American announces new Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage benefits

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American has just announced they’ll be adding several new benefits to their Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage credit cards, which apparently kick in today. The benefits are as follows:

First checked bag free

For benefit to apply, at the time of booking, Citi® / AAdvantage® account must have been open at least 7 days and reservation must include the primary cardmember’s American Airlines AAdvantage® number. This benefit is valid for travel booked and ticketed on or after April 2, 2012. If your credit card account is closed for any reason, this benefit will be cancelled. Eligible Citi® / AAdvantage® cardmembers may check one bag free of charge when traveling on American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection® carrier to select domestic destinations. Up to four customers traveling with the eligible primary credit cardmember will also get their first checked bag free of charge if they are listed in the same reservation. Waiver does not apply to overweight or oversized bags. This benefit cannot be combined with any existing AAdvantage® elite program benefits, including any waiver of baggage charges. Please see AA.com for baggage weight and size restrictions. Additional terms, conditions and restrictions may apply. Applicable terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

Based on the way I interpret it, you don’t actually have to use the credit card to make the purchase, but the same primary AAdvantage number just needs to be linked to the reservation and the credit card. Also, it applies to up to four people traveling on the same reservation, which is great.

Priority Boarding

For benefit to apply, at the time of booking, Citi® / AAdvantage® account must have been open at least 7 days and reservation must include the primary cardmember’s American Airlines AAdvantage® number. If your credit card account is closed for any reason, these benefits will be cancelled. This benefit is valid for travel booked and ticketed on or after April 2, 2012. Eligible Citi® / AAdvantage® cardmembers will have priority boarding privileges when traveling on American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection® carrier operated and marketed flights. Priority boarding group will only be printed on the boarding pass of the eligible Citi® / AAdvantage® primary credit cardmember. Up to four customers traveling with and listed in the same reservation as the Citi® / AAdvantage® primary credit cardmember are eligible for priority boarding. These benefits will not be available for travel on codeshare flights booked with an AA flight number but operated by another airline. Applicable terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

The most interesting thing here is that up to four people traveling on the same reservation can get priority boarding as well. In the past priority boarding for companions was more or less an unpublished benefit, though I suspect this means that elite members can also have four others board with them at the same time. At least that would seem logical…

$100 American Airlines Flight Discount

Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount when you spend $30,000 or more in purchases on your
Citi® / AAdvantage® credit card during your cardmembership year (each 12 month period prior to your anniversary date) and your account remains open for at least 45 days after your anniversary. The Flight Discount expires one year from date of issue. The Flight Discount is redeemable toward the initial electronic ticket purchase of air travel wholly on flights operated by American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection® carrier for itineraries sold and originating in the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The Flight Discount is also redeemable for air travel on any oneworld® partner or American Airlines codeshare flight. The Flight Discount is redeemable online at www.aa.com. The Flight Discount is redeemable only toward the purchase of the base air fare and directly associated taxes, fees and charges that are collected as part of the fare calculation for travel on American Airlines, American Eagle or the AmericanConnection® carrier. The Flight Discount may not be used for flight products and/or services that are sold separately or non-flight products and/or services sold by American Airlines. If the ticket price is greater than the value of the Flight Discount, the difference must be paid only with a credit, debit or charge card, or with American Airlines Gift Cards. If travel booked with the Flight Discount is cancelled or changed by the cardmember, the Flight Discount will be forfeited and the cardmember will be responsible for any applicable fare difference and the applicable change fee. The Flight Discount will not be replaced for any reason. The Flight Discount is non-refundable, may not be sold and has no cash redemption value. If the $30,000 purchase requirement was met during your cardmembership year and your account remains open for at least 45 days after your anniversary, please allow 8-12 weeks for the Flight Discount delivery.

Okay, that’s nice if you spend $30,000 on the card anyway, though that would raise the question as to why the hell you’re spending $30,000 on this card in a year when there’s a better card for literally every spend category (Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
for airfare/gas/groceries and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for dining and travel, just to name a couple).

