An Easy 50,000 American Miles With Citi AAdvantage Card

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Update: This offer for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

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.

American-50K

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.

Qatar-Airways-A350-Business-Class-30
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.

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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.

Bottom line

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.

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Comments

  1. I received a targeted 60,000 mile offer recently. Not sure what the criteria is (I’ve never had the AAdvantage MC before, though), but there are even better offers to be had

  2. If I know that I am going to want to book a certain Asia trip but not for maybe 2-3 years, is it worth signing up for extra cards now to accelerate the process, booking that route a year out from now, and then paying just a change fee later on to push the reservation ahead closer to when I actually want the trip to be? Can I extend multiple times using that method if I am willing to pay the change fees? (Or if I am hoping to have status by then that might waive the change fees)

  3. I’m really beginning to rethink how I earn my miles. It seems more important than ever to have flexible currency that you can transfer to the airline instead of keeping those miles in a program that will continually get devalued or not have the award space for the time-frame you’d like. Sure earning and using points requires a fair bit of flexibility and for premium cabin travel it is a pretty unbeatable value but in general it seems much more logical to me to grab one of these cards when you have a trip in mind instead of taking the hit for some rainy day when the airlines will devalue or limit awards to the point your time and effort is wasted.

    I can say from experience that earning and using points effectively takes a HUGE amount of time and effort. Personally not for the faint of heart and I find it the number one reason why my family and friends think that I am some magician when I leave on my first class round the world trip.

    The devaluations might soon be over for now and the game of earning and burning points will go on, but scoring high class travel for little to nothing is only going to take more time, time I’m afraid is much more of a precious commodity than the travel it grants.

  4. If I signed up for the 100k offer last year and already canceled the card, am i eligible for this promotion?

  5. @ Andrew G. No, the tickets are valid for 1 year from the day of booking, you can’t change your booking for a date beyond 1 year from the date of booking

  6. @Mike I received the same offer twice after I signed up for the 50k. I messaged them and a rep agreed to add 10k on top of the 50k. IYou can get the offer after spending $3k

  7. I started this game a little over three months ago after seeing an interview on cnbc. So far i have gotten a choice hotel branded visa with a 32000 pt bonus…..bonus not in yet
    spg amex with a 30000 pt bonus, recieved
    chase ink with a 50000 pt bonus…..i just reached the $5000 spend req and found i was about 10 days over the 3 mo period. They actually started the period about a week before i got the card in the mail. We escalated the matter to marketing and i suspect i will still receive my points
    The citibank aavantage mc has been the easiest spend to reach because i had vehicle insurance coming due in dec that met the req
    i also got approved for the chase saphire at same time as citibank card and suspect the $4000 spend might be difficult to reach. I am thinking about setting up an auto pay for my mortgage with it.

    So I notice that the spend period dates should be verified with the card to make sure you hit the target date. I was surprised when i heard i was over the date for the ink card by a week due to the period starting before i received the card.

    I agree that its a magicians trick to juggle expenses correctly so that spends are met.

    I am starting to think about what cards to apply for next after meeting the saphire requirments.

    Can i apply for a personal citi advantage for another 50000 aa miles?

  8. @Ray
    Just treat your application date as the first day of the 3 months and you will never go wrong. If you can’t make the spend, just buy a few prepaid Visa cards at a drug store or office supply store and time shift your spending beyond the 3 months.

  9. Also, I thought bloggers were supposed to at least acknowledge the wink, wink, nod, nod of getting prepared to justify that you have a small business.

  10. Before you sign up for the card, have a trip already in mind and search for your dates on aa.com. You’ll find that award space is marked up SIGNIFICANTLY MORE than what it should be (for example, Anytime Awards should be at 80,000 but you will have to use 180,000 to redeem), there’s no availability, and if there is availability, the routes are crazy. For those in the know, AA is very much trying to make it impossible to redeem miles. Lucky, I am suprised at you for pushing this card when you and others very well know that it’s next to impossible to redeem on Cathay right now!

  11. Are you sure that we can redeem at the old rate now for travel after Mar 22nd? From what I can see, the AA website is already pricing any award trip after Mar 22 at the new higher prices. If you look at the award calendar for March on some route, there is a clear switchover on that date from the old to to higher pricing. Do you need to call to book under the old rates?

  12. @ Sean — They do absolutely have the same saver level rates. It sounds like you’re looking at the “standard” award costs, which are variable. If you’re redeeming miles at the saver level on partner airlines, you should be paying the pre-March 22 pricing.

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