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Citi AAdvantage Visa and American Express Quick Facts
Issuing Bank: Citi
Absolute Value of Sign Up Bonuses (combined): $2,098.77
Rebate Percentage of Visa: 49.4%
Rebate Percentage of American Express: 22.2%
I am combining my analysis of these two cards because hundreds of people have reported you can get both cards on the same day! I’ve done it myself, and getting both at once is a no-brainer.
The issuing bank is Citi for both cards. “American Express” can be a confusing term because American Express is both an issuing bank and payment processor. American Express is the issuing bank for many cards like the American Express Platinum Card or Delta SkyMiles card. It is not the issuer for either of these cards–though it processes payments for one. When applying for many cards at once, we care about applying for only one personal card from each issuing bank (or two in this special case.)
Sign Up Bonus Analysis: Visa
The best Visa offer is 50,000 American Airlines miles after $2,000 in spending within four months of getting the card. I value 1 AA miles at 1.77 cents, so 50,000 are worth $885.
This card earns 1 AA mile for every dollar spent and 2 AA miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines. I wouldn’t expect to reap any gain from that category bonus.
All the following benefits come from getting any Citi AA card. I am recommending getting two cards. Since getting two doesn’t double any of the benefits, I will apportion half the value of each benefit to this card and half to the Citi AA AMEX.
Citi AA cards come with priority boarding on AA flights. I value this at $5. You can get one free checked bag per ticket. I rarely check a bag, so I will value this at $25. You get a 10% rebate of AA miles redeemed per calendar year up to a 10k rebate. I redeem 100k+ AA miles per year, meaning I would earn the full rebate worth $177. The half of these benefits attributable to the Citi AA Visa is $103.50.
The Citi AA Visa has no annual fee the first year, and an $85 annual fee thereafter.
That makes the absolute value of the sign up bonus for the Citi AA Visa $988.50 ($885 + $103.5).
Since the spending requirement is $2,000 to unlock the bonus, the rebate percentage of the sign up bonus is 49.4%.
Read The Two Ways to Value Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses if you don’t know why I value cards two ways, or which way you should pay attention to. See my Best Current Credit Card Offers to see where the Citi AA cards stacks up.
None of what I’ve described can be found on the application page that I am linking to. The link is a zombie link without a landing page. The above description is from a FlyerTalk thread where people have reported getting in on the deal. I, and thousands of people, have successfully signed up through zombie links, so I recommend it to friends and family. Your mileage may vary.
Sign Up Bonus Analysis: American Express
The best current Citi AA AMEX offers 40,000 AA miles after spending $2,000 in the first four months of card membership. Spending $3,000 more ($5,000 total) in the first twelve months unlocks another 10k miles (50k total.) I value 50k AA miles at $885.
The card offers a $1 statement credit for every dollar spent on American Airlines purchases in the first year up to $100 total. Since this is like $100 off an AA flight, I would be sure to get $100 value from this.
This card earns 1 AA mile for every dollar spent and 2 AA miles for every dollar spent on American Airlines. I would expect to spend at least $100 on AA in the first year on this card to unlock the $100 statement credit, so the category bonus would earn me an extra 100 miles worth $1.77.
The card comes with two free passes to the Admirals Club. I already get free access with my Platinum card, but if I didn’t, I would value the passes at $10 each or $20 total.
The other benefits from the Citi AA Visa also apply. The half of those benefits that I attribute to this card are worth $103.50.
The Citi AA AMEX has no annual fee the first year, and an $85 annual fee thereafter.
That makes the absolute value of the sign up bonus for the Citi AA Visa $1,110.27 ($885 + $100 + $1.77 + $20 + $103.5).
Since the spending requirement is $5,000 to unlock the bonus, the rebate percentage of the sign up bonus is 22.2%.
The link is a zombie link with a landing page, where I got the offer information.
Eye to Award Booking
As I said yesterday when talking about the Chase Sapphire Preferred, United miles are the most versatile miles. American miles have strengths and drawbacks. The strengths are to Latin America, where there is great availability, Asia, where you can fly Cathay Pacific, and domestically. The weakness of AA miles is business class to Europe, the most common award booking request.
Your business-class-to-Europe options with AA miles are:
- British Airways: fantastic product, but $300 plus fuel surcharges per person per direction
- American Airlines: angled lie flat
- airberlin: recliner seat
- Finnair: great product, but only one seat generally released on its only US route JFK-HEL
- other bad options
How to Get Both Cards at Once
Open up two browsers. Your computer had one preinstalled–either Internet Explorer or Safari. Hopefully you’ve downloaded Firefox or Chrome already, since those are both superior. If not, install one now.
With one browser, navigate to the Visa application page. With the other, navigate to the AMEX application page. Fill out one form. Fill out the other. Click submit on one form. Click submit on the other.
Hopefully both applications will be approved instantly, and you’ll receive your cards soon. If you get denied for one or both, call Citi’s reconsideration department at 800-763-9795. If they ask why you want two cards, give a plausible reason like wanting to track expenses separately or because your favorite store doesn’t accept one type of card.
I strongly recommend applying for both the Citi AA Visa and Citi AA AMEX at the same time to reap 100k AA miles. The cards have slightly different sign up bonuses. The Citi AA Visa earns a higher rebate percentage, and the AMEX has a higher absolute value.
The combined value of the sign up bonuses is a staggering $2,099, and they earn a combined rebate of 30% on the $7,000 combined minimum spending requirement.
I personally opened both these cards on the same day to earn 75k miles per card. That offer is long gone, and I don’t expect it to return soon. A 100k total haul is still incredible, and I recommend these cards to friends and family.