Posts Tagged With: Citibank

Changes coming to American Airlines credit cards

Last week we were notified by both Citibank and Barclays that there will be changes coming to their affiliated American Airlines credit cards.

Through the end of April both cards will continue to offer you a 10% rebate on award tickets, up to a maximum of 10,000 miles per year. Starting May 1, 2019, this benefit will be removed from both cards.  So if you were thinking about redeeming AA miles, do it sooner rather than later.  Remember that AA allows you to change dates and routings on award tickets, as long as the starting and ending point remains the same.

There are other changes, both positive and negative as well though they vary by card.

AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®

(Supposedly) Positive changes:

– If you spend $20,000 on the card during your cardmember year you’ll get a companion certificate for $99 plus taxes and fees.

– You can get up to $25 back on inflight wi-fi purchases each year

– Resuming a trial program they had last year, your final total each month will be rounded up to the nearest whole dollar and for each penny it’s rounded up you’ll be given 1 AAdvantage mile. So if your total spent for the month is $xx0.45 it will be rounded up to $xx1.00 and you’ll earn an addition 55 AA miles.

Negative changes:

– If you (like me) had a version of this card that was converted from the old US Airways president’s card that earned 10,000 miles each year when you renewed your card, that program will be discontinued. You will receive your last 10,000 mile bonus upon the next renewal after May 1, 2019.

– Barclays hands out discount certificates for $100 off an AA flight if you spend $30,000 or more during a cardmember year. This program is also being discontinued effective with your next anniversary date on or after May 1, 2019.

– The annual fee will increase to $99 from $89.

Even the supposedly positive changes are mostly negative to me. I fly to meet up with friends and only very rarely fly an entire route with someone so I don’t need the companion pass. I’ve never used wi-fi on a flight so while that’s nice, it’s not something I’ll likely use. I wouldn’t mind the Flight Cents program but am not lost without it.

As for the negative changes, I’d already concluded that it was a waste of my time to manufacture spend $30,000 for a $100 certificate so I hadn’t planned to do that this year. The annual fee increase is not a deal breaker. The loss of the 10,000 miles per year just for owning the card is the big hit here.

 

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select®

The changes here aren’t quite as drastic. The card will not lose any other benefits and if you spend $20,000 per year on the card you’ll get a AA discount certificate whose value is being increased from $100 to $125.

I’ve owned Barclays AAviator card for a number of years and have held on to it primarily for the 10,000 mile bonus each year. With that feature gone, I’ll try to product change this card to something else or cancel it when my cardmember year is up in December. I’ve had the Citi AA card for over 20 years so I’ll hang on to that for the free checked bag and priority boarding.

It’s a real shame these benefits are being removed. As bad as American’s been lately you’d think they’d be looking for ways to entice the public to use their cards but that appears not to be the case.

Categories: Credit Cards, Citibank, Barclays, AAdvantage Aviator, Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

New benefits, slightly higher fee for the Citi AA Platinum Card

The Citibank AAdvantage® Visa was the first rewards credit card I ever had and I’ve held on to it through various iterations including a switch to MasterCard for over 20 years. But it’s one I keep for the benefits instead of for its earning power.

To me the primary benefits are a free checked bag on domestic flights and the 10% rebate on miles when purchasing an award ticket (up to 10,000 miles per year). But at present the card earns 2x miles on all American Airlines purchases and 1x miles everywhere else. While I do have a couple of small recurring charges on this card, I spend less than $50 per month on it.

Starting July 22, 2018 it seems that Citi will attempt to get me to spend more on this card by offering 2x miles at restaurants and gas stations as well as a $100 AA flight voucher if I spend $20K or more during my cardmember year and renew the card. They’ll also raise the annual fee from $95 to $99 which seems…cheap.

My reaction: well, it’s better than nothing. But if Citi was hoping to drive me to use this card more often, this is not going to do it. I already get 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at restaurants through my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. I get 3x of Citi’s own Thank You Points per dollar at gas stations via the Citi Premier card. Thanks to my Barclay’s American Airlines AAviator card I can earn that $100 voucher for $20K spend, get the free checked bag AND, thanks to having converted that card over from the US Airways card, I get 10K miles bonus each year I renew.

The only reason I keep this card is for how it’s helping my credit rating’s average age of accounts score and the 10% mileage rebate though that only helps in years when I redeem AA miles. And it’s frustrating to me when I want to book an international trip as soon as the window opens but AA hasn’t released ANY award seats from Memphis to an AA hub so I have to buy a positioning flight.

So, nice try, Citibank but let’s see if you can do better.

