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American Airlines has announced that it will be ending the 10% rebate on redeemed miles for its co-branded credit card holders. The change affects cards issued by Barclays and Citi, and will be effective on May 1, 2019.
Summary of the Changes
Currently, eligible cardholders can receive a 10% rebate on redeemed miles, up to a maximum of 10,000 miles rebated every year regardless of the number of eligible cards you hold. The rebate applies to all redemptions, including partner awards.
Cards Affected by the Change
The following cards will no longer receive a 10% rebate on redeemed miles:
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®
Should I Close My Account?
If you have the AA Elite MasterCard, you should be aware that Citi has a somewhat unique rule to determine eligibility for a welcome bonus on a new account. Citi cards are grouped into “families” according to what type of points they earn. For each family of cards, you can't earn a new signup bonus if you've opened or closed a card in the same family in the last 24 months. That means if you close your AA Elite MasterCard card because of this devaluation, you won't be able to earn a signup bonus on a new, personal Citi card that earns American AAdvantage miles for two years.
However, as long as it has been more than 24 months since you opened the AA Elite MasterCard, you should be eligible for a Citi American Airlines co-brand card right now. In other words, before you close a card, think hard about whether you want to open a different American card—like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®—before you reset the 24-month clock. Barclays doesn't have a similar rule, so if you decide it isn't worth keeping your Aviator Red or Silver card, there shouldn't be an adverse effect on your eligibility for other cards unless the rules change.
You can learn more by checking out our complete guide to credit card application rules.
The move is disappointing and represents a big hit to the value of holding any of the affected cards. Each of these cards will still offer a free checked bag for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same U.S. domestic itinerary. The cards also offer priority boarding with group five, which is the first group to board after AAdvantage elites and those who purchased Priority boarding. For some, these perks may be enough to hang on to the card. But for many, the 10% rebate was likely the last thing standing in the way of closing their accounts.
If your annual fee isn’t coming up for a while, it's certainly worth waiting to see if an exodus of cardmembers triggers some sort of new benefit from Citi and Barclays, but we won’t be holding our breath.
Source: Frequent Miler
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