Bank Branch 50k American Airlines AAdvantage Offer For Citigold Customers, But Which Offer is Best?

A few weeks ago, I visited the Citibank branch to check out their offers. I found an offer for the Citi ThankYou card with 5 point bonuses at drugstores, supermarkets and gas stations and an improved offer for the Citi ThankYou Premier card for Citigold customers. I also saw an offer for up to 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles available only to Citigold customers and having a high spending requirement, but that information wasn’t relevant at the time. That’s why I didn’t write about it. There was a far better online offer floating around for 50,000 miles for $3,000 in spending plus a $150 statement credit. Now that better offer has been removed and the offer I saw at the bank branch has become the offer with the potentially highest sign-up bonus. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the “best” offer so we’ll have to go some analysis. 

[Disclosure: As of the time of writing, I do not receive any commission for any of the American Airlines credit card offers mentioned in this post].

The Three American Airlines AAdvantage Offers

Right now, there are three publicly available types of offers for the American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards:

Offers on the Citibank website:

  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of becoming a cardmember.

Publicly available online offers that you can find listed completely in this Flyertalk thread.

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of becoming a cardmember.

Citibank branch offer for Citigold customers:

  • Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of becoming a cardmember.
  • Earn an additional 20,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $15,000 in purchases within 12 months of becoming a cardmember.

All three offers have an annual fee of $95, waived the first year. They also offer free checked bags, priority boarding and a 10% rebate on redeemed American Airlines AAdvantage miles up to 10,000 miles annually.

Citibank American Airlines credit card offer

Citibank American Airlines AAdvantage 50,000 mile credit card offer

Comparing Offers

The offer on the Citibank and American Airlines website is clearly the worst of the three. Spending an additional $2,000 for an additional 10,000 miles (or earning 5 American Airlines miles per dollar) is a no brainer. I’ll only compare the 40,000 mile offer and the 50,000 mile offer. To get all 50,000 miles, you need to meet two conditions:

  1. Be a Citigold customer.
  2. Spend $15,000 on the card. If you spend between $3,000 on the card, you get 30,000. With the non-Citigold offer, you get 40,000 in the same situation.

Citigold accounts, while having a few nice benefits, are expensive with fees of $30 a month. The fee is waived if you have at least $50,000 in the account. Since it’s certainly not worth opening a Citigold account just for the 50,000 miles offer, we’ll only consider getting the card if you already have a Citigold account or plan to open one in general.

With both offers, you get your initial bonus of 30,000 or 40,000 miles after you spend your initial $3,000. So with the bank branch offer, you get an additional 10,000 mile bonus after spending an additional $12,000. Assuming you are just making regular non-bonus purchases, you will earn an incremental 22,000 miles for your $12,000 in spending or 1.83 miles per dollar.

My thoughts

If the Citigold offer is available to you and you are planning to get an American Airlines credit card anyway and put all your spending on it, then it makes sense to go for the higher offer. It’s likely you’ll end up spending over $12,000 over the next year anyway. In that case, you may as well earn 10,000 miles more than you would otherwise.

However, as a bonus for $12,000 in spending, 10,000 miles is fairly low. Even the offers with the higher spending requirements on my Top Credit Card Offers page will get you far more miles than that. For example, the Chase Ink Bold offers 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 40,000 miles after spending $3,000. While these points don’t transfer to American Airlines, Chase Ultimate Rewards have lucrative airline transfer partners of their own such as United Airlines and British Airways, both transferring at a 1:1 ratio. If you really want American Airlines miles, you can always get an American Airlines business card for the same 40,000 miles offer. Another option is the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card. It offers 25,000 miles after spending $5,000 in 3 months and transfers to a variety of airlines, including American Airlines, . These are just a few ideas of better ways to allocate your $12,000 in a more lucrative manner.

Regardless, if you are considering an American Airlines credit card, the 40,000 AAdvantage mile sign-up bonus is quite decent given how versatile American Airlines miles are. Cardholders also receive a 10% rebate after redeeming awards up to 10,000 miles a year. If you’re earning and redeeming lots of American Airlines miles, that rebate more than pays for the annual fee every year. You can also check out my posts on maximizing American Airlines miles to get the best value for your AAdvantage miles:

What if we buy Vanilla Reloads or other cash equivalents? Is the additional 22,000 miles for $12,000 spending worth it then?

