AA Finally Makes Their Credit Card Competitive.


Co-branded airline cards were suffering.

As new cards kept arriving that offered the ability to transfer points into real airline miles (that are worth significantly more than points that can’t be transferred into airline miles), often with lower annual fees, that also earn more miles per dollar than on the airline card, the co-branded cards were becoming completely useless. Even though they often offer double miles for purchases on their airline, other cards do even better than that for airfare.

Starwood effectively earns 1.25 miles per dollar spent.
Starwood business earns those 1.25 miles per dollar plus has Open Savings for up to 10% automatic cash back at places like HP, Microsoft, Fedex, Hyatt, and more on top of points.
Premier Rewards Gold earns 3 miles per dollar on airfare and 2 miles per dollar on gas and groceries and a 15,000 point bonus when you spend $30,000 in a year, effectively making all purchases worth at least 1.5 miles per dollar if you can reach that threshold.
Freedom with Exclusives earns 1.1 miles per dollar spent plus 10 miles per transaction and 5 miles per dollar in rotating categories (currently for grocery stores-and of course for gift cards sold at grocery stores).
Sapphire Preferred earns 1.07 miles per dollar spent and 2.14 or 3.21 miles per dollar spent on dining, airfare, hotels, and car rentals.
Ink Bold, Ink Cash, and Ink Classic earn 5 miles per dollar on office supplies (and gift cards sold at those stores) and on cable and telecom bills and 2 miles per dollar on gas and hotels.

To combat that Delta and United spruced up their offerings with benefits that make it worth having their cards.

United MileagePlus Explorer gives the first checked bag for free you and a companion, priority boarding, the ability to always redeem for a standard award, your miles will never expire, 2 club passes every anniversary, and in a bid to make their card more competitive, a 10,000 miles bonus every year if you spend $25,000, which makes your effective earning at least 1.4 miles per dollar. The other big benefit they add is free primary car rental CDW coverage, as nearly every other credit card only gives coverage secondary to your own personal car insurance coverage.

-Delta AMEX gives the first checked bag for free for you and 8 companions and priority boarding as well. Plus it gives 20% off on food and entertainment spending on Delta flights. No real incentive to put any spending on the card though.
-Delta business gives the same as the consumer card, plus has Open Savings for up to 10% automatic cash back at places like HP, Microsoft, Fedex, Hyatt, and more on top of points.

The AA card didn’t offer any compelling reason to be a cardholder besides for the rotating reduced mileage awards.
Finally they have added some more reasons to be a cardholder:
-First checked bag for free for you and 4 companions
-Free priority boarding
-25% off in-flight purchases
-A 10% refund on award redemptions, of up to 10,000 miles refunded per year. The automatic refunds will process within 8 weeks of redeeming the miles.
-They have gotten rid of the ridiculous mileage earning cap (that no other card has) and reintroduced double miles on AA purchases.
-If you spend $30K on the card in a year you will get a $100 AA travel certificate.

Effective today, if you currently have the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature, Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard, Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard, or the Citi Select AAdvantage American Express card you now have these benefits as well.

All in all not enough to make it worth spending on the card, but it can make having the card worthwhile if you travel on American.

AA, Delta, and United all waive their annual fee for their cards for the first year, and then charge $95.
I’d imagine it’s only a matter of time before USAirways introduces a card with waived baggage fees as well, as they are the odd one out after this move.

HT: ChAiM’l, via DDF

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48 Comments On "AA Finally Makes Their Credit Card Competitive."

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How does A refund on award redemptions work exactly?


annual fee??????????


What other AA cards offer the same thing?


if I already have AA card, do all these new goodies go on automatically?


A free checked bag for you and 4 companions
I would better word it to first free bag, than a frree checked bag.


can i transfer aa miles to jetblue or delta?
is this worth it? i dont like flying aa but have 100k miles


Does anyone have a link for a 50k signup bonus for the AA card? All I see is 30k.


Only applies to tickets booked on or after April 2, and only applies to primary cardholders.


I have two Citi AA cards. Is there a way to have the cards tracked automatically so that I get free baggage and priority boarding or do I have to flash the card at the counter and gate every time I fly?


I have the citi AAdvantage amex. Points are worth 1.75 to me based on calculations of my travelling costs and all.
a- is that a good return?
n- Do these new bonuses automatically apply to me?



Just looked at the T&Cs. Free checked bag applies only to DOMESTIC travel? So, travel to Canada would be excluded? That seems odd since for all other purposes (baggage, mileage redemption) Canada is treated no different than the US.


If I book AA on BA do I still get free bag?


I guess this throws a monkey wrench in it being worth it to upgrade a BA flight to business for the bags


But spending on the Starwood card will get you 1.25 AA miles (worth 2.2 cents with your numbers), so why spend on the AA card?

I would assume Canada is considered domestic for this purpose, as it is considered domestic in that you pay even for the first bag there, as with the US.

