Reminder: Reduced Priced Awards for Citi AAdvantage Cardholders Exist and They Just Got Better

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Update: Most Citi AAdvantage 50K offers have expired as reported in this FlyerTalk thread, though there is a live offer for the Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® for 50,000 miles after $3,000 spent within the first 3 months.

Offer Expired: December 13, 2012

American AAdvantage miles are some of the most valuable airline miles out there. Personally, I use them for long-haul redemptions in first class (like my recent trip to Sao Paulo on their brand new 777-300) or for 40,000 mile off-peak awards to Europe in coach. If you have a co-branded Citi AAdvantage card you get access to reduced price domestic awards, that to be honest I often forget about because I don’t usually redeem AA for domestic awards, since Avios are generally better for short/mid-haul flights.

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All Citi AAdvantage cardholders can book reduced-price awards on certain routes within the US and Canada originating within the 48 contiguous United States, which only used to be bookable on roundtrip awards, but which just became available for one-way bookings as well. Also instead of being available between various city pairs on a quarterly basis, the reduced mileage award routes will now change monthly (which is a mixed bag, in my opinion).

The reduced mileage awards changes are the big news here. Depending on the Citi AAdvantage card you have, you could get either 7,500 or 5,000 miles off a roundtrip award. The following cards yielded the 7,500-mile discount:
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The Citi AAdvantage Amex, Citi Gold AAdvantage Visa and Citi Gold AAdvantage Mastercard all just give a 5,000-mile discount on roundtrips.
So just sticking with the 7,500-mile discount, that means that on roundtrip economy awards, you’d only need 17,500 miles and for roundtrip business/first class awards you’d only be spending 42,500 miles (though you do have to pay a $25 booking fee to redeem these over the phone unless you’re an AAdvantage Executive Platinum, in which case the fee is waived).
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The other thing to think about is if you try to travel across a month break (say outbound on June 30 and returning July 3), only one way of your award ticket might be at the reduced level and you’d have to pay the normal level for the other. Looking at the list as it stands now, there’s a fair amount of overlap month to month, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Worth Getting One of These Cards?
Considering the sign-up bonus on the Citi Platinum Select Visa is at 40,000 miles after $3,000 to earn the bonus, that’s already enough for a roundtrip business/first class award right there – an even better value considering the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. Cardholders of the personal (non-business) cards also earn 10% of their redeemed AAdvantage miles back up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year, which for me more than pays for the annual fee of the card since I value those miles at about $180.

Overall, I think these changes are positive since they give cardholders the ability to book reduced-price awards one-way and there will be more cities from which they’re available, making this just one more valuable reason to carry a Citi AAdvantage credit card.

For more information on the best current AAdvantage credit card sign-up bonuses available at the moment and how to max out their value, check out this post from last week.

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