How Does the American Airlines 10% Rebate Work With Multiple Credit Cards?

Jul 21, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

One of the valuable perks of American Airlines co-branded credit cards is the 10% rebate on any miles you redeem, up to 10,000 miles each year. But what are the rules with multiple AA credit cards, as TPG reader Mendel asked us in an email…

I have a Citi AAdvantage card and a Barclaycard Aviator card. Both offer 10% AAdvantage miles back up to 10,000 each. Do I need to redeem 100,000 or 200,000 AAdvantage miles for the maximum benefit on each of these cards? And do I need to pay the taxes with those cards to get the AAdvantage miles back?

TPG Reader Mendel

Two good questions here. First, regardless of how many American credit cards you have, unfortunately the 10% rebates don’t stack together. Even if you have AA cards from two different banks, such as a Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard from Citibank and an AAdvantage Aviator Red from Barclaycard, you can’t redeem 100,000 miles for each of them and get 20,000 miles back. No matter what, 10,000 miles is the maximum rebate you can get per year.

The good news is that you actually don’t have to worry about assigning redemptions to one card or the other. Even though the 10% rebate is a benefit of the co-branded AA credit cards, as long as your AAdvantage number is correctly linked to your cards, you should automatically get the 10% rebate on any redemptions you make from your mileage account.

IMG-aa-10-percent-rebate-transaction
The 10% rebate appears as “bonus miles” in your AAdvantage account activity.

The rebate will appear as “bonus miles” as part of the redemption transaction in your AAdvantage account activity log after you book an award ticket, so don’t expect to see the discount when you’re in the process of booking the flights. Once you hit the 10,000-mile cap, the rebates will stop for the year, but will start again with any new redemptions after January 1.

Of course, this also leads us to the answer to your second question. Since the 10% rebate is tied to your AAdvantage account, you can use any credit card you want to pay for the taxes and fees due on your award redemption ticket and still get 10% of the miles back.

Though you could use one of the co-branded AA cards and get 2 miles per dollar spent for those taxes and fees, you might be better off taking advantage of a card with an even higher bonus category. For instance, use The Platinum Card® from American Express and get 5x bonus points for the purchase since it’s reported to code as airfare. Or take advantage of the 3x travel multiplier on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, or 3x on airfare purchases with the Citi Prestige Card for extra points as well.

Either way, Mendel, as long as your AAdvantage credit cards are open, you should have no problem picking up some extra points and getting back some extra miles on AAdvantage redemptions. Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

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