Update, 12/7: AA miles are more valuable than ever thanks to the removal of all redeposit and change fees and the elimination of phone booking fees!
Now is the last chance to spend on American credit cards and earn million miler qualifying miles with spending! Miles must post to your AA account by 12/31/20 to count.
While miles won’t count towards million miler status in 2021, American will waive the flight spending requirement for Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Pro status for customers who spend $30,000 on their American credit cards. All miles that post to your account between 1/1/21-12/31/21 will count for that requirement.
Update, 7/26: With American flying from Dallas and JFK to Tel Aviv in 2021, and rumors of adding Miami to Tel Aviv as well, will you save up AA miles and try to reach lifetime elite status via credit card spending in 2020?
American had web specials from Dallas to Tel Aviv for as low as 20K miles before they pushed off the launch of that flight due to COVID-19, hopefully we’ll see some mileage bargains when they relaunch Tel Aviv flights!
Originally posted on 7/6/20:
Table of Contents
- The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum World Mastercard is offering 65,000 AA miles for opening the card and spending $4,000 in 4 months.
- The Citi AAdvantage Platinum World Elite Consumer Mastercard is offering 50,000 AA miles for opening the card and spending $2,500 in 3 months.
- The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Consumer Mastercard is offering 50,000 AA miles for opening the card and spending $5,000 in 3 months.
- The Citi AAdvantage MileUp Consumer Mastercard is offering 10,000 AA miles and a $50 statement credit for opening the card and spending $500 in 3 months.
- CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum World Mastercard: $0 for the first year, then $99
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum World Elite Consumer Mastercard: $0 for the first year, then $99
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Consumer Mastercard: $450
- Citi AAdvantage MileUp Consumer Mastercard: No annual fee
Signup bonus rules and product changes:
- You can receive the bonus on each of these 4 cards if you haven’t received a bonus for the same card in the past 48 months.
- Citi allows applications for 1 card every 8 days and 2 cards every 2 months. Business cards are limited to once every 3 months. Add a few extra days in between applications to be safe.
- Citi is very generous with product changes. For example you can change any of the consumer cards into most other Citi cards, including Citi Double Cash and Citi Rewards+.
- You can downgrade the premium American cards into the no annual fee MileUp card and you’ll then earn 2 miles per dollar on grocery purchases with no cap.
Earn 1 mile per dollar everywhere, or:
- CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum World Mastercard: 2 miles per dollar on car rentals, gas, telecom, internet, cable, satellite service providers, and AA purchases.
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum World Elite Consumer Mastercard: 2 miles per dollar on gas, dining, and AA purchases.
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Consumer Mastercard: 2 miles per dollar on AA purchases.
- Citi AAdvantage MileUp Consumer Mastercard: 2 miles per dollar on groceries and AA purchases.
Million Miler Lifetime Elite Status:
Since 2011, American has only counted actual flight miles towards earning million miler status.
However they recently announced that all miles earned from spending on US based AA credit cards that post to your account from 5/1/20-12/31/20 will count towards earning million miler lifetime elite status (we’ll call them MMLES).
You will earn 1 MMLES miles per dollar on all purchases. Unfortunately you won’t earn MMLES miles for the signup bonus or bonus miles on purchases in bonus categories.
Million Miler Tiers:
- You will earn lifetime Gold status and 35K bonus miles when you earn 1MM million miler miles.
- You will earn lifetime Platinum status and 4 systemwide upgrades when you earn 2MM million miler miles.
- Sadly, there is no way to earn Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum status, but you will earn 4 systemwide upgrades for each additional million miler threshold reached.
I earned lifetime Platinum status from opening AA credit cards back in the days when all AA miles counted towards million miler status.
I got my wife close by opening credit cards for her from when we got married in November 2008 until when the program ended in November 2011, but didn’t quite get her to 2MM:
You can login via this link to check how many MMLES miles that you have. After doing that you should see the screenshot above with your current million miler balance to see how much you’ll need to spend to get to the next threshold.
- The Platinum cards come with the first check bag for the cardholder and 4 companions for free on domestic flights, even on basic economy fares. The Executive card includes the free bag for up to 8 companions. You don’t need to pay for the flight with this card, you just need to make sure that your AA mileage number is in your reservation. That means you can get a free bag even when using partner award miles from airlines like BA or Alaska to book your AA flight.
- The Platinum cards come with group 5 priority boarding, even on basic economy fares. The Executive card includes priority checkin/security, and group 4 priority boarding
- All cards include 25% off AA in-flight food and beverages via statement credit rebate
- The business card comes with 25% off AA in-flight WiFi via statement credit rebate
- The business card comes with Mastercard Easy Savings by registering here. You’ll get a cash rebate on top of miles with select merchants such as 5% cash back at Avis, Budget, Firestone, Upside Travel, and 1% cash back at select gas stations (Enter zip code to search)
- The Platinum and Executive cards include 7,500 miles off flights to or from dozens of rotating cities.
