Today marks the end of the increased credit card sign up offers from Citi on select AAdvantage cards. Specifically the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select cards. Citi was offering 60,000 AAdvantage miles after spending just $3,000 within the first 90 days for both cards. Both cards come with a $95 annual fee, which isn’t terrible, but I didn’t see any reason to sign-up for either.
If you didn’t already know, I’m a huge fan of American Airlines. No, it’s not just because they don’t drag their passengers off their planes. I like American because I just do. I’ve tried to place my finger on the one thing that sets American apart from others and I can’t. Simply, I enjoy flying on American and I mostly like their frequent flyer program. It may simply be that I’ve spent the most time researching their program, but I don’t think it’s bad, just different then before. With all that being said, I still opted to avoid opening either of these cards. Pure and simple, I didn’t think the 60,000 mile sign-up bonus was worth it. Below I’ve listed a few reasons why I chose to miss this fantastic opportunity to earn a TON of AAdvantage miles.
AAdvantage Miles Are Frustrating To Use
I have a lot of AAdvantage miles at the moment, just over 200,000. That sounds great, but the reason I have so many miles isn’t. The reason I have so many is because I find them increasingly difficult to use. Whenever I have specific dates in mind to travel the award space isn’t there. If there is sAAver premium cabin space available, it generally includes transatlantic sectors on BA which charges absurd fuel surcharges.
You’d think it’d be easier to find sAAver economy award space domestically, but even those rates tend to be absurd. Usually only the earliest of flights have open sAAver award space or itineraries with ridiculous layovers. When it’s all said and done I have a hard time justifying paying for any American flights with points.
So, since I don’t plan on using American miles for AA flights, I plan on using them on other OneWorld carriers. That becomes an issue because of how difficult it is to book award flights on partner airlines. American’s award search doesn’t display many of the other OneWorld carrier’s flights. To find those flights you’re best bet is to search with British Airways or Qantas and then book with American over the phone. Sure that’s not the worst thing in the world, but it does limit my motivation to use miles.
I Don’t Have Any Award Flights In Mind
Let’s say I knew I wanted to go somewhere using points this year. I’d look how many points I need to book and work on accumulating those miles. Right now I don’t have the time to take many leisure trips and don’t have any aspirational awards in mind. The one product I’d love to fly is the Etihad Apartment, but again I’d need to use Etihad to find availability and call AA to book. If I had to guess this will be my next major redemption, but I don’t have the time to head to the Middle East at the moment. Hopefully soon…
I’m not worried that American miles are going to lose any more value in the coming months, but it’s just never a good idea to collect mile speculatively. When opening a credit card specifically for a sign-up bonus it’s always good to have a redemption in mind (or on hold if possible). There’s nothing worse than opening a card, earning the bonus, and then realizing you can’t even use the miles.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Benefits Aren’t Appealing
A few weeks ago I opened the United MileagePlus Explorer card specifically for the card’s benefits and increased sign-up bonus. That card makes a lot of sense for me to carry because I occasionally fly with United and don’t otherwise maintain United elite status. Carrying the card gives me priority boarding, free check bags (irrelevant), and two United Club passes annually. Those benefits easily help me justify paying the $95 annual fee, potentially in perpetuity.
With the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select I don’t see the same value proposition. Let me rephrase that. I don’t see the value since I’m already an AAdvantage Elite. Many of the benefits offered from this card are overridden by the AAdvantage status I already maintain. Opening the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card simply doesn’t make sense. Why would I pay $95 a year for benefits I already have? The only way this would change for me is if the card offered Admirals Club passes. I’d easily pay the $95 annual fee if the card came with two free Admirals Club passes annually.
The Darn 5/24 Rule
Ever since Chase implemented the 5/24 rule (5 card openings in 24 months) I’ve been more cautious signing up for cards. You never know when Chase is going to offer a lucrative sign-up bonus on their existing line-up of cards. I’d hate to miss out on a better sign-up bonus for flexible currency because I ‘wasted’ an account opening on AAdvantage miles. The 5/24 is a pain, but it does help keep my account openings to a minimum.
I hope this helps explain why opening the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card simply didn’t make sense for me despite the increased 60,000 mile sign-up bonus. Sure it would have been a great opportunity to earn 60,000 AAdvantage miles for a low annual fee, but even then I couldn’t justify opening the card.
Also, I avoided mentioning this offer sooner because I’m often upset when other ‘authorities’ praise a card and I then find out they don’t even have the card. I think it’s great to write about exciting offers and card benefits, but I try to only hype products I actually use and love. With future credit card reviews I hope to be more transparent about if I carry the card or not. That transparency is what prompted me to add the My Wallet page to this site.
Featured Image Courtesy of Citi