines-specific perks, you get waived foreign transaction fees, greater flexibility and better rewards.

In the end, airline-specific cards like the Citi AAdvantage offer tailored perks; general travel cards forgo benefits for ease of earning and redemption.

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