Hopefully someone will confirm though either way.

I don’t see why not?



are you sure it applies even to those who already have the card, or only for new applications?


It applies for those who currently have the cards I listed in the post.


but is not good for travel booked before today april 2


thanks Dan, the reason i asked was because up till today we all payed $85 annually (but of course waived…) and the current offer says $95 waived for the first year


@sprint: @sprint:

I won’t be surprised to see AA raise the annual fee for existing customers, we’ll see though.


do you need to actually book the travel with the card to get those benefits? or can i book it any way i want (i.e. mileage, or a different cc) and still get the priority boarding and free checked bag simply by owning one of those cards?


It looks like you merely need to own the card, not use it.


i have a AAdvantage AMEX card, and i got a mail from Citi saying if i apply for an AAdvantage Visa, i will receive 30,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles. Is it strange since i thought i could only have 1 AAdvantage card unless i apply both cards on the same day? I also wonder if i can use the 50K link instead to apply for the AAdvantage Visa? thanks.


if i book on aa using ba miles i wont get a free checked bag so why are u saying you dont see why not on the other way around,using aa on ba?


@schneury: Because AA only gives free bag if you fly on their metal


did the gold level AAdvantage World MC improve at all?

cavs fan #1

dan, i noticed they reduced the miles to 30000 from once offered 40000, is there a way similar to chase’s secure message method to have them match this? also, once i apply for it should i also get 2 more via the 3 browser method?


“A refund on award redemptions, of up to 10,000 miles refunded per year”

Can you explain that?

Basically it appears to be just about the same benefits as being an advantage gold member?

(ALthough not permanent, this past year I kept on getting promotional mail to call up and give them my pin# and I will earn 25% more miles for 6 months, (happened 3x)

Avid Reader

Nice. Just heard about this on the phone from a citi rep today.


any shot for free bags on my aa flight on Wednesday booked with mileage from sjo to nyc? Booked tickets with mileage a month ago


@lb wondering the same… i called and they said no. I’m going to try at the kiosk anyway.


Dan, is the 30k offer you posted the highest available bonus?


I’m asking because recently there were offers for 50k after $2,500 spend in 4 months


If you booked with BA miles and there are still seats available on the flights you want. You can cancel your reservation online – you will forfeit the $2.50 per segment that you paid, but will get your miles refunded. You can then repurchase and get free luggage.

Bachur with no credit history

If my father already has the aa citi card, can I get one as a secondary card holder? Will it work to get free luggage on aa? Are there added fees for having an extra card holder? And do you only get the bag fee waived when the ticket is purchased with the card?


whats the best way to israel with straight AA miles? we got bout 120 k ..any ideas ..economy is fine thank you happy p


Hi, just wondering if there is any conclusive way to find out about the Canada question (if it is considered domestic for this purpose). Who would I call to ask about that? Also, the link that was posted brings you to a page that only menions the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage Visa Signature cards. How do we know that the Citi Amex Select is included as well?


Just spent an hour on the phone with American and Citi trying to clarify…here is what I was told:
When it says “select domestic destinations” it means all domestic destinations. Toronto is indeed considered domestic for this purpose. However, if the ticket was book through BA, then you don’t get the benefits. Pretty upsetting…


Dan, does Amazon payments/money work for the $3,000 spending amount?


I currently pay $50 for my annual fee…,do you think this will change now??


-Khag Samech, and thanks for all you do for us!
-Is there any way to get more than 25K for opening a starwoods account? Do they ever up their offer?
-Any difference between the personal and business card? (I use my current card for both purposes)
-And can i transfer starwoods points to my Amwerican Airline account? Or do i need to use the points to issue a flight directly through their rewards programs?


Anyone have an offer code I should use when emailing Chase for a match to 50K miles on the United Mileage Plus Explorer?



no offer code necessary.


How does the free baggage benefit work? Do I need to show the cc in the airport, or does the fee waiver automatically get attached to my ticket/itinerary at time of booking?


Dan: I have a question to you: the new citi aa visa card is getting much worse than before currently. The old offer is $1500 spending in 3 months -> earn 75K bonus; the new offer is: $30000+ spending -> earn 40K ( 30K + 10K) bonus. With citi card’s dramatic change in bonus point offer, do you think Citi aa visa still could have the 75K bonus offer back later within this year?


this is not related but maybe someone can help me i have a expiring delta ticket/voucher that they say can only be used for my own travel what are my options to do with it

Avi Tzemach

Delta 10000 MQM bonus after $25000 spent and a 2nd 10000 bonus after additional $25000 (achieve elite sttus faster)

wayne kirby

hey dan, i want to apply for the aa credit card but i was thinking i might as well apply for 3 cards with the 3 browser method what other 2 cards should i apply for while i am at it?


How can I put 2 aa master cards in one ?