My Favorite Citi AAdvantage Credit Card Perk

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For a limited time, Citi is offering big increased welcome bonuses on their co-branded American Airlines credit cards:

Those are huge welcome bonuses, and you’re potentially eligible for both of those cards, meaning you could be looking at 130,000+ American AAdvantage bonus miles upon completing minimum spend, which could go a long way towards premium cabin redemptions.

On top of that, both cards come with quite a few useful perks that could more than justify the annual fees on the cards. For example, both cards offer preferred boarding on domestic American Airlines flights, as well as a first checked bag free on domestic itineraries for the cardmember and up to four companions on the same reservation.

The cards both have annual fees of under $100, so when you consider that American charges $25 per checked bag per direction, the savings on those fees can quickly more than cover the annual fees (which are waived for the first year on both cards).

Those benefits are great for non-elite members, but sometimes I’ll get comments from AAdvantage elite members saying “well I get all of those things anyway, so this card has no value to me long term.”

Arguably the more loyal you are to American, the more value you’ll get out of my favorite perk on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®. Specifically, only the personal version of the card offers a 10% refund on redeemed miles, for a total of up to 10,000 refunded miles per year.

Put another way, if you redeem at least 100,000 miles per year then you’ll get 10,000 miles back per year, which I value at more than the $99 annual fee.

To look at it another way, if you were to actually redeem the 60,000 miles you earned with the welcome bonus then you’d receive a refund of 6,000 miles, meaning that welcome bonus would get you the equivalent value of 66,000 miles.

Or if you got both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and earned 130,000 miles, then you’d receive 10,000 miles back when you redeemed them (or if you redeemed the balance over two calendar years, you could get 13,000 miles back).

Here’s what you need to know about the 10% refund on redeemed miles:

  • The mileage refund posts automatically as long as you have the personal version of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card; you don’t even have to pay the award ticket taxes with the card
  • The 10,000 mile limit is per calendar year
  • The terms state that miles will be refunded within 6-8 weeks, though in practice they usually post shortly after the miles are debited
  • Virtually any type of mileage refund would be eligible for this, including award tickets, upgrades, redeeming miles for Admirals Club memberships, etc.
  • This benefit is no longer listed as a marketing bullet on the card, but it is still available (this has been confirmed by American and Citi)

Bottom line

The current welcome bonuses on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® make this a great time to sign up for these cards. While the cards have great perks for those who don’t have status, just about anyone should benefit from the 10% refund on redeemed miles that’s offered on the personal version of the card.

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  1. Lucky. I agree with you that this is a nice benefit. However, in order for this card to be a keeper you would have to redeem 100,000 miles on AA metal every year, which means you would have to fly a lot on AA or its partners. For the majority of us it makes so much more sense to reapply for the bonus every 3 years (use 1 year, cancel, reapply 2 years after, get the bonus again). There is no reason to put any spend on this card other than getting some extra AA miles, and still. In my opinion you are not telling the whole story.

  2. Are you sure the limit is 10k points? I have 2 redemptions of 280k each, and both had 17k points credited. I supposed a mistake.

    LAX – DELAward -263,000 award miles — — — -280,000 17,000 -263,000
    DEL – LAXAward-263,000 award miles — — — -280,000 17,000 -263,000

  3. @ John M — It’s no longer one of the marketing bullets (inexplicably, given it’s the best perk of the card), but is absolutely still a benefit of the card.

  4. I hate to be the bug here, but 66,000 welcome miles – 10% rebate does not equal 60,000 miles. It is 66,667 miles.

  5. I was offered 65k points to sign up for this card. On one hand, I want to sign up to grab the elevated bonus miles. On the other, I have never flown American and typically fly with Delta. I’m concerned that I may not use the miles, and if I do then it’s another loyalty program to monitor. I kinda feel bad, but I think I might take a pass on this one.

  6. @James W – I’m not trying to be snarky here, but I thought the perk was the sign up bonus.

  7. @Ivan X +1

    @Flip – What are you talking about? Lucky’s point is that if you earn 60k with the signup bonus and then spend 60k points while still holding the card, you’ll get 6k back. That’s where his 66k number comes from. He spelled it out quite clearly.

  8. Is the readership of this blog getting dumber? Some of the comments I’ve read today beggar belief.

  9. While I don’t like AA for various reasons I did nonetheless get this card less than 2 months ago. Immediately spent the required amount, made an early payment and got the points a week later. Going to lima for 30k each way in Oct. Lax to dfw in economy then dfw to mia to lim in lay flat business. Lax to mia was on crappy first and timing wasn’t good.

  10. @Tiffany & @John M – It’s true, John. American reached out to me to confirm that the benefit is still very real. Whether it stays remains to be seen but for right now the benefit is available.

  11. Likely a redundant question since it says domestic…. But would the free bag work between the USA and Canada?

  12. Last year, I got 9,750 miles back by this 10%. Pretty useful, and I live close to AA’s hub all the time (not sure why). It’s really awesome for people redeeming miles for transpacific flights.

  13. To me, given most of my travel is AA/Oneworld, this is a nice perk. Any time I can save miles (particularly in this devaluation-happy time we live in) its a bonus. Are you sure the cap is 10K, though? Is it not 10K per redemption?

  14. I get you need to provide links to keep the home fires burning but do you have to provide a link to the particular cc in each paragraph? It honestly seems a bit desperate. Yes, its your blog, and you can write what you want, but you might not want to seem to try so hard

  15. Hi Ben, could you confirm the 10% rebate with Citi? I am under the impression that lately Citi’s personal AA card ‘enhAAnced’ 2X on restaurant and gas but took away the 10% award rebate. There was some discussion on the forums and I couldn’t see the 10% rebate in the benefits section.

  16. By coincidence I applied for and was accepted for the Biz version this morning before reading this blog. I have just enough pending bills to make the msr on the first month. While I had a Citi Visa AA card for many years, I cancelled it last year when they went to mastercard (I needed a Visa for Costco). While I seldom flew AA in recent years, I recently did a trip to Central America in Biz with points that had been hibernating for years. The bonus plus spend will put my at 110K AA points that may be useful for a longer international trip.

  17. I just applied and am waiting for the card to arrive in the mail, but tonight I received the welcome letter, Guide to Protection Benefits and the Welcome to Your Passport to Better Travel booklet.
    In the latter, on p. 6, it states ” Earn Miles for Using Miles” Earn 10% back on our redeemed American Airlines AAdvantage miles – up to 10,000 miles per calendar year.
    The footnote states that the max is 10,000 regardless of how many miles you redeem or how many AAdvantage co-branded credit cards you have.

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