This blog isn’t really supposed to be about credit card churning. But I saw a pretty confused discussion about Citibank’s new rules regarding churning American Airlines credit cards on Flytertalk, and thought I would write a quick piece about my strategy for transitioning from the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Mastercard to the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard.
About a year ago, Citibank was offering an insane signup bonus of 100,000 miles on their AAdvantage Executive World Mastercard. It also included a $200 statement credit (first $200 in purchases were free), and unlimited lounge access for you and two guests to any Admirals Club. Since I like free stuff, I took advantage of this offer. The card’s major downside was a $450 annual fee.
Fast forward 1 year, and I will probably be retiring this card, since there are no more miles or statement credit bonuses to be had, and I don’t want to spend $450 a year for access to the airport lounge.
However, there is another card, the AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard, that is its perfect replacement. The bonus for that card is currently 50,000 miles, with the annual fee for the first year waived completely. In addition, the card offers 10% of your redeemed airline miles back (up to 10,000 miles per year). So now I can use those miles I got last year, and get 10,000 miles back automatically.
Recently, there has been much FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt!) on the Flyertalk forums regarding this card, due to a change in Citibank policy. It used to be that Citibank would limit you to one AAdvantage credit card every 18-26 months. So if it had been less than a year and a half since your last AAdvantage credit card application, you would be automatically rejected if trying to apply for another one, even if it wasn’t the same card.
Very recently, however, Citibank has changed that policy to say that you can only receive bonus points for an AAdvantage credit card of the same type within 18 months of having opened or closed a card of that type (Note: Updated for precision per Flyertalk discussion). So while it has been less than ~10 months since I obtained my Exec card, I have never applied for the Platinum card. Therefore, based on reports from others on Flyertalk, I decided to give it a shot and apply for the Platinum card. I was instantly approved, thereby confirming that the Citi policy has in fact changed!
I can now close my AAdvantage Executive card before the annual fee hits, and use the new Platinum card, with it’s 10% mile retention bonus, to spend miles on American flights.