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Several weeks ago I wrote about how there’s a limited time increased sign-up bonus on the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®. The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $3,000 within three months. While the annual fee on the card is $95, it’s waived for the first 12 months.
That’s a big sign-up bonus, the minimum spend is reasonable, and the annual fee is even waived for the first 12 months.
A reader emailed me yesterday to ask if it was still worth applying for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card in light of the AAdvantage devaluation which is happening on March 22, 2016. The cost of many of my favorite awards are going up significantly, though there will still be some great values under the new chart.
Personally, I think the devaluation is a reason to apply for the card sooner rather than later. Typically the bonus miles post after the statement where you complete your minimum spend closes. So if you apply for the card now and complete the minimum spend within a month or so, you could have the miles by very early next year.
Redeem AAdvantage miles for Qatar Airways A350 business class
That would allow you to redeem them at the old award rates, meaning you can potentially get more value out of them. Keep in mind that while the award chart changes apply for bookings as of March 22, 2016, you can book travel for subsequent dates.
50,000 AAdvantage miles are worth more before March 22 than they are after then. For example, one-way Cathay Pacific first class awards between the US and Asia are going from costing 67,500 miles to costing 110,000 miles.
Many Cathay Pacific first class awards are significantly less expensive before March 22, 2016
Currently I value AAdvantage miles at 1.8 cents each, while after the award chart devaluation I’ll likely value them around 1.4-1.5 cents each.
In terms of maximizing the value of sign-up bonuses, generally the best time to apply for a card is before a devaluation, assuming you can redeem the miles in time. 50,000 miles today are worth significantly more than 50,000 miles mid-next year, in my opinion. And that’s why I recommend applying for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card before American’s award chart is devalued.