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American AAdvantage has credit cards issued by both Citi and Barclaycard, and between the five products available there are a lot of potential benefits you can get. Here are the sign-up bonuses presently available on the five cards:
- The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is offering 60,000 AAdvantage miles after making $3,000 of purchases within the first three months; the $99 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months
- The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® is offering 70,000 AAdvantage miles after making $4,000 of purchases within the first four months; the $95 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months
- The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is offering 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $5,000 within three months; the card has a $450 annual fee
- The AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is offering 60,000 AAdvantage miles after making one purchase within 90 days; the card has a $95 annual fee
- The AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard is offering 40,000 AAdvantage miles after making one purchase within 90 days; the card has a $95 annual fee
Personally I think the cards with the 60,000-70,000 mile sign-up bonuses are most worth applying for right now, as they’re the best offers we’ve seen on the cards. This includes the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, and AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard.
One of the benefits that I find most worthwhile on a couple of these cards is the 10% refund on redeemed miles, for a maximum refund of up to 10,000 miles per year.
In this post I wanted to answer some of the most common questions I get about this perk:
What cards are eligible for the 10% mileage refund?
This benefit is exclusively available on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. That’s right, this is only available on the personal versions of the cards, and not the business versions. Since I redeem at least 100,000 American miles per year, this means I’m getting 10,000 bonus miles per year due to having one of these cards, which more than justifies the $95-99 annual fee. That’s like picking up miles for 0.95 cents each.
How quickly do the refunded miles post?
The terms state that the miles will post within 6-8 weeks of an eligible redemption, though in practice they typically post much faster than that. In my experience they typically post the same time that the miles for an award are debited.
What kind of redemptions are eligible for the refund?
Just about all mileage redemptions make you eligible for the 10% refund. This should include award tickets, upgrades, redeeming miles for Admirals Club memberships, etc.
How does the 10,000 mile limit work?
You’re limited to a refund of up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles per calendar year. The refund occurs based on when you book travel, and not based on when you actually travel. So even if you’re booking a ticket for travel next year, you’d be eligible for the 10% mileage refund for this year.
What happens if you cancel an award ticket after being refunded?
If you book an award ticket, get the 10% refund, and then later cancel the award ticket, the mileage refund will be reversed as well. So there’s not a way to “trick” the system by booking a trip and then later refunding it.
There’s actually a further issue there. If you cancel a ticket on which you received a mileage refund, the refund gets reversed, but it still counts towards your 10,000 mile yearly limit. That’s unfortunate, since for whatever reason the system doesn’t let you earn that refund again.
Do you need to use an American credit card to trigger the 10% refund?
No. You get the 10% refund regardless of which credit card you use to pay your taxes on an award ticket. It also doesn’t matter who the ticket is for. All that matters is that the AAdvantage miles are redeemed out of the primary cardmember’s account.
Do you need to register to take advantage of the 10% refund?
No, it’s automatic. Just make sure you’re redeeming miles out of the primary cardmember’s account.
What happens if you have both the Citi and Barclaycard products?
Unfortunately you can only get this benefit with one card or the other, and not both. So if you have both cards, you’re still limited to a refund of 10,000 miles, as the limit is linked to your AAdvantage account, rather than to the individual credit cards. There’s no way to trick the system there.
My single favorite benefit of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard is the 10% annual mileage refund, which I view as an opportunity to pick up miles for 0.95 cents each. The cards have great sign-up bonus of 60,000 AAdvantage miles that make them worth applying for, though for me this is the key benefit that makes one of these cards a keeper for anyone who redeems 100,000+ American miles per year. Personally I have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, though either card is great, in my opinion.