Citi AAdvantage MileUp Card review: Earn American Airlines miles and Loyalty Points on your everyday spending without an annual fee

Citi AAdvantage MileUp Card review: Earn American Airlines miles and Loyalty Points on your everyday spending without an annual fee

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Bottom line: Because the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card doesn’t have a big bonus or benefits for frequent flyers, it’s best for those who travel infrequently or are just getting started with earning American Airlines miles. It’s also good if you want to earn Loyalty Points with the new AAdvantage elite status structure without paying an annual fee.

Review: Is the AAdvantage MileUp the best American Airlines credit card for you?

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card stands out among airline credit cards because, unlike most, it doesn’t charge an annual fee.  

That said, there’s a tradeoff. Other American Airlines credit cards offer substantial welcome bonuses of at least 50,000 miles, but the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card only comes with American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

The card doesn’t offer much in the way of frequent flyer benefits, either. For example, you won’t get a free first checked bag on domestic itineraries or preferred boarding, which are both standard perks offered by other American Airlines credit cards like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®.

Read more: Guide to the best airline credit cards

The only real travel-related benefit you’ll receive is 25% off inflight purchases you make with your card, and you can only take advantage of this perk when you’re actually up in the air. 

However, this card has become a lot more compelling with changes to the way American Airlines awards elite status. Starting in 2022, qualifying for elite status with American Airlines AAdvantage is now based on earning Loyalty Points. Along with earning Loyalty Points from flying and partner spending, you can earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar spent on co-branded American Airlines cards, including the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Comparison: AAdvantage MileUp Card vs other American Airlines credit cards

 

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

Annual fee

$0

$99, waived for first 12 months

$99, waived for first 12 months

Rewards rate

2x miles on American Airlines purchases

2x miles at grocery stores

1 mile per dollar on all other purchases

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases

2x miles at eligible restaurants and gas stations 

1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

2x miles on eligible American Airlines purchases

2x miles on eligible purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants, and gas stations

1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Welcome bonus

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening

Airline benefits

25% back on inflight purchases

Free first checked bag on American Airlines domestic itineraries

Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights

25% back on American Airlines inflight purchases

$125 American Airlines flight discount when you spend $20,000 or more in an account anniversary year and renew your card

Free first checked bag on American Airlines domestic itineraries

Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights

25% back on American Airlines inflight purchases

Domestic companion certificate when you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year and renew your card

Review

 

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card review

CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card review

AAdvantage MileUp Card vs other no-annual-fee airline credit cards 

 

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

United Gateway℠ Card

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Annual fee

$0

United Gateway℠ Card

$0 (See Rates)

Rewards rate

2x miles on American Airlines purchases

2x miles at grocery stores

1 mile per dollar on all other purchases

2x miles on eligible United purchases

2x miles at gas stations, and on local transit and commuting 

1 mile per dollar on everything else

2x miles on Delta purchases and at restaurants

1 mile per dollar on everything else

Welcome bonus

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card

United Gateway℠ Card

10,000 miles after you spend $500 in the first 3 months from account opening

Airline benefits

25% back on inflight purchases

25% back on United inflight purchases

Expanded access to United award flights

20% back on inflight purchases

Review

 

United Gateway card review

Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express card review

How to earn miles with the Citi AAdvantage MileUp card

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card doesn’t have a lot of bonus spending categories, but its structure is straightforward. Cardholders earn:

2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases (including AA.com, American Airlines reservations, American Airlines Admirals Club, American Airlines Vacations, and American Airlines airport and city ticket counters)2 miles per dollar at grocery stores (supermarkets, freezer/meat locker provisioners, dairy product stores, miscellaneous food /convenience stores, markets, specialty vendors, and bakeries)1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases

How to use American Airlines miles

The good news about American Airlines miles is that, for the most part, they’re easy to use. American uses a dynamic pricing model for many of its award flights, yet it also maintains an award chart that shows the lowest possible cost for various types of fares. For example, a round-trip domestic saver award will set you back 25,000 miles, or you could fly round-trip to Hawaii from the continental US for 40,000 miles. 

A round-trip flight to Europe from the US can also cost as little as 45,000 miles in economy, and a round-trip flight from the US to Asia can cost as little as 65,000 miles in economy.

Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize American Airlines miles

You could also pay even fewer miles if your route or date is included in American Airlines’ periodic Web Specials, which can sometimes shave thousands of miles off the price of a standard ticket. 

