Citi AAdvantage Card Eliminating Foreign Transaction Fees

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I’ve had the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® card for years. It’s not one I spend tons of money on, since it doesn’t have the most rewarding points earning structure out there. It also comes with some other benefits — like priority boarding and a first checked bag free — which I don’t really benefit from as an Executive Platinum member.


But for me the card has one perk which justifies keeping the card. The card offers a 10% rebate when you redeem AAdvantage miles, on up to 100,000 redeemed miles per year. That means if you redeem at least 100,000 miles per year, you get back 10,000 miles just for having this card. Given that the card has a $95 annual fee, that’s well worth it — it’s like picking up AAdvantage miles for less than a penny each.

Anyway, Citi has announced two changes to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® — one positive and one negative.


The first change is that you’ll no longer receive a $100 flight discount after spending $30,000 on the card in a membership year. On the surface that’s a negative change, though personally there are many other cards I’d rather put spend on, so I couldn’t imagine spending that much on this card.

For example, among Citi cards I’d much rather put spend on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card, as they offer more lucrative bonus categories whereby you can earn way more than an average of 1x point per dollar spent.

The $100 American Airlines flight discount benefit earned each cardmembership year after spending $30,000 is being discontinued

This benefit will be discontinued on your cardmember anniversary date after November 15, 2015. Your cardmember anniversary is the date you are billed your annual fee each year.

Perhaps the more exciting change is that foreign transaction fees are being eliminated on the card:

Great news, no foreign transaction fees is coming!

You won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees on purchases after November 15, 2015. You can use your card abroad on all your travels without having to worry about being charged this fee.

But again, there are much more lucrative cards with no foreign transaction fees. The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has no foreign transaction fees and offers 3x points on travel, which would include things like taxis, trains, hotels, flights, etc. That’s an especially lucrative bonus category when traveling internationally.

Bottom line

Personally I’d consider the changes here to be a net positive. Nowadays no foreign transaction fees should be a standard benefit on any card with an annual fee.

If your goal is to earn American miles, you’re best off using a card like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. The cards offer 6x points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at Marriott/SPG properties and 2x points on all other purchases, which can be transferred at a 3:1 ratio to American AAdvantage. On top of that, for every 60,000 points you transfer you get a 15,000 point bonus.

Do either of the changes to the Citi AAdvantage Card impact you?

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  1. AAviator Red gets better by the second. No FX fees and you still get the $100 off for 30k spend in a year all for a lower annual fee.

  2. Once upon a time, I held both the Red from Barclays and the Platinum from Citi. Its just such a no-brainer on which card to hold and keep. So obviously, I canned the Platinum and never looked back. I won’t be surprised that when it is all said and done,,,hmmm…maybe Barclays will come out as the big winner in all of this! Bigger member retention = BIG profits without the pain of marketing costs.

  3. Barclay is keeping me at 24.99% APR and refused to lower and or increase my 4k line. The only reason I was considering keeping them was because of the no forex. Now CITI AAdvantage is on the same level, with much lower APR and almost double the CL. I’ll be calling Barclay to downgrade to free version. If that will not be possible, I’m closing it. Tire of Barclay’s shenanigans.

  4. @Miles Why do you think that? From my understanding these companies drop these benefits because they don’t think it’s profitable. (Like when Amex dropped the 25k spend on the gold card).

    I think Barclay will keep it since they can’t add new customers and they need every advantage they can get. Then again, maybe they do have a contract with AA but I don’t think they would. The $100 discount isn’t from AA it’s Barclay just covering $100 of spending.

    Who knows, maybe I am completely wrong and Barclay will follow suit, but as of today, they haven’t and in my mind the Red is still better than the Citi AA card.

  5. @Jay The Barclay Aviators (sans the Silver, obviously) already more or less conformed to the Citi card’s airline-side benefits, so I imagine there’s the possibility they stay in lockstep going forward.

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