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.
– 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.