This article is Part 3 in our 3-part series on Middle Age Miles about our credit card applications in mid-March 2019. This mini App-O-Rama resulted in 2 denials and 1 approval. Our 3 articles in this series are:
* Article 1: Experiment Foiled! Denied for the Ebates Visa Card
* Article 3: Citi AA Platinum – Approved Using Mailer with No 24-Month Language
The Citi American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Select card (Citi AA Platinum) holds a unique place in all the credit card world, as far as we know. On the downside, for a regular AA flyer who is at all credit card savvy, the card’s benefits are almost laughably poor, and in particular, there are no spend categories that are best-in-class, even for someone who holds only no-fee cards. On the upside, though, the card usually has a great sign-up bonus, it’s pretty easy to get approved (even if you already hold the card), and it’s not uncommon to find mailers that do not restrict how soon you can get another sign-up bonus for the card. These plusses make the Citi AA Platinum card a favorite among those who don’t mind applying for and holding a lot of credit cards.
I decided to apply for another Citi AA Platinum card during my March 2019 mini App-O-Rama. If you’ve been keeping up, you know that I was denied by Synchrony for an Ebates Visa card that would have been connected to my Membership Rewards-earning Ebates account (this one still stings), and I was also denied by Barclays for an Arrival Plus card (not surprising). So, it’s good to round out this trilogy with a success story – my approval for another Citi AA Platinum card.
Info on the Citi AA Platinum Card
The Citi AA Platinum card has the following key features:
- Annual fee: $99, waived first year
- Bonus categories
- 2x on AA purchases
- 2x at restaurants
- 2x at gas stations
- 1x everywhere else
- First checked bag free on domestic AA flights
- Includes up to 4 companions on the same reservation
- “Preferred” Group 5 boarding on AA flights
- $125 AA flight discount coupon with $20k spend + card renewal
- No foreign transaction fees
The card currently has a publicly-available sign-up bonus of 60,000 AA miles, after spending $3,000 within 3 months of opening the card. The public bonus has varied a lot over time, and we recall it being as low as 30,000 miles not too long ago. 60,000 isn’t an all-time high, but it’s pretty good for this card. At our baseline value of 1.25 cents per AA mile, a 60,000 mile sign-up bonus would be worth about $750, which makes it very attractive.
A major challenge with this card, though, is the “24-month” language. Basically, in the public offer, you can’t get the sign-up bonus on this card if you’ve opened or closed a Citi AA personal card (other than the low-end MileUp card) within the previous 24 months. The exact 24-month restrictive language is:
American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles can be earned by new Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select card cardmembers approved through this offer. American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi / AAdvantage card (other than a MileUp or Citi Business / AAdvantage card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.
Despite this standard 24-month restrictive language, though, there’s a workaround. It’s not unusual for Citi/AA to send offers where the terms & conditions do not contain the 24-month restriction.
My Own Recent Application for the Citi AA Platinum Card – Approved Using a Mailer with No 24-Month Language
Given the value of the sign-up bonus and what I assessed as a high likelihood that I’d be approved, I decided to apply for another Citi AA Platinum card, using a mailer with no 24-month restrictive language. If I was approved, the sign-up bonus would be 60,000 AA miles after $3,000 spend within 3 months (just like the current public offer, except without the 24-month restriction). The mailer contained a special 9-digit “Invitation Number” that I used to submit my application.
My stats at the time of the application were:
- New Accounts: 13/24 – 9/12 – 6/6
- Inquiries on Experian (which Citi pulled): 14/24 – 8/12 – 3/6
- 786 credit score on Experian
- >5 years Average Age of Accounts on Experian
- 6 open Citi cards, including 2 open Citi AA Platinum cards
- Citi Prestige (open 3+ years)
- Citi AT&T Access More (opened 2.5 years ago as a Citi AA Platinum card; converted to ATTAM card 1.5 years ago)
- Citi ThankYou Rewards+ (opened 1+ years ago as a Citi AA Platinum card; converted to TYR+ <1 month ago)
- Citi AA Platinum (open 1 year)
- Citi Premier (open 9 months)
- another Citi AA Platinum (open 5 months)
- Most recent inquiry: December 2018 (3 months ago)
- Most recent new account: December 2018 (3 months ago)
Despite the number of new accounts and inquiries, I thought it was highly likely that I’d get approved for another new Citi AA Platinum card, based on my experience and research. The only glitch I’d had in the past with Citi approvals was that I had bumped up against the maximum aggregate credit limit that Citi was willing to extend. This prevented me from being auto-approved in the past, and I’d had to go through calls to re-allocate credit. About 3 weeks prior to this application, however, I’d attempted to get ahead of that issue by reducing the credit limit on one of my existing Citi cards.
When I applied on March 18, my application went pending. Citi let me know that it would contact me within 7-10 days with a decision.
9 days later, I received another email from Citi to let me know that I’d been approved! I never received any call from Citi about the application, and I didn’t have to re-allocate any credit lines – my advance planning on the credit line front had worked like a charm.
