Citi has just unveiled a new high end American AAdvantage credit card designed to compete with similar offerings from other airlines.
The card offers the following key benefits:
- An Admirals Club membership
- 10,000 elite qualifying miles when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
- No foreign transaction fees
- Waived first checked bag fee
- Priority check-in and boarding
- Double miles for American Airlines purchases
Now, this card is almost entirely reactive, since most other major carriers have a similar offering.
Is the card worth it? That’s a toughie. I suppose if you spend $40,000 on the card per year the 10,000 elite qualifying miles might be valuable, though at the same time I can’t say I’m especially fond of the slippery slope American is heading down (though I certainly can’t blame them). One of the things I’ve loved about AAdvantage is that they actually make it hard to earn status, and their elite ranks really aren’t inflated through elite qualifying miles from non-flying activity. Still, I doubt the impact of this will be all that significant.
As far as the Admirals Club membership goes, the price of a new membership ranges from $500 for a non-elite to $350 for an Executive Platinum, and renewal is always $50 cheaper.
So if you’re a non-elite and would otherwise purchase an Admirals Club membership (why a non-elite would do that is beyond me) you’re already ahead by getting the credit card. If you’re an Executive Platinum member renewing your membership, your annual fee is at most $150 ($450 minus the $300 club membership renewal cost). Is that worth it for 10,000 elite qualifying miles (assuming you spend a lot on credit cards), no foreign transaction fees, and double miles on American purchases? I like the first two benefits, but even for American purchases I would continue to use my American Express Premier Rewards Gold card, which offers three points per dollar on airfare.
The card presently offers 25,000 miles after $1,000 worth of purchases in the first four months, though I would expect that offer to go up eventually.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)