American Airlines has just introduced a new rewards credit card in partnership with Citi, in spite of their parent company, AMR Corp., filing for bankruptcy last November. Back then their vice president of customer experience, Craig Keener, assured customers that “American Airlines remains open for business. It`s business as usual,” and this is just another sign that they are indeed forging ahead despiteany financial troubles, and amid whispers that US Airways is mulling a takeover bid.
This new credit card, the Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage card, will carry seven benefits they didn`t offer before, including free baggage checking and priority boarding. Ralph Andretta, head of Co-Brands and Loyalty at Citi, says, “Our card members want more ways to earn and book award travel, and an easier time getting through the airport and to their destination. These enhancements let them save money and time while traveling and reward them by giving miles back for redemptions.”
Adding to the chorus of corporate enthusiasm, Suzanne Rubin, President of American Airlines` customer rewards program, the AAdvantage Loyalty Program, said “Using the invaluable feedback we receive from our AAdvantage members, together with Citi, we have designed new card benefits that encompass the travel perks our card members value most.”
Show Me the Benefits
What are those travel perks? The new card will offer the following ways for American Airlines travelers and card members to earn miles:
- Get twice the miles on American Airlines purchases
- Earn ten percent miles back on AAdvantage miles redeemed, up to 10,000 per year. Book a 60,000 mile round trip flight using frequent flyer miles and get 6,000 miles credited back to your account 6-8 weeks later
- Enjoy no cap or limit on miles earned – fly as much as you want and let the miles stack up, sky-high
Other highlights of the new card benefits are:
- Priority boarding for you and up to four of your travel companions when you travel together
- Earn a $100 American Airlines flight discount when you spend $30,000 in purchases each year and renew your card membership
- Check bags for free – one bag per person for up to four people traveling together under the same reservation. On a flight that charges $50 per bag (as many coast-to-coast flights do) this saves up to $200.
- Save 25% on in-flight food, drinks, and headsets when you pay for them with your Citi/AAdvantage card.
This card carries an annual fee of $95, which is waived for new members for the first year.
Do We Have Liftoff?
How does this card measure up in the crowded field of airline rewards cards? The high annual fee is pretty standard for airline cards – the United Mileage Plus card also charges a $95 annual fee, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards card charges $69 a year. Both of them also waive the fee for the first year.
Likewise, United, Southwest, and Delta all offer priority boarding and free checked bags for their rewards credit card holders. The Gold Delta SkyMiles card offers only 20% off on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and entertainment, but they offer one free checked bag for up to nine people traveling together instead of only four. United, however, only lets two people check their first bag free.Most airline rewards cards offer no limit on miles you can earn and no expiration on miles, so those features are pretty standard.
Here is a simple chart to explain that visually:
All in all, this card doesn`t have much to make it stand out from the pack, but that doesn`t mean it isn`t a good card for anyone who flies American Airlines frequently and wants to earn as many miles as possible while getting great savings and special passenger perks. Hopefully American Airlines won`t fly off into the sunset before cardholders get a chance to enjoy all the benefits offered by their new card.