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There are cards that you hold for their earnings, cards that you hold for the travel benefits and cards that offer a bit of both, and cards that fall into the latter two categories have seen their popularity decline steeply as the benefits they offer remain mostly inaccessible tanks to the global travel shutdown.
Recently, the corporations that issue credit and charge cards with a strong focus on travel benefits have come to realize that they need to take action if their cards aren’t to be consigned to the shredder and Citi is the latest issuer to announce a number of positive measures for holders of select American Airlines AAdvantage co-branded cards.
Fight Discount Certificates Extended
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select cardholders can earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after they spend $20,000 or more in purchases during their card membership year (and renew their card). Ordinarily, the certificate is valid for a year from the date of issue but, as of yesterday, cardholders whose certificates expire (or expired) between 31 March 2020 and 31 May 2021 will have an additional 6 months in which to use their certificates.
Companion Certificates Extended
CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum cardholders can earn an American Airlines Companion Certificate valid for domestic main cabin travel after they spend $30,000 or more in purchases during their card membership year (and renew their card).
Citi has now announced that all cardmembers who hold a companion certificate with an expiration date of 31 December 2020 will receive a 6-month extension with the certificates now expiring on 30 June 2021.
Citi Is Offering A Credit To Executive Card Holders
One of the key reasons people hold the $450/year Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is the Admirals Club membership that comes as one of the card’s benefits but, with the world locked down and a number of Admirals Clubs closed, this isn’t a benefit that a lot of people are currently able to use.
With American Airlines announcing that it would be offering 6-month extensions for all Admirals Club memberships purchased directly, there has been a bit of pressure in Citi to come up with something for Executive Card holders…and it has.
Citi AAdvantage Executive cardholders whose account was opened on or before 31 March 2020 will be receiving a one-time credit of $225 when they renew their card. Effectively, their next card membership year will be half-price.
All of this news is very welcome but some bits are weaker than others.
The 6-month extensions to the flight discount certificates will be good news for a lot of Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select cardholders but with airlines essentially suggesting that 2020 will be a write-off as far as travel goes, will people whose certificates now expire in October, November, and December really get a chance to use those discounts effectively? Possibly not.
The 6-month extension to the companion vouchers offered by the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card is a more solid concession to cardholders as it gives them up to the end of June 2021 to use their vouchers – that seems like a reasonable timeframe in which to expect people to be able to make the most of this benefit.
The best bit of news is reserved for Citi AAdvantage Executive cardholders (or a least those who had planned to renew their cards) as a $225 rebate is a very nice gesture from Citi and it means that Executive card holders are effectively getting a better deal than people who purchased Admirals Club memberships directly from American Airlines – a 50% rebate on a credit card that still offers benefits other than Admirals Club membership is more generous than a 6-month extension to an Admirals Club membership.
Overall this is pretty good news from Citi…but the news is better for some than for others. I’m not sure I’d be overly excited if my flight discount was set to expire this month and I was only given to November of this year to use it, but if I was a Citi AAdvantage Executive Card holder I’d probably be very pleased right now.