Late January an offer from Citi and American Airlines crept out on the interwebs. The first MAJOR bonus offer of the year-100,000 American Airlines miles!!!
I looked over the offer and actually needed to think about it because the card charges a $450 annual fee-YIKES!!! However the card also offers a $200 statement credit thus bringing the fee down to $250 in reality. The card also grants free admission to American Airlines Admirals Clubs (lounges where you can get free food and drinks). I personally don’t fly enough to value this much but for many they do value it. What is nice is that even if you are not flying American you can use the lounge! The card also offers one free checked bag which we already have due to our other Citi American card.
After debating for a bit I decided to pull the trigger and applied here.
The landing page showing the details and benefits
The day I applied I did not get an instant decision and was asked to call Citi. When I called they mentioned their systems were down and to call back in 24 hours. I imagine the systems were slammed because the of the amount of application volume coming in due to this offer.
I called in the next day and they mentioned the file is under review and nothing additional was needed. A day later they actual called me and told me I was at a maximum credit allotment and they needed to move some credit around to get this new card approved. I moved $15,000 credit line from one of my Citi cards to this new one and I was approved! The next day I received a letter from Citi going over the terms and conditions of the card and the following day I received the actual card in the mail in a snazzy package!
Pretty nice packaging
I activated the card that night and over the course of the next 3 nights I stopped at CVS to hit the huge spending hurdle of $10,000!!
$10k worth of Vanilla Reloads
So within three days I hit my $10,000 spending hurdle. The Vanilla Reloads cost $3.95 per card so $10,000 costs $79 in fees. So for $79 plus the $250 annual fee totals $329. Essentially I am paying $329 for 110,000 American Airlines miles (remember you get 1 mile per every dollar spent so $10,000 spent=10,000 miles). With 110,000 American Airlines miles you can go anywhere in the world!! When we went from Hong Kong to Chicago in Cathay Pacific business class it cost 55,000 miles per person so two business class tickets one way or one business class ticket roundtrip!!!!
Lets say you wanted to take a vacation to see the Great Wall of China. It costs 55,000 miles one way or 110,000 miles roundtrip in business class. If you don’t care about business class you can go roundtrip in economy for 70,000 and still have 40,000 miles left over! Or if you want to go big you can fly first class to Beijing for 67,500 miles one way or 135,000 miles roundtrip so you would need to earn another 25,000 AA miles for that.
AA award chart to China from North America
Another option is you can say “nah, I just want to pay for my ticket in cash.” Take a look below to see some of your options.
American Airlines business class (random date in 2014) is $8,506.30 roundtrip for one
The cheapest fare on Kayak for random dates in economy $1284 roundtrip for one
I would much rather fly Cathay Pacific Business class to Beijing for $329 using my miles!
Cathay Pacific business class
Choice is yours 🙂