- The Platinum and Executive cards have no foreign transaction fees.
- The Executive card includes a Admirals Club membership and you can bring in your immediate family or 2 guests with you. You can add up to 10 additional users for free and they can also bring in their immediate family or 2 guests with then.
- The Executive card includes Global Entry/Pre-Check credit.
- The Executive card includes 10K EQMs annually for spending $40K
- The business Platinum card includes an annual $99 companion certificate if you spend $30K/year
- The consumer Platinum card includes a $125 AA flight discount if you spend $20K/year
|CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum World Mastercard||Citi AAdvantage Platinum World Elite Consumer Mastercard||Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Consumer Mastercard||Citi AAdvantage MileUp Consumer Mastercard|
|Signup Bonus||65K miles for spending $4K in 4 months||50K miles for spending $2.5K in 3 months||50K miles for spending $5K in 3 months||10K miles+$50 statement credit for spending $500 in 3 months|
|Annual fee||$0 for the first year, then $99||$0 for the first year, then $99||$450||$0|
|Miles per dollar on car rentals||2||1||1||1|
|Miles per dollar on gas||2||2||1||1|
|Miles per dollar on dining||1||2||1||1|
|Miles per dollar on telecom, internet, cable, and satellite service providers||2||1||1||1|
|Miles per dollar on groceries||1||1||1||2|
|Miles per dollar on AA purchases||2||2||2||2|
|Free first domestic checked bag||Valid for cardholder and 4 companions||Valid for cardholder and 4 companions||Valid for cardholder and 8 companions||No|
|Priority boarding||Group 5||Group 5||Group 4||No|
|Priority check-in and security||No||No||Yes||No|
|25% off AA in-flight WiFi||Yes||No||No||No|
|25% off AA in-flight food and beverages||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||0%||0%||0%||3%|
|Admirals Club Membership||No||No||Yes, allows primary and secondary cardholders to bring entire immediate family or 2 guests into clubs||No|
|Save 7,500 Miles On Rotating Awards||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Annual $125 AA flight discount companion certificate if you spend $20K/year||No||Yes||No||No|
|Annual $99 companion certificate if you spend $30K/year||Yes||No||No||No|
|Annual 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles if you spend $40K/year||No||No||Yes||No|
|Mastercard Easy Savings||Yes||No||No||No|
|Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit||No||No||Yes||No|
Using AA Miles:
While Delta and United have killed their award charts and increased miles needed for flights, American has retained published award charts for both AA and partner award flights.
When Delta and United eliminated their close-in award booking fees, they increased the miles needed for flights. American also removed their close-in booking fees, but they haven’t yet increased the miles needed for close-in flights.
You can transfer AMEX points into Delta miles and Chase points into United miles, making their own credit cards typically a poor value.
However no bank points transfer to American, making their own credit cards the best way to earn them.
Currently American has a 2 prong approach to mileage redemption that makes them far more versatile than other miles!
They also have dynamic web special pricing for coach, business, and first class awards.
I’ve posted web special awards such as just 5,000 miles for flights between the US and Australia/New Zealand and 20K miles to Israel. I used 10,000 miles to book a web special to Nassau earlier this year, when paid tickets were a small fortune, while United wanted 17,500 miles, and Delta wanted some 50,000 miles.
American still has valuable partner awards on airlines like Alaska, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, and Air Tahiti Nui. Some partner flight must be booked over the phone while others have much better award availability by calling AA in Australia or New Zealand.
For example I used 105K American miles to fly in an apartment on Etihad Shower Class from the Maldives to Cleveland via Abu Dhabi and JFK. That’s now 115K as AA killed the award redemption rebate for cardholders earlier last year.
Which partner airlines do you book with AA miles?
Business card info:
If you want to apply for the business card, you may already have a business that needs a card to keep track of expenses. For example if your name is Joe Smith and you sell items online, or if you have any other side business and want a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures you can open a business credit card for “Joe Smith” as the business. You don’t need to file any messy government paperwork to be allowed to do that. Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field.
If you have business paperwork you can apply under your business name. Otherwise, it’s critical to just write your own name as the business name if you are just applying for your own small business as a Sole Proprietorship that doesn’t have any business paperwork. You can then send in bills in your own name for verification.
If you’re like me and you run more than one business, you can signup for multiple of the same card for each business to manage each businesses expenses separately.
Another benefit of the card not reporting on your personal credit report is that when you spend money on personal cards your credit score will be hurt even if you pay your bill on time. A whopping 30% of your credit score is based on credit utilization. You can pay off your card bill before your statement is generated to avoid that, but that takes effort and laying out money well before you have to. Additionally it’s good to have the statement close with a couple dollars to show the card is active and being paid every month. On an business cards from banks like AMEX, Chase, and Citi it’s just not reported, so you can wait until the money is due without it having a negative effect on your score. That also means if you close the card, it won’t have an effect on your credit score.
Will you signup for any of the Citi AA cards?