Nothing ruins the end of a really good episode of Veep like an airline credit card pitch. We get it. Bonus miles. Dollars for purchases. DOUBLE for airline purchases! No bag fees* If you’ve flown more than three times in the past year, you can recite the pitch by heart. And if you’ve got the credit card already, or know you don’t want it, it’s right up there with other people’s cell phone conversations on the list of stuff you don’t want to hear.
But, this week, American Airlines is launching a new card that might be worth listening to, even if you don’t fly much. And it’s promoting an old card on flights that’s a bonanza for existing cardmembers.
On July 22nd, American Airlines is introducing the Citi AAdvantage MileUp, a no annual fee card that’s giving double points for groceries and a free $50 in the first three months. Meanwhile, flight attendants airline-wide have begun re-promoting the AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard from Barclays, giving existing Citi card members a chance to get a couple of free domestic round-trips flights for under $100.
A new card for points newbies
The new MileUp card is not an Amex Platinum, but it might be the foray into airline reward points that new travelers are looking for. The big advantage here is that there’s no annual fee, so if you’re cool doing some paperwork and if you have an AA frequent flier account, you can get the card plus 10,000 bonus miles free. That’s almost enough points for a domestic one-way on American Airlines. You need to spend $500 on the card to get those miles, but one bad weekend knocks that out. Or, you know, groceries and gas if you’re into stuff like “responsibility.”
Speaking of groceries, you’ll also notch double miles every time you use the card at a grocery store. So, if you’re into entertaining or just enjoy the ambiance of a Kroger frozen foods section, you can literally eat your way to vacation. You’ll also get double miles for any American Airlines purchase, and a 1:1 reward for any other purchase.
AND…once you drop $500 on whatever the hell you like, Citi gives you a $50 statement credit. Which you can use to pay an old parking ticket, fill up your SUV, or tell the crowd at the local dive bar “Shots on me!” next time you walk in. It’s your money.
The card will be available starting July 22nd and you can apply for it here.
Existing Citi Card holders can get some good stuff, too.
As part of the MileUp roll out, American Airlines is also hooking up existing AAdvantage Platinum Select card members with double points at gas stations, and a $100 flight credit after you spend $20,000. Bronze card members are getting the same deal as MileUp members, and will get new MileUp cards when their Bronze card expires.
But it’s not the new card that’s most exciting for existing Citi card holders. American flight attendants are plugging the Aviator Red Mastercard from Barclays. This card gives anyone — even existing Citi card members — 50,000 bonus miles once they are approved, pay the $95 annual fee, and make one purchase.
So, as opposed to the usual deal — where you have to spend a few thousand dollars in three months to get bonus miles — Barclays gives it to you as soon as you fork over 95 bucks and buy a pack of gum. If you’re not familiar with American Airlines’ rewards system, that’s a free round-trip to Europe or two round-trips within the contiguous US for less than the price of a one-way promotional fare to Iceland.
It’s a second chance for AA cardholders to get a boatload of miles with no obligation to buy anything after that. Combined with the new beginner’s MileUp card, it’s giving American Airlines a serious leg up in the competitive world of airline rewards cards. From novice fliers to points vets, they’ve got cards to help everyone. The free trip is absolutely worth those precious moments stolen from Veep.
*provided you buy the ticket with their credit card