As far as we were concerned, this was a great result. Despite opening 3 other Citi AA Platinum cards within the past 24 months – one of which was product-changed just weeks before this application and two of which were still open – I was approved for another Citi AA Platinum card with an opportunity to collect another sweet, sweet 60,000 AA mile sign-up bonus!
Requesting and Receiving a Match to a 65,000 Mile Offer
Before we dive into what happened with our current situation, a little history is in order regarding matches to “higher offers” on Citi AA Platinum cards.
For a long time, the conventional wisdom was that it was possible (and easy if you asked via secure message) to be matched to a “higher offer,” up to a cap of either 20,000 additional AA miles or to 75,000 total miles, whichever was less. We ourselves had received matches from 60,000 to 75,000 miles on a couple of our cards. As an example of this situation, see this February 2018 article from Doctor of Credit, along with the comments:
- Doctor of Credit: Citi American Airlines 60,000 Miles Personal Offer (Get Matched To 75,000 Miles) (dated 2/14/2018)
More recently, though, Citi has begun tightening up on matching offers. Again, we’ll turn to the illustrious Doctor of Credit and his commenters to provide detail, if you’re interested:
- Doctor of Credit: Citi Cracking Down On Matching Offers (5/17/2019)
In addition, there’s been a spirited debate of late among the serious points-and-miles hobbyists at Reddit Churning about whether anyone should be trying for a match at all.
We contemplated the situation and decided to ask Citi for a match of an additional 5,000 AA miles, to an offer with a 65,000-mile sign-up bonus. And in fact, we truly had a mailer with a 65,000-mile offer in hand, addressed to the same household member as the 60,000-mile mailer we used for our application:
Previously, requests to Citi for matches were done through secure message. A few months ago, though, Citi removed the secure message function from its website. This leaves us with the Chat function as the best communication path to use to request a match.
I decided to request the match shortly after hitting the $3,000 minimum spend on the card. I initiated a chat session on May 2, and here is the full text:[Not to be missed – the Citi agent’s sign-off to me was priceless!!!]
A few days later, I received a letter from Citi dated May 4 (just 2 days after I initiated the chat session), confirming that they would indeed add 5,000 AA miles to my account. The match was successful!
The extra “match” points showed up in my AA account when my next statement closed, along with the 60,000 sign-up bonus and the AA miles from my $3,014 in spend on the card:
And now it’s time to find a fun trip where we can put those fresh new AA miles to good use!
Do you have additional thoughts or insight on the Citi AA Platinum card, applying for it, or asking for matches? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
Additional Thought and Postscript
We wanted to add to this article that there is one other area where the Citi AA Platinum card can provide great value. Citi is very generous when it comes to allowing product changes to AA Platinum cards. We typically wait for one year after approval, when the annual fee posts, then product change. We’ve gotten great results out of these product changes. For example:
- When our very first Citi AA Platinum card hit its one-year anniversary in Fall 2017, we product-changed to a Citi AT&T Access More card. Product changing was the only path to get this valuable card that has no been available to new applicants for several years. We absolutely love this card, which has best-in-class points earning with 3x TYPs for online retail, plus we’ve gotten awesome retention offers on this card for the past 2 years. We’ve written fairly extensively on this card, including:
- Middle Age Miles: One Year of Experimenting and Earning with the Citi AT&T Access More – What Earns 3x TYPs as Online Retail & Travel? (1/10/2019)
- Middle Age Miles: Did I Get an Awesome Retention Offer on My Citi AT&T Access More Card? Why yes. Yes, I did. (1/4/2019)
- Unfortunately, it’s no longer possible to product-change directly from the Citi AA Platinum to the AT&T Access More card. We’re in the process of trying a two-step product change to get another AT&T Access More card, though. We’ll report on the success or failure of that effort once the process is complete.
- When our second Citi AA Platinum card hit its one-year anniversary a few months ago, we product-changed to a no-fee ThankYou Rewards+ card. This has been a great change, as we were able to link the Rewards+ card to our existing ThankYou account, and we’ll get the 10% rebate on TYP redemptions until we hit the cap of 10,000 TYPs returned to us. That’s an easy score of $125 in value (at our baseline value of 1.25 cents per TYP) for a no-fee card. We’ve written about the product change and the success of our Rewards+ experiment here:
- Middle Age Miles: Citi AA Platinum Product Change Options – We Chose ThankYou Rewards+ (2/28/2019)
- Middle Age Miles: Citi ThankYou Rewards+ 10% Rebate Applies to All TYP Redemptions from Linked Account – Experiment Success! (4/29/2019)
- When our third Citi AA Platinum card hit its one-year anniversary recently, we decided to try a two-step product change to end up with another AT&T Access More card, as we discussed above.
- And as additional Citi AA Platinum cards hit their one-year anniversary, we have even more options we’ll consider for the product change, such as a no-fee Citi Double Cash card, or perhaps even a third AT&T Access More card.
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