Categories: American Airlines, Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard, Citibank, Credit Cards | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Changes coming to Citi Prestige this Sunday

While we’ve known changes were coming to the Citi Prestige, we hadn’t known the exact details. Citi recently released this information and, in my opinion, they’re mostly negative.

1. The new card will be metal. This is to compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum, I assume. Change Rating: Neutral

2. Changes to the Fourth Night Free Benefit
a. Today when a booking a hotel for the fourth night free benefit, it must be done by calling or emailing the specified travel agency. Starting next week booking the hotel can be done online.  Change Rating: Positive
b. Today when booking for four nights or more, the fourth night’s stay is refunded, even if it’s the most expensive night of the stay. Starting next week, the average cost of the room for one night will be refunded and taxes will not be refunded. Change rating: Negative

3. When redeeming ThankYou Points for cash, they can be redeemed at a rate of .5 cents per point, so redeeming 50,000 points nets you $250. Next week you’ll be able to redeem points at the rate of a penny per point, so that same 50,000-point redemption will earn you $500. Change rating: Positive

4. Lounge Access: while you’ll still have access to Priority Pass lounges, you’ll no longer have access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs when traveling on AA. Change rating: Negative

5. Redeeming points for flights: Today you may redeem points at the rate of 1.6 cents per point for flights on American Airlines or 1.33 cents per point on other airlines. Effective next week the rate will be 1.25 cents per point on any airline. Change rating: Negative

6. Today the Citi Prestige allows for three complimentary rounds of golf at over 2000 courses worldwide. That benefit ends next week. Change rating: Negative

For people like me who want to use ThankYou Points for travel, these are mostly negative changes. If there’s any good news it’s that there will be a new sign-up bonus of 75K points starting next week. But card holders who have opened or closed the Prestige or Premier card in the last 24 months are not eligible for the bonus. My plan for now is to apply for the Premier card and once I have it then I’ll close my Prestige card. I’ll miss the $250 Air Travel Credit but the Premier is much cheaper than the $450 annual fee for the Prestige.

In the meantime I recently redeemed most of my ThankYou Points for a flight for a ski trip next year.

What are your plans for your ThankYou Points?

Categories: Citi Prestige, Citibank, Credit Cards | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Citibank Adds Qantas As Transfer Partner

Like other credit card issuers, Citibank offers a card that earn a transferable points currency. I don’t yet have a card that earns Citi Thank You Points (TYPs). TYPs can be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel partners on a 1-to-1 basis, except where noted:

  • Asia Miles (currency for Cathay Pacific and others)
  • EVA Air Infinity Mileage Lands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Air France Flying Blue
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Hilton HHonors Worldwide (1:1.5)

All transfers are for a minimum of 1000 points and must be transferred in 1000-point increments.

Recently Qantas was added as a transfer partner, making Citi the first US card issuer to allow direct transfers to Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF). Several bloggers have pointed out that it’s not particularly a great deal given that Qantas awards are distance-based and international flights will incur fuel surcharges.

What this transferability does offer is flexibility. Qantas is part of the oneworld alliance along with American Airlines, British Airways and others. Qantas (and BA) open their booking schedules approximately three weeks before American opens theirs. This, combined with how few premium cabin seats Qantas makes available, mean that award seats can be booked using QFF (or BA Avios) as soon as they’re released – leaving those with only AA miles to pick up the crumbs that are left.

The downside is that Qantas charges 168K QFF miles and BA charges 150K Avios each way in first class from North America to/from Australia. And both programs incur fuel surcharges of $390 each way to go along with the taxes and fees.

Short-haul flights using QFF miles are cheaper than the US legacy carriers at 8000 miles each way for flights of up to 600 miles but BA only charges 4500 Avios each way.

So would you ever want to transfer your Thank You Points to Qantas? Probably not, but it depends on your situation. If you’ve been saving up TYPs for a trip Down Under this will get you in the door more quickly though you’ll still have to shell out over $400 for first class flight. But it may be worth it to you to lock in a first class flight well in advance. Once the American Airlines calendar opens up, you could cancel your ticket bought with QFF miles and watch for the seat to go back into award inventory and then use your AA miles to pay for it. The question is: is the reward worth the risk of losing your first class seat? For me, the answer is no. I’d rather pay the $400 and lock in my flight than risk losing it. Since a first class ticket goes for $9600-$10,300 (depending on whether you depart from Los Angeles or Dallas) each way, it’s absolutely worth it to me to lock it in and not worry about the $400 – but as always, it’s your call.

HT: The Frequent Miler

Categories: Citibank, Credit Cards, Qantas | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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