American’s Great New Credit Card Agreement With Citi AND Barclays!

Filed Under: American, Credit Cards
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The merger between American and US Airways hasn’t just been interesting from an operational perspective, but also from a partnership perspective. For example, American was part of oneworld, while US Airways was part of Star Alliance, so the combined airline ended up joining oneworld.

On the credit card front, American’s credit cards have long been issued by Citi, while US Airways’ credit cards were issued by Barclays. It’s interesting to see how this is playing out.


The current state of American’s credit card agreement

As it currently stands, American continues to issue Citi AAdvantage credit cards. While Barclays is no longer allowed to issue AAdvantage credit cards, those who already have a Barclays AAdvantage card can continue to use it.

We were told we would eventually learn about American’s new credit card agreement as they finalized it, and it looks like that has finally happened. Going forward, American will be working with both Barclays and Citi on co-branded credit cards.

American’s new agreement with Citi and Barclays

This is an interesting agreement, as it makes American the first US airline I know of to have credit cards from two issuers. This is similar to Hilton on the hotel front, as Hilton has a partnership with both American Express and Citi.

What’s most fascinating is how Barclays and Citi will be marketed differently, per American’s press release:

American has entered into new agreements with both Citi and Barclays US. The agreements will allow Citi to continue offering its lineup of cards to new customers through multiple exclusive channels such as digital – including – mobile, direct mail, and Admirals Club lounges.

The agreements will also allow Barclays US, the payments business of Barclays in the United States, to offer its cards to new customers in airports and exclusively during flights beginning in January 2017.

Current cardholders will continue to see the same great benefits from both Citi and Barclays US as well as benefit from a new, long-term exclusive agreement with Mastercard.

So Citi cards will be advertised on American’s website, through the mail, and in Admirals Clubs, while Barclays will be advertised in airports and on flights.

It hasn’t yet been announced exactly when Barclays will once again be able to issue AAdvantage credit cards, but we’ve now started to see a couple options, like the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard.

What does this mean for consumers?

This is great news for consumers. Competition is always a good thing, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing here. We should see more competitive benefits, better sign-up bonuses, and better return on spend thanks to the competition between the two issuers.

I think many of us are still curious what this means in regards to an elite qualifying dollar waiver for American status.

American is introducing a revenue requirement for status as of next year, but hasn’t yet announced if there will be a way to get that waived by spending a certain amount on one of their co-branded credit cards. Hopefully we find out soon, as I’ll be curious to see if American has an exclusive agreement with one of those issuers in that regard.

While I don’t yet know the details, I suspect they will offer something in the way of a waiver. Both Delta and United offer a waiver when spending $25,000 on their co-branded cards. The major difference is that with Delta the waiver even applies for top tier status, while it doesn’t with United.

Similarly, I’m curious if Barclays has the right to introduce a premium credit card intended to compete with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® , which comes with lounge access. While Barclays has a few types of AAdvantage credit cards, there aren’t any truly premium ones yet.


Bottom line

The way I see it, this is the best case scenario, as we’ll see increased competition in the credit card market for American’s customers. With all the mergers between airlines, we’ve also seen reduced credit card offerings from airlines. This should nicely counteract that, at least for American flyers.

Now I’m just curious to see what this means for the portfolio of cards offered, and which issuer will have a right to offer an elite qualifying dollar waiver, if any.

What do you make of American issuing cards from both Barclays and Citi?

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  1. For me it’s great news. I have the old (US Air) Barclaycard Silver Aviator which gives 3 miles for every dollar purchased on AA along with the other benefits. Actually signed up for it on a flight back in 2013 and got a sweet deal with the annual bonus as well. Competition can only be a good thing – all upside IMO.

  2. Maybe they’ll compete to lower the spend thresholds for EQMs (the old Barclay 10k when you spend $25k was much better than the Citi 10k when you spend $40k and Barclay 5k each at $20k and $40k). Fingers crossed.

  3. I’ll certainly apply for one of the Barclays AA cards, if for no other reason than to use the sign-up bonus to increase my balance of AA miles.

    I’m wondering if Barclays will be allowed to issue an equivalent to the Citi Executive card, and if they are, what kind of sign-up bonus/minimum spend it’ll have. I might be interested in the Citi Executive card, but the spend to get the bonus is way above my budget.

  4. This is GREAT news!! I have the Barclay version and LOVE it, especially the 3x miles I get for AA purchases! I have a citi bank card and citi is an incredibly difficult bank to work with, so I wasn’t looking forward to having to switch to them to stay with AA miles accrual. I want to get the executive card so I can get lounge access so I do hope that Barclay starts to offer that option for its members soon so I don’t have to switch to Citi.

  5. So what? AA miles are worthless. There is zero availability, no matter where you look.
    Never been as bad as recently. Delta and United are 100x better, can you believe that?
    Plus the latest deval and issues with Etihad etc…

  6. Wish we could get more than little bits and pieces of info at a time. Still much more news to be released about the Advantage program and CC spend with the cards.

  7. how is Barclays on chruning? my gut tells me to cancel my Aviator Red right now so I can get a new one as soon as possible (i’ve kept it b/c they’ve reimbursed the AF every year).

  8. So will there be then 4 cards then to sign up for? 2 of which will be entirely new products?

  9. I suspect this means that neither Citi nor Barclays was willing to pay what AA wanted for exclusivity, which suggests that Citi also didn’t meet AA’s price for transferability of TYP. I hope I’m wrong about that.

  10. “The agreements will also allow Barclaycard US … to offer its cards to new customers in airports and exclusively during flights beginning in January 2017.”

    Hm, when they say “in airports,” I’m wondering if you actually have to be flying somewhere to apply … or can you just do so at an AA counter at an airport? I’d love to get a Barclays AA card to complement my Citi AA card, but not sure I want to go as far as booking a flight just to get a credit card app 😀

  11. As another poster mentioned earlier, AA miles are becoming worthless, since domestic and international Saver award redemption availability is really BAD, except some flights to Europe. I’m actually thinking of cancelling my Citi cards when my annual fee comes due. If people have been sitting on their AA miles waiting for great Saver Award redemption opportunities they’re in for an unpleasant surprise…

  12. “GREAT NEWS FOR CONSUMERS” but……you don’t know any details
    Sometimes these post are not worth very much except a click for your traffic counts

  13. @ MB — How is it not good news for consumers when two companies are competing for someone’s business rather than one? C’mon…

  14. Lucky, do you read the wording in the announcement to mean that you’ll only be able to apply for a Barclays AA card at an airport, or do you think they just worded it poorly?

  15. @ Brian L. — You should still be able to apply online, just through the Barclaycard website, rather than through a link on American’s website.

  16. I am a current Barclays American card holder, and I received the initial sign up bonus when I signed up for the card about 3 years ago. Am I allowed to get a citi American advantage card and get the initial sign up bonus? I doubt this, but still wonder because it is 2 completely different cards. Thanks.

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