Even if you don’t fly American Airlines, there’s are plenty of other ways to redeem AA miles. Because American Airlines is part of the Oneworld alliance, you can use AAdvantage miles to book award flights on any of these Oneworld partners:

Alaska AirlinesBritish AirwaysCathay PacificFinnairIberiaJapan AirlinesMalaysia AirlinesQantasQatar AirwaysRoyal Air MarocRoyal Jordanian AirlinesS7 AirlinesSriLankan Airlines

You can also redeem American Airlines miles for flights on the carrier’s non-alliance partners, including Air Tahiti Nui, Cape Air, China Southern Airlines, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, GOL Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines (except for flights between the mainland US and Hawaii), and Silver Airways.

Read more: I closed my credit card and my airline miles almost expired — here’s how I saved them

Other options for using American Airlines miles include car rentals, hotels, vacation packages, seat upgrades, Admirals Club airport lounge memberships, merchandise, gift cards, and charity donations.

American Airlines miles are worth, on average, 1.4 cents apiece based on Insider’s latest valuations, but the exact value you’ll get depends on how and when you redeem your rewards. 

Benefits and features

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card doesn’t have many stand-out benefits. If you’re looking for American Airlines perks like a free checked bag on domestic itineraries or preferred boarding, you’ll want to look at cards like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®.

American Airlines 25% inflight discount

When you use your American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card for eligible onboard purchases like food or alcoholic beverages, you’ll get a 25% savings in the form of a statement credit. The discount is valid on American Airlines flights, plus American Airlines-marketed flights on Envoy Air, Republic Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Mesa Airlines, PSA Airlines, and Piedmont Airlines.

Read more: Credit cards from Delta, United, and other airlines offer discounts on in-flight purchases, so you can save on drinks, Wi-Fi, and more

The credit should appear on your statement 8-10 weeks after your purchase. One important thing to note is that inflight Wi-Fi purchases (which aren’t processed by American Airlines) aren’t eligible for the 25% savings.

Earn Loyalty Points toward elite status

The new American Airlines Loyalty Point scheme makes it possible to earn AAdvantage elite status without ever getting on a plane. In addition to earning Loyalty Points from flights (1 eligible AAdvantage mile earned = 1 Loyalty Point), you can earn Loyalty Points from non-flying activities, including spending on American Airlines credit cards, spending with partners, and shopping through the AA Shopping Portal.

Read more: Online shopping portals are an effortless way to earn bonus cash back and travel rewards — here’s how they work

It’s important to note you’ll only earn 1 Loyalty Point per dollar you spend on the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, even if the purchase is in a 2x bonus category. For example, if you spent $30,000 on your card in a qualifying year, you’d receive AAdvantage Gold elite status, which requires 30,000 Loyalty Points to earn.

 

Fees and costs

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, but there are other costs to be aware of.

First, you’ll pay an APR of 15.99% – 24.99% (Variable) if you carry a balance on your card. You’ll also pay foreign transaction fees if you use your credit card to make purchases abroad, and, like most cards, there are fees for late and returned payments, balance transfers, and cash advances.

AAdvantage MileUp Card — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is the Citi AAdvantage MileUp card worth it?

Most folks who fly American Airlines regularly will do better with another American Airlines card, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. That’s because these cards offer better bonus categories and benefits like free checked bags and preferred boarding.

That said, if you’re completely opposed to paying an annual fee and still want a card that earns American Airlines miles, the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card is a good choice — particularly if you’re looking for a no-cost way to earn more Loyalty Points toward elite status.

What credit score do you need for the AAdvantage MileUp card?

Generally, to get approved for the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card, you’ll need a credit score in the good to excellent range. This means a FICO score of at least 670, or a VantageScore of at least 700.

Read more: What is a good credit score? It depends whether you’re asking VantageScore or FICO

If your score isn’t quite there yet, read our guides on improving your credit score and how using credit cards can help boost your score.

Who is eligible for the American Airlines MileUp card?

Most credit card issuers, including Citi, have restrictions on who is eligible to apply for their personal and business credit cards. With American Airlines credit cards from Citi, you can only receive the sign-up bonus if you have not received a bonus on the same card within the last 48 months. 

However, it is possible to have more than one type of American Airlines card. For example, if you already have the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® or Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, you are still eligible to apply for the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card.

Which American Airlines credit card is best?

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card isn’t the best card for most American Airlines flyers, but it’s a good choice if you absolutely do not want to pay an annual fee.

For most travelers, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® is the best all-around American Airlines card considering its moderate annual fee and solid benefits on the airline.

And if you’re a very frequent flyer, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® may be a better choice, because it comes with Admirals Club airport lounge membership. 

Read our guide to the best American Airlines credit cards for a full overview of all the options.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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