Earn 10% Back on Your Redeemed American Airlines AAdvantage® Miles

For benefit to apply, your Citi® / AAdvantage® account must be open and active at the time of redemption. The American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles you earn through this benefit will be based on 10% of the total AAdvantage® miles you redeem each month during the calendar year. The maximum number of AAdvantage® bonus miles you can earn annually from this benefit is 10,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles per calendar year, regardless of how many AAdvantage® miles you redeem in that calendar year. This benefit only applies to AAdvantage® miles redeemed from the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage® account. Discover all the ways to redeem AAdvantage® miles at www.aa.com/redeem. Please allow 6-8 weeks after your redemption for the American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles to post to the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage® account.

Okay, now this is awesome. The annual fee on the card is $95, and this benefit means I’ll save 10,000 miles per year, which is worth way more to me than $95. So this alone makes the card worth keeping for me.

25% savings on in-flight purchases

Citi® / AAdvantage cardmembers will receive a 25% savings on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and headsets on flights operated by American Airlines when purchased with their Citi® / AAdvantage® card. Savings do not apply to any other in-flight purchases, such as wireless internet access, SkyMallTM and DutyFree. Offer is available on eligible flights as long as supplies last. Savings will appear as a statement credit 6–8 weeks after the transaction is posted to the cardmember’s credit card account. Additional terms, conditions and restrictions may apply. Applicable terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

I can’t say I’ve ever purchased anything aboard an American flight, though it’s a cool benefit nonetheless. As an Executive Platinum member I get a complimentary snack and drink when I’m stuck in coach, so that more or less takes care of me.

Anyway, it’s nice to see the AAdvantage Citi cards doing some catching up. I’ve probably had more Citi AAdvantage cards than any other type of card thanks to the fact that they consistently offer huge sign-up bonuses of 50,000-75,000 miles. But I couldn’t bring myself to spend a cent on them beyond the minimum required for the bonus, since they offered virtually no benefits.

I still can’t bring myself to spend a cent on them, though at least I’ll gladly pay the annual fee to save 10,000 miles. And in fairness I do think the other benefits will make this a much more lucrative card for the average consumer.

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Comments

  1. The above changes are a plus. What I’d really like them to add are no foreign currency transaction fees. So many really good cards nowdays have that. Next annual spending bonuses. Reach $25,000 in spend a yr and get an additional 12,500 miles. Reach $50,000 in spend and get an additional 12,500 on top the previous bonus. I would switch most of my cc spending to that card if they did that. This encourages people to keep and use their card. Rt now a lot of people just get Citi AA cards for the big signup bonuses and then cancel them after a yr.

  2. Do you think this is for existing account owners, too? I just redeemed 118K from my account yesterday for a trip to Hawaii. Would love to get 10K back.

  3. @ Nadine — It should be for existing accounts too, though I’m not sure it goes back to yesterday or not.

  4. @ infamousdx — I was wondering that as well, though the verbiage makes it clear to me that it applies to any AAdvantage redemptions. Hope that’s actually the case.

  5. I wonder if these bennies apply to both the business card as well as the personal card. I can’t imagine that they don’t extend to both.

  6. The free checked bag applies to “select” domestic destinations. What does that mean? And why is Canada excluded since it’s treated no different than U.S. for purposes of mileage redemption and baggage charges.

  7. If you are flying internationally, where you already get one bag checked free, can you now check a second bag free?

  8. ARGH! I just redeemed 125K miles YESTERDAY and now there’s a 10% bonus, so I guess I missed out on 10K bonus miles for that by one day. Also, looks like now the benefit of being a lifetime gold status member isn’t as big of a deal if you have a platinum card, as it’s almost the same thing….

  9. If you’re exec plat you can cancel your award tix after you make an identical award reservation since you won’t be penalized for redepositing miles back you your account for a canceled itinerary. Not sure if you’d get the taxed paid back though.

  10. @ Nolan — That’s true, though it’s worth keeping in mind that if you cancel an award there’s no guarantee that space will go back into the award inventory. The taxes would indeed be refunded, though.

  11. Just called citi and they are currently only offering 40k miles bonus. Is there any confirmation the 50k still works?

  12. I would like to see the 10% bonus miles on the 50,000 miles I redeemed in January. There is no reason that this new feature should not begin with the beginning of 2012. Would like a response from AAdvantage responsibles.

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