November 28th, 2012

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While 50,000-mile offers on the Citi American Airlines AAdvantage cards have been elusively floating around the web for a while, many of the application pages did not state the mileage bonus amount, so applying for them was somewhat a leap of faith. However, most people reported success with their applications and those offers can be found here.

As you’ll see, those links take you to application landing pages for the Citi Select AAdvantage American Express and the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard®, but there are no explicitly stated terms about the mileage bonus or the minimum spending requirements, though the reports are that you have to spend $2,500 in 4 months to earn the 50,000-mile bonus. I cannot verify these links, so your miles may vary, but it could still be worth applying through those offers and taking your chances.

For a limited time, though, I have links to official  50,000-mile offers on the following three American Airlines cards from Citi until December 13, 2013 (update: these offers have expired). The downside is that the spending requirements for each card – at $10,000 over 12 months – are much higher, but the mileage bonus is explicitly stated, so you know what you’re getting.

Here are the three current offers and what they include:

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard:

  • For a limited time, earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.1
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back — up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard:

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Admirals Club® membership for you with guest privileges*
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard:

  • Designed for businesses
  • For a limited time, earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines domestic flights*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines® purchases*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations*
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases.*

Where these cards vary is in a few key individual benefits, which should help you decide which card you want.

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select’s standout perk is the 10% rebate on redeemed miles up to 10,000 miles each year. It basically brings down the price of a roundtrip business class award ticket from North America to Europe to 90,000 miles if you use it up in one fell swoop.

But remember, American and Citi also offer reduced-price awards for Citi AA cardholders on flights within the US and Canada originating within the 48 contiguous United States – like 17,500 mile economy and 42,500 first class roundtrip awards to select quarterly rotating cities – so you could also be saving an additional 7,500 AAdvantage miles on your domestic itineraries (though you do have to pay a $25 booking fee to redeem these over the phone).

So let’s say you booked two roundtrip domestic flights in first class for 100,000 miles total. You’d actually need just 85,000 miles thanks to the reduced-priced awards, saving you 15,000 miles, plus you’d get another 8,500 back for a total savings of 23,500 miles – almost enough for another reduced-price roundtrip economy ticket.

The other perk specific to this card – a $100 voucher when you spend $30,000 or more each cardmembership year isn’t nearly as impressive and represents the equivalent of only a 0.33% return on your investment.

The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is the thoroughbred the Citi/AAdvantage card stable, and it comes with a hefty $450 price tag. That might be worth it if you take full advantage of this card’s value-added perks like Admirals Club membership (which runs between $300-500 depending on your elite level and whether you’re a new or renewing member) and the 10,000 EQM’s you get for spending $40,000 or more in a year.

If you’re putting a lot of business spend on your card and coming close but not quite making the next tier of elite status, those 10,000 miles could put you over the edge. That could be especially lucrative if you’re aiming for Executive Platinum status, which confers its own array of valuable benefits including 8 systemwide upgrades a year, each of which could be worth thousands of dollars depending on how you use them. This card is also a good choice for use abroad since there are no foreign transaction fees and it has SmartChip technology, which makes it easier to use in Europe.

The CitiBusiness AAdvantage World MasterCard is kind of like a happy medium between the personal and the business card. It carries the same annual fee as the Citi Platinum Select, but still includes several business-friendly benefits including the 2x category spending bonus on business expenses, and the opportunity to earn a roundtrip domestic economy companion ticket when you spend $30,000 or more in a year.

Which card you choose depends on which perks interest you the most. I personally carry the Citi Platinum Select since I like the 10% mileage redemption rebate.

That said, there’s no reason why I (or anyone) can’t get more than one Citi AAdvantage card using the two-browser trick to get two at once and basically double your bonus as long as you can meet the spending requirements.

However, Citi only allows 2 applications for any cards (personal or business) within a 60-day period, so you cannot get all three cards at once. Still, two out of three ain’t bad – especially with 100,000 miles to show for it! It is possible to get another 6+ months later, so if the 50k bonus comes back down the road (or the phantom links still exist) then you may even be able to get 150,000. I’d recommend getting two personal cards in one application and then a business version 6+ months later.

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