In past posts, I’ve mentioned the benefits of a credit card that earns you frequent flyer miles. The card I’ve used for the last three years is the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard. This post is going to tell you how to earn 3 miles per dollar spent (4 miles per dollar spent on AA purchases) for six months, up to 10,000 additional bonus miles, on your Citi AAdvantage card.
First, I’ll walk you through how I stumbled upon this offer.
To my disgust, Citi recently increased the annual fee for my card to $95 per year. They justified the increase by adding several new features:
- First eligible checked bag for free
- Priority boarding on flights
- 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back (up to 10,000 miles)
- 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases (I admit that this will be very handy when they start charging to use the lavatory)
These are all very nice benefits and probably worth $95 per year for most people. My issue is that I already have the vast majority of those benefits for being a Platinum AAdvantage member. This reduced the value of the card, so I began looking for other options.
During my search, I considered American Express, Capital One Venture card, Chase Freedom card, Citi Thank You card and other AAdvantage cards. I finally settled on the Citi Executive /AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard. The fee is quite an increase, but it does add three key additional benefits, that I believe are compelling:
- Access to Admirals Clubs (typically a $500 value)
- 10,000 elite qualifying miles when you exceed $40,000 in purchases in one calendar year. This is something not offered anywhere else and the fact that I put some larger business expenses on my card makes this easier than you might think.
- Expert concierge service (the value of this is yet to be determined)
Now that I have my new Executive card, I paid off the balance on my old card and called to cancel it. When I did, they transferred me to a wonderful “Account Specialist” named Crystal. Crystal’s job is to talk me out of leaving. Crystal happened to be very good at her job. She explained that I would be refunded a pro-rated amount for my annual membership fee if I cancel, but that she had another offer that might make it worth it to stay. She offered me 2 bonus miles per dollar spent up to 10,000 miles, for six months. As I did the math on this, I quickly determined that by spending $5,000 on the card, I will earn 15,000 miles instead of the normal 5,000 miles. This is basically an offer for 10,000 miles for free. Citi gave me 30,000 miles for getting the card, now they are going to give me 10,000 miles for keeping it for another month or two. That’s a deal I couldn’t refuse.
So, my advice is to keep the card for a while, be sure your account is in good standing, then call to cancel. They will undoubtedly transfer you to a Crystal, who will then make you an offer to stay. If they don’t offer you what I was offered, mention it to them because it’s obviously within their power. Even if they refuse to make you an offer, you’re never obligated to cancel, so you have nothing to lose and 10,000 miles to gain.