Spending $12,000 or buying 24 Vanilla reloads will cost $94.80 in fees. That’s actually a small price to pay for 22,000 American Airlines miles as that’s almost enough for a free round trip domestic ticket (or for a one-way trip domestic trip AND a one-way trip to South America), but do keep in mind you’ll need to take all those trips to CVS to buy the Vanilla Reload cards to begin with. You can only buy 2 at a time.

Summary

  • The local Citibank branch has an offer available to Citigold customers that allows them to earn up to 50,000 miles after spending $15,000 on the card in a single year.
  • When compared with the current best online public offer, the bank branch offer yields an additional 22,000 miles after spending an additional $12,000. This isn’t so exciting compared to the better offers out there.

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Comments

    • says

      I think you are referring to them shutting down accounts for extreme abuse of the 5 point per dollar perk on the Citi ThankYou card at drugstores by buying gift cards and other manufacturing spending. That is a losing proposition for them, yes, and they have been vigilant against the perks abuse. I haven’t heard of any similar issues with the American Airlines credit cards.

  1. andreas says

    Sadly I missed the citi AA offers back in the days of 2BM and 50k. So thanks for your investigative work again.. I wonder if it is worthwhile to get a citigold account for this offer. I had received a $300 bonus offer. I have the citi platinum select card, most useless card ever. It may be possible to pencil it out

    • says

      The Citigold account does have a $30 monthly fee if your balance is below $50k. In April, there was actually a promotion for 40,000 ThankYou points for opening a Citigold account. I personally probably wouldn’t go for this offer as 22,000 miles after spending additional $10,000 is not super exciting, but if you plan to only get one card, like AA miles and put all your spending on it anyway, it may be worth considering. Just make sure you’re not overpaying in bank fees for the extra miles! :)

      • mike wood says

        hello- you wrote: “The Cit­igold account does have a $30 monthly fee if your bal­ance is below $50k.” I think this is nothing more than a bait and switch scam. When I went to my local citibank office, they tried to do a sell job on me. They were trying to tell me that I needed to give them 50K. I later found out (online info) that one is charged $30 e/month if the balance is under 50K. regardless, this is a scam as there was no info in the mailer sent to me that spelled out that I was required to deposit with citibank 50K just to open and account for 30,000 advantage bonus miles. This is a sleazy promotion on the part of citibank! FDIC should require citibank to list all deposit requirements in the promo mailing.

        • says

          You are not required to deposit 50k to open an account. The account fee is actually $30, but they waive the fee if you have deposited over $50,000 so there is no actual deposit requirement. It’s just a very high fee account and certainly not worth it if you don’t plan to deposit $50,000 or take advantage of the account benefits.

          • Paul says

            Citi CSRs all seem to think you DO need to deposit $50K to get the promotion. It’s like beating your head against the wall trying to tell them otherwise. I had one guy who was a wannabe Vogon “Resistance Is Futile!” – I read the promotion to the guy – he could not get it thru his skull that the promotion offer waived the need to deposit $50K.

            I’ve had three similar conversations with Citigold CSRs in the last 6 months, so it’s not localized. The first time I signed up, they refused to acknowledge I ever applied for the promotion (despite having the code). So I cancelled the account. Then my SO rec’d an email offer for the promotion and now we are having to hassle Citi for the points. They do seem to waive the first few months of the $30 fee, but beware, make sure you keep >$30 in the account or you get an overdraft fee of $34 (I found out the hard way…)

            Also, signing up for these accounts online is a royal PITA (compared to other checking accounts I’ve signed up for) – I’d advise everyone who signs up for Citigold promotions to do it in the branch and have notations made to your application/account to ensure you get the points you are entitled to.

  2. Cliff Simpson says

    My local CVS Drug Stores now allow you to purchase 10 Vanilla Reload cards per day (i.e. upto $5K).

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