Rundown of Retention Bonus Offers for Citi AAdvantage Cards

1
2824

Retention bonuses are not automatically offered by the Citi AAdvantage cards, but are still possible to get if you call and speak with a Citi representative. All it takes is a little of knowledge of what they want (or don’t want) to hear. Worst case, you’re right where you started, and best case you get statement credits and/or extra miles.

FlyerTalk is an online forum where travelers discuss miles, frequent flier programs, and every other possible aspect of travel and loyalty programs. The thread on FlyerTalk where people post their retention bonuses for American Airlines credit cards is extremely long– thankfully there is a summary at the top. Here is my summary of the summary.

The Cards I Researched

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® – annual fee of $95

The most common and recent bonus offer, as related by this FlyerTalker, is really two offers you can stack:

  1. A $95 statement credit, the amount of the card’s annual fee, after spending $95 within two billing cycles
  2. 1,000 bonus miles for every statement that has at least $1,000 spending of the next 16 statements (Examples: You spend $1,001 per month for the next 16 months and get 16,000 bonus miles. You alternate spending $2,000 per month and $0 per month for the next 16 months. You get 8,000 bonus miles.)

You can get both of those offers at the same time. Sometimes you have to choose between several offer options. For instance, this FlyerTalker was offered the $95 statement credit OR two Admirals Club passes after spending “a small amount” OR 7,500 bonus miles after spending $3,000 total in the next three billing cycles.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® – annual fee of $95

  • By far the most common offer was for 10,000 bonus miles after spending spending $5,000 in the next six months.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® – annual fee of $450 (this is the card that comes with Admirals Club Membership)

There appear to be several current offers, and you have to choose one.

  1. 15,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the next three months
  2. $50 statement credit each month you spend $1,500 for the next seven months
  3. one $100 statement credit and 5,000 bonus miles for spending $1,500 over the course of three months
  4. 1,000 bonus miles for every statement that has at least $1,000 spending of the next 16 statements

How to Get the Offers

When?

Call the number on the back of your card for a retention bonus 11 months after you get card. That’s the month before the annual fee is due, so your threat to cancel the card because the annual fee is coming up is the most credible.

What to say

Tell the first agent that you want to cancel the card. You will be transferred to a retention specialist who gets paid to stop you from canceling the card.

Transferred!

Tell the retention specialist you want to cancel the card because of its annual fee or because you want a card that earns more miles. This will provoke a retention offer.

If you get one related to a statement credit to offset the annual fee, ask if there is one to earn more miles. Or vice versa until you think they’ve offered you all the retention bonuses that they’re authorized to offer.

Then consider them based on how valuable the statement credit or bonus miles are–I value American Airlines miles at 1.8 cents before the devaluation–and how much spending they require to unlock.

Should You Keep or Cancel the Card?

If the retention bonus is worth more than the annual fee, keep the card. If it is worth less than the annual fee, consider the other benefits of holding the card and weigh them and the retention bonus against the annual fee. For more information, see Should I keep this card? Whether to hold or cancel a rewards card when the annual fee is due.

But if you decide to cancel, you don’t really have to cancel. Downgrading is an option as well to avoid annual fees and lengthen your credit history. These cards can be downgraded to the no annual fee American Airlines Bronze card, like this FlyerTalker explains.

Comparison Between Retention Bonuses and Minimum Spending Requirements

If you have a large amount of spending power and receive a retention bonus offer that has a greater absolute value than the annual fee (the benefits less the cost is greater than the annual fee), then by all means, keep the card open. But if you have a limited amount of spending power, first compare if focusing your spending on unlocking a new sign-up bonus is more valuable than focusing your spending on unlocking the retention bonus. To illustrate what I mean, we will use the following equation, which I call the rebate percentage:

Absolute Value (which is the benefits – annual fee) / Minimum Spending Requirement 

Let’s say the current card you have open is the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®. The most common retention bonus is to offer a statement credit equal to the annual fee and to offer 1,000 bonus miles every month you spend at least $1,000 for the next 16 months.

If you spend exactly $1,000 per month, you basically get two miles per dollar on your spending between the normal one mile per dollar and the 1,000 mile bonus. I value American Airlines miles at 1.8 cents each at the moment, so that is like getting 3.6% back on your spending.

Now let’s say that the card you could open instead is the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® which offers 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months plus one mile per dollar on all spending. The rebate percentage of the first $3,000 in spending is:

53,000 miles valued at 1.8 cents each  / $3k minimum spending requirement  = 35.4% rebate

As you can see in this case, the rebate is much higher if you focus on unlocking the sign-up bonus– 35.4%, compared to the rebate of 3.6% if you focus spending on unlocking the retention bonus.

To read more details about absolute value and rebate percentages in “The two ways to value credit card sign-up bonuses.”

Bottom Line

If you have spending power, don’t cancel your American Airlines cards or pay the annual fees without calling in to solicit retention bonuses. Common bonuses on the Platinum and Executive cards include statement credits and bonus miles that exceed the value of the annual fee. You may even get more than one offer, and you can consider which is better for you, factoring in how much you spend on cards and your valuation for American Airlines miles.

If you have less money to spend, you should compare the rebate percentage of the retention bonus to the rebate percentage of getting a new card with an attainable sign-up bonus before making any decisions.

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

1 COMMENT

  1. One more data point: I’ve been holding on to a Citi American Express AA card through two annual billing cycles. Each time I’ve been offered the annual fee waiver and $1000 spend nets an extra 1000 miles together. I don’t have any trouble meeting that along with my sign up bonuses so I keep the card. Plus it’s a nice to get AmEx offers on another card and I link it to my serve account for an easy extra 1000 miles per month.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.