Why I’m Closing All My Citi American Airlines Credit Cards

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Why I’m Closing All My Citi American Airlines Credit Cards

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At the end of August, Citi instituted a new rule to clamp down on churning; whereby those who open or a close a card from a product family – take any American Airlines, Hilton or ThankYou points earning card – the card member must wait 24 months before earning the bonus on any other card from that same product family.

So if you opened up the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard today, you’d need to wait until September 20, 2018 to earn any AAdvantage (so Executive or Gold) bonuses again.

Practically, this means you’d need to keep your AAdvantage Platinum open for two years. The annual fee is waived the first year, but in 2017 and 2018 you’d have to pay it. Or close it. But if you close it in 2017 because of an annual fee, you’d then need to wait until 2019 – so essentially three years from today.

Strategically, you could keep the card open for two years – assuming you can justify the annual fee – and then earn the bonus again. Or, as I will probably do, you can earn the bonus and then close the card.

If I just had the AAdvantage Platinum, I’d probably keep it open and be okay with paying the annual fee… But, I have:

  1. AAdvantage Platinum – $95 annual fee
  2. AAdvantage Gold – $50 annual fee
  3. AAdvantage Executive – $450 annual fee

The first two cards have their fees waived the first year, the Executive is charged after the first statement. That’s almost $600 in annual fees and the only real benefit is the Admiral’s Club membership given by the Executive card.

American_Airlines.Admirals_Club.2007

The Admiral’s Club is nice, but for $450 a year?

Priority boarding and free checked bags are also part of the Barclays American Airlines Aviator cards – which I’d much rather keep as they not only offer the same benefits, but Barclays is really generous when it comes to waiving the annual fee on this product.

I had opened up the Executive card when Citi announced their new rules – so pretty recently. My opening resets the clock by two years. If I close the card, it’s only two years and a month (or so) from when I opened. Much better than paying $450 in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Bottom Line

Ethically, I don’t love being in this spot. I really do advocate being a good customer to Citi, building a relationship with them that is beneficial to both of us. And while I don’t love these new rules (obviously), I do understand Citi’s motivation for instituting them – and who knows? They may change, but for now they’re here to stay.

-The Miner


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