Is It Possible To Get AAdvantage Card Sign-Up Bonus Before Devaluation?

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Reader Paul asked the following question by email:

Hi lucky, I am considering applying for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, and was wondering if you think I could still get the sign-up bonus before the American mileage devaluation in March?

The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card is offering a great 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 fantastic limited time offer, especially given how valuable AAdvantage miles are.

American is making some changes to the AAdvantage program this year, and on March 22, 2016, they’re devaluing their award chart, raising the cost of many of my favorite redemptions.

Redeem American miles for Japan Airlines first class

We have just under two months left until the devaluation, so is it possible to still earn the 50,000 mile sign-up bonus before the devaluation kicks in?

The terms of the sign-up bonus indicate the following, saying that miles will post 8-10 weeks after you’ve met the purchase requirement:

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles typically will appear as a bonus in your AAdvantage® account 8–10 weeks after you have met the purchase requirements. Miles may be earned on purchases made by primary and employee cardmembers. Miles earned will be posted to the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage® account.

Anecdotally, however, I’ve found that AAdvantage bonus miles usually post when the statement where you complete minimum spend closes. So while it’s not guaranteed or promised, if you apply soon there’s a good chance you’d get the miles from the sign-up bonus before the devaluation.

Right now I value American miles at ~1.8 cents each, while realistically after the devaluation I probably value them closer to ~1.5 cents each. So while 50,000 miles is worth ~$900 to me now, they’ll be worth ~$750 to me as of March 22. To me, that means a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus now is equivalent to a 60,000 mile sign-up bonus in the future.

Etihad-A380-Apartment - 79
Redeem American miles for Etihad first class

Bottom line

The limited time sign-up bonus on the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card is extremely generous, especially if you can get the miles to post before the upcoming devaluation. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of this sign-up bonus, I’d recommend doing so sooner rather than later.

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  1. Agree withy lucky on this. My bonus miles posted the day the first cycle closes (assuming you meet the minimum spend in the first cycle). Did this in Oct 2015.

  2. there’s a certain irony in this question…as there’s almost certainly a direct link between the proliferation of credit card miles and the need for American’s upcoming devaluation…

  3. I just completed a sign up bonus for one of these last week. Miles posted within five days of the statement close (with spend completed in first statement). May have been faster but didn’t check in first couple days.

  4. I really don’t think I understand this question. As far as I can tell, the “deflation” doesn’t hit when you earn the miles but when you spend them. It’s really a price “inflation” of the award tickets. But weather you earn 50K points now or after March shouldn’t matter…if you aren’t going to use them til afterwards. Seems like the question should have been can he earn and redeem the points before March 22nd. Of course, how long the 50K biz points bonus will last is anyone’s guess….I got mine! 🙂

  5. i Got my aa citi advantage card end of nov , paid a 3500 insurance bill that was due and had my bonus miles the next month. Gives me enough for the first class ticket on cathay pacific.
    Now i am wondering if i can find another 3000 in expenses to grab a personal aa citi card too

  6. I would like to see how the devaluation pans out over this whole year before I acquire any more AA miles from any source. Being outside the US I have the luxury of a number of mileage plans which work well for me. AA had gone from #1 to #3 in terms of usefulness/value for me.

  7. Listen to Glen. The question is, do you really want to invest in miles that will be worth practically NOTHING? And that doesn’t mean in a couple of months, that means RIGHT NOW. I can’t believe that you people are still pushing AA’s FF program CC signups when you VERY WELL KNOW how hard it is to get ANY kind of award space on AA right now, ESPECIALLY to Asia!!! And forget about using those miles to use another carrier – availability on JAL and Cathay is unable to be had as well. It’s best to avoid accumulating/investing in AA right now.

  8. Yep, Brad is right! AAdvantage seems to be in chaos once you scrape beneath the surface. I think the current management is a disaster and possibly doing the brand irreparable damage! It will take a long while to recover from this epic mismanagement, even if American get around to addressing it! It should be on everyone’s AVOID list, and MAKE OTHER ARRANGEMENTS list!

  9. Citi frequently runs this offer (about every 3 to 6 months). My advice would be to wait until midway through the devaluation and run searches on award availability for the flights that best fit your interests to see if it is worthwhile before signing up. I have found that in my case that the devaluation has already taken effect and AA miles aren’t worth much.

  10. Hey Lucky,

    This is a little irrelevant to the article, however, The Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club will be undergoing several changes in April, could you please write an article on those and explain to us MP members, how these changes will affect us?


  11. @Brad. Not everyone is interested in using miles to visit Asia ya know. For me, zero interest. Rio on the other hand yes. Just booked First class for 50,000 each way. Tons of availability. And as Ben has mentioned before, book now and change dates later.

  12. Have to agree with Brad and Glen. I’m not sure what exit airport RJ is searching from, but I get NOTHING for the availability I am looking for (Europe) on AA. I DO get availability to Rio, but I have no desire to go there. Searches in Biz and First turn up absolutely no MileSaver awards and no awards for First PERIOD. Plus, the amount of miles they want for Biz Anytime is more than I want to spend (mostly 175K). Booking now and changing dates later doesn’t work for me because the devaluation has already hit. Plus I am a bit new to this hobby and don’t know how to “play my hand” with the book now/change later. Perhaps Lucky can do an article on this? Please?!

  13. Sunday morning I saw that all the awards I had been looking at for weeks (CONUS to Asia 2, in F or J) were gone. Nothing on Cathay, JAL, Qatar or AA. All my AA miles may be useless until March 22, then too late for when we wanted to go.

    Alaska miles are the ones I’ll be working on getting…

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