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Reduced Mileage Awards for Citi / AAdvantage Cardholders

by on August 8, 2013 · 14 comments

in American Airlines

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American AAdvantage miles are some of the most valuable airline miles out there. Personally, I think their best uses are for long-haul premium redemptions (like my spring trip to Sao Paulo in first class on their brand new 777-300) or for off-peak awards like 40,000 miles to Europe in coach.

Update: The 40,000 point offer for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World Mastercard has ended.

However, if you have a co-branded personal Citi AAdvantage card, such as the Citi Platinum Select World Mastercard, which is currently offering 40,000 miles after spending $3,000, there are some mileage redemption benefits that can present some great values. Cardholders earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar, and have access to reduced price domestic awards.

Be sure to take advantage of the reduced mileage awards for cardholders.

Be sure to take advantage of the reduced mileage awards for cardholders.

Those reduced-price awards shave 5,000-7,500 off roundtrip award tickets and are valid on certain routes within the US and Canada originating within the 48 contiguous United States. They can be booked in economy or first class. Though they only used to be bookable as roundtrip awards, they are now also available for one-way bookings, making them even more versatile. Also instead of being available between various city pairs on a quarterly basis, the reduced mileage award routes now change monthly. As of now, the monthly lists of cities you can fly to/from has been planned out to November. As long as there is mileage saver availability, you should be able to receive these discounts but you must call to book.

How To Book

In order to book these discounted awards:

  1. Check the current list of eligible destinations and check MileSAAver awards, since there must be MileSAAver availability to take advantage of this offer, to find the flight dates and times that work for you.
  2. When you are ready to book, call American Airlines AAdvantage reservations at 1-800-882-8880 and have the award code ready and a reservation representative will book your flight for you. Unfortunately there’s a $25 fee, but it’s waived for Executive Platinums.

Depending on the Citi AAdvantage card you have, you can get either 7,500 or 5,000 miles off a roundtrip award. The following cards yield the 7,500-mile discount (for a total of 17,500 miles roundtrip, or 8,750 one-way):

These cards qualify for the 7,500 mileage discount.

These cards qualify for the 7,500 mileage discount.

While these cards only earn a 5,000 mile discount on roundtrips, so you’re looking at 20,000 miles (10,000 miles one-way).

These cards qualify for the 5,000 mileage discount.

These cards qualify for the 5,000 mileage discount.

Current Destinations

Some of current reduced mileage award destinations for August include New Orleans, LA; Charleston, WV; Washington Dulles and Washington National, Monterey, CA; Cedar Rapids, IA; Columbus, OH; Champaign, IL; Key West, FL and Toronto, Canada.

Reduced mileage award destinations for August.

Reduced mileage award destinations for August.

Some of the current reduced mileage award destinations for September include Nashville, TN; Albuquerque, NM; Phoenix, AZ; Montreal, Canada; Tampa, FL and Santa Fe, NM.

Reduced mileage award destinations for September.

Reduced mileage award destinations for September.

Some of the current reduced mileage award destinations for October include Traverse City, MI; Alexandria, LA; Durango/Purgatory, CO; Oklahoma City, OK; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN and Savannah, GA.

Reduced mileage award destinations for October.

Reduced mileage award destinations for October.

Some of the current reduced mileage award destinations for November include Newark, NJ; Tallahassee, FL; Charlotte, NC; Dayton, OH; Green Bay, WI; Monterey, CA; Santa Fe, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Raleigh, NC;  and Montreal, Canada.

Reduced mileage award destinations for November.

Reduced mileage award destinations for November.

I conservatively value American miles at about 1.8 cents each because my redemptions tend to be for long-haul international premium class tickets, so if you were to get 7,500 miles refunded that would be about $135 in value, more than enough to make up for the annual fees on these cards.

As an example, I searched for an economy award from Dallas-Fort Worth to Washington National and was able to come up with tons of Mileage SAAver availability, so if you had a personal Citi AAdvantage card, it would bring the award cost down to only 17,500 miles round-trip.

I was able to find tons of mileage saver availability in August from DFW-DCA meaning that this route trip flight in coach would be only 17,500 miles.

Mileage SAAver coach awards from DFW-DCA.

To compare, a comparable ticket would cost $411 in economy for the same dates.

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 10.51.46 PMSo my per-mile value would be 2.35 cents as a Citi AAdvantage cardholder instead of 1.64 cents as a non-cardholder. And that’s not even taking into account the 10% mileage refund you’d get as a cardholder.

As another example, I searched for an economy award from Chicago-O’Hare – New Orleans and was able to come up with tons of Mileage SAAver first availability, meaning if I had a Citi AAdvantage card, it would bring the award cost down to only 42,500 miles round-trip.

Tons of mileage saver availability in first from Chicago-New Orleans in Sept bringing the cost down to 42,500 miles.

Mileage SAAver first awards from ORD-MSY.

Comparable tickets are going for around $809 those same dates:

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 10.57.10 PMYielding a per-mile value of 1.9 cents – well above the 1.6 cents per mile you’d get without a card.

Though the list of eligible cities changes each month, there’s a lot of overlap month-to-month, and American makes the details available 4-5 months in advance, so if you play your cards right (and have an AAdvantage card), you can score a lot of discount award tickets on the airline just by keeping up with the cities lists and calling in to book your reduced-mileage awards and earn the 10% cardholder mileage refund. In combination, these are definitely two of my favorite airline credit card benefits, and if used strategically, can save you a ton of miles.

Disclaimer: The responses below are 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 posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Winston

    I am a card holder and if I book the award flight online instead of calling, will i be able to have the 10% miles back?

  • Federico

    Yes, the 10% miles back is automatic (after few weeks) but the reduced awards is a different promotion and you have to call (only few destination are available)

  • Winsston

    Thanks!

  • TravelScrounger

    “As of now, the monthly lists of cities you can fly to/from has been planned out to October.”
    November has been out for quite some time.

  • Winsston

    Not a good deal i think. Most of the reduced awards are short distance flights and you need to pay 25 dollars to get it.

  • Travis

    It was much better years ago when they published reduced mileage awards to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean as well. It was great flying to Curacao for 22.5K miles (sometimes 17.5K miles) roundtrip. I went diving every time it showed up.

  • flbronc

    think of it as buying 7500 miles for 25 bucks. though i don’t want to spend an extra 25 bucks, in the long run it’s worth it in my opinion.

  • Federico

    I agree, I even remember some South American countries…

  • shonuffharlem

    A little off topic, but I have a Aadvantage Platinum Personal Mastercard from about 80 days ago, and today applied for a Aadvantage Platimun Personal Visa because of the 50,000 bonus – and was rejected for already having an Aadvantage card. I thought I read all over the place that they are considered seperate products?

  • Flyaway

    Second paragraph says: “However, if you have a co-branded personal Citi AAdvantage card, such as the Citi Platinum Select World Mastercard, which is currently offering 40,000 miles after spending”, does this apply to existing AA accounts?

  • Flyaway

    I mean my existing Citibank AAdvantage Platinum World MasterCard.

  • thepointsguy

    Yes, it should – it applies to all the personal Citi AAdvantage cards.

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  • K2

    They definitely removed some of the destinations from October and December since this was posted. Do you know why this is?

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