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Citi amps up airlines card

By Janna Herron ·
Monday, April 2, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage cardholders will find more than a half-dozen new perks to their credit cards starting Monday.

The credit card issuer said these cardholders will be able to earn miles faster with three new benefits: 10 percent miles back on redeemed miles (up to 10,000 per year); double miles on American Airlines purchases; and no annual limit on how many miles can be earned.

On top of that, cardholders get four airline extras to make traveling smoother, including priority boarding; first checked bag free for the cardholder and up to four traveling companions; a $100 flight discount after spending $30,000; and a 25 percent savings on in-flight food, drink and headset purchases.

"Travelers gripe about these small fees that airlines have started to charge, so it's smart of issuers to leverage their dissatisfaction with those fees," says Bill McCracken, CEO of Synergistics Research Corp., an Atlanta-based marketing research firm for the financial services industry.

"These particular incentives have had traction with travelers," he says.

Those who carry one of the following cards will automatically receive access to the new benefits starting Monday: Citi Platinum Select;  AAdvantage Visa Signature, Citi Platinum Select;  AAdvantage World MasterCard, Citi Platinum Select; AAdvantage®World Elite MasterCard and Citi Select; AAdvantage American Express.

New cardholders can earn a bonus 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. Citi's enhanced airline card comes with a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year for new cardholders.

"We want to give our customers more ways to save money and earn points, to make sure their journey is rewarding and special," says Ralph Andretta, head of co-brands and loyalty at Citi Cards. "There's always competition for the traveler. It’s a revered group of people."


Last month, Capital One introduced a promotion designed to lure consumers to its Venture Rewards credit card by rewarding them for spending on another card last year. The issuer said it would double the miles for every dollar spent in 2011 on another travel rewards card (up to 100,000 miles).

"Users of airlines cards tend to be more affluent, and their spending capacity is much higher," says McCracken. "They want to earn miles because they do a lot of traveling.  To them, it's worth the typically steeper annual fee than a general card."

How does Citi's new card benefits compare to your airlines card?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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May 03, 2012 at 12:23 am

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