50K + $200 statement credit offer for American Airlines card

While looking at an upcoming reservation online, I saw a new offer for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard: get 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in purchases in the first 3 months plus get up to $200 in statement credits for eligible American Airlines purchases in the first 12 months. The standard offer you’ll find on our Best Offers page is for 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. Whether you would value $200 or the additional 10K miles more (or whether you would consider the $500 difference in minimum spending requirement to be a factor in the equation) is a toss-up depending on how you’ll use the miles.

The Offer

  • Get 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, plus receive up to a $200 statement credit on eligible AA purchases in the first 12 months
  • Direct link to this offer (not an affiliate link)

Key Card Details

  • Earn 2x on American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2x at restaurants and gas stations
  • $100 AA flight discount after $20,000 in purchases within a year and card is renewed
  • 10% of your redeemed miles back each year on up to 100,000 redeemed miles
  • First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions on domestic AA flights
  • Priority boarding
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases with your card
  • $99 annual fee is waived the first year

Quick Thoughts

Our Reasonable Redemption Values pegs most airline miles, including American Airlines miles, at 1.4 cents each (For more on why we value miles that way, see: What are airline miles worth?). Strictly based on that value, the additional 10K miles on the 60K offer are worth about $140.

We typically only value airline statement credits at 90% of face value for the purposes of determining the first-year value of new cardmember offers. That means we would value the statement credit at $180 (though if you know that you’ll spend $200 with American Airlines in the next 12 months, you may value it more strongly). The 60K offer requires an additional $500 in spending, so there is a little bit of opportunity cost since you could put that spend on a card that earns 2-3% cash back.

The terms on the statement credit indicate that it is valid on most AA purchases:

Eligible American Airlines purchases are items billed by American Airlines as merchant of record booked through American Airlines channels (AA.com, American Airlines reservations, and American Airlines airport and city ticket counters).

The terms exclude car rentals and hotels (except the taxes & fees if you use AA miles to pay for those things), elite status boost, or AA cargo. Based on those terms, I expect things like ticket purchases and award taxes & fees would trigger the credit.

If you only value American Airlines miles around 1.4 cents each, this offer is a better offer provided you’d normally spend $200 over the next 12 months with AA. Personally, I’d probably choose to get the extra miles of the 60K offer rather than the statement credit with the expectation that I’d use my miles for greater value. That said, I’ve recently questioned whether or not I’m getting value better than that from airline miles considering the low paid airfares available these days (See: A miles vs points dilemma: Redeem an award or “pay” with points?).

There are definitely arguments on either side of this one and it’s close in terms of value. Keep in mind that you are not eligible for the bonus on this card if you have had a Citi AAdvantage personal credit card opened or closed in the past 24 months. Also note the new bonus categories — 2x on restaurants and grocery stores — began for new cardmembers last week. Existing cardholders will have to wait until July 22nd for those bonus categories.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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TKW
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TKW

It is no toss-up if you are somewhat seasoned in MS, IMO. Suppose you value those 10K miles at something like $200. There are better ways to go about getting the 10K miles, but let’s assume no promotions in effect and having only the resources that the card recipient is sure to have. Just use the card to buy 10K of Simon Mall gift cards and do 5 bill pays at Walmart. The cost in fees is $3.95 x 20 = $79 for the gift cards, and $1.50 x 5 = $7.50 for the bill pays. The total fees are $86.50 which you could put on a %2 card or whatever. So the true cost is about $85 and an hour or two of your time for those 10K miles. If you know about how long it takes you to buy and process gift cards, then it is just a question of whether or not your time is consistently more valuable than about $50 to $100 per hour?

Personally, I like the opportunity to earn $115 in exchange for a bit of time. I probably wouldn’t be going out to get those miles right away though. I’d wait for a Simon promo, or a specific need for the miles. Let the $200 mingle around in my funds as reserve miles for the airline or hotel of my choice, earn some pennies of interest, or invest in some merchant gift cards to throw up on Raise with no particular hurry to sell. When I need more AA miles, I could easily get the 10k within one statement cycle. With the money left over, I could get another 10K in the next cycle.

TKW
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TKW

Oh shoot “up to” $200, terms and conditions. I just spent about $100 on AA taxes for reward flights. We might make some inflight purchases. I wouldn’t have been waiting around for this card even if I had known about the offer. Reward availability was scarce. My family is still AA miles rich. This offer is still one to keep in mind. Thanks!

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[…] HT: frequentmiler […]

iahphx
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iahphx

Citi still has the 2 year “open or close” rule? So if I was last approved for this card on May 15, 2015 (saving those emails from citi is helpful!), but I didn’t get around to cancelling it until June 30, 2016, I have to wait until June 30 to get approved again, right?

ng_cmdr
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ng_cmdr

Are existing cardmembers eligible (not opened in last 24 mos.)?

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[…] Non-affiliate link Gift card and AA.com ticket purchases should qualify. The next best official offer is 60k miles, so it just depends on how you value AA currency. Also, keep in mind that many have been able to match to 75k miles by simply requesting it via secure message. (hat tip Frequent Miler) […]

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[…] for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.  Nick from Frequent Miler stumbled across it while making a reservation, and it could be a better deal for some […]

Vic
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Vic

Will the purchase of AA gift card trigger the $200 credit?