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Some Simple AA Credit Card Mistakes You Probably Know to Avoid

Update: Literally 5 minutes after I posted this, I got an e-mail from AAdvantage saying programs would start combine on March 28 (though no real details).

Most are savvy enough to have avoided these mistakes, but for relative newcomers here are a few reminders. Currently, you can get 100,000 AAdvantage miles pretty quickly with two credit card sign ups: the Barclays US Air card and the Citi AA Platinum card.

The theory is simple – sign up for the Barclays US Air card and get 50,000 US Air miles after first purchase ($89 annual fee not waived). Sign up for the Citi AA Platinum card and get 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3000 in three months. Once the programs merge (imminently!), you’ll have 103,000 AA miles, 7000 short of flying round trip to Hong Kong in Cathay business.

Guess I've got too many of these
Guess I’ve got too many of these

The problem is, if you’ve been in this game a lot, getting that Barclays approval is tough. Read some theories on how to improve your chances from Chasing the Points and Miles to Memories, then read about my unsuccessful attempt (I applied before I read either of those posts).

I made quite a few mistakes when I applied for my US Air card. For starters, I was applying for my third card. I knew it’d be a long shot but I hadn’t applied for a Barclays’ card for over six months so I figured it was worth a try. Barclays is all about the instant approval – if you have to call reconsideration you’re dead in the water more often than not. Especially if you’re going for your third card of the same product (and fourth overall). I applied and got the dreaded “pending” page, and pretty much was dead from there.

Let it be said that people have had success getting approved for a third card instantly, as I was informed on Twitter. Not me though.

Well, I realize now I could have improved my chances by lowering my credit limit on one of my other cards. (Those guys didn’t, but I could have improved my chances if I had).

Other mistakes not to make are not using your card or applying more than once every six months – but Miles to Memories more or less has that stuff covered so I’ll leave it there.

After I finally got my rejection letter I called in – they specifically told me they wouldn’t give me a third card. I didn’t push it too hard, win some, lose some. I figured an easy 50K with no work was worth a hard pull on my Transunion score which never gets dinged (except by Barclays).

Applying for the Citi AA Platinum is a bit more straightforward. Nowadays, it seems like Citi won’t approve you for the card if you have opened or closed another AA Platinum card within the last 18 months – so you can screw that up easily if you don’t get your timing right.

They've redone the look of the Citi AA Platinum Select card, but you still can't get a new one if you opened or closed one 18 months ago
They’ve redone the look of the Citi AA Platinum Select card, but you still can’t get a new one if you opened or closed one 18 months ago

Best practice is probably to open a card, get the 50K bonus, keep for 18 months, open a new card (Citi is great about moving credit lines around as long as you’re not breaking their arbitrary time rules), then close the old one (or keep it forever). That way you can get a new card every 18-19 months or so. I haven’t tried it personally but that’s what makes most sense to me (let me know in the comments if you’ve been successful or otherwise with something like this).

Note the verbiage in the fine print
Note the verbiage in the fine print

One thing to note for the truly new players in the game: a buddy of mine applied for the Citi AA card but didn’t have an AAdvantage account yet. Currently he’s not sure where his miles are. Theoretically, AA should have opened an account for him but if they did he can’t find it – he also opened his own AAdvantage account after getting the card. Anyway, I think it’s just simpler to enroll in AAdvantage first and then apply for the card.

AAdvantage miles are still some of the best miles out there – get them while they’re still hot! Just make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s along the way.

Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

10 thoughts on “Some Simple AA Credit Card Mistakes You Probably Know to Avoid

  1. I did the same thing your buddy did, got an AA card before opening an account. Citi opened one for me, gave me the number over the phone, and even sent me an additional card with my AA number printed on top of it.

  2. Can you get a 2nd Citi AA card when you have one already? I keep getting rejected for a Citi AA Business card and being told that, I’ve had the card and closed it in the past. So, now I’ve given up on the business card. My personal card I got in 7/13 so that’s more than 18 months. But, I don’t want to close it unless I can get another.

    1. So I have 3 Citi AAs, but that was from the past. Supposedly you can get a new card if you haven’t opened or closed in 18 months (the fine print I screenshotted). But I haven’t tried it personally yet (planning to in a few months). Anyone else?

      1. In addition to the 3 USAirways Mastercards I bagged, I also applied and was approved for my second AA Citi card. I opened my first in 2004 though.

  3. I’m on the fence after last night with Citi cards. I have 1 open Citi Exec, I had 2 when we could get them like candy last summer, I eventually closed 1 of them after 3 months. Last night I was on the phone with AA booking a complicated award flight when the agent said that I could qualify for another Citi card, ‘would you like for me to transfer you?’ she asked. I said sure, why not.
    The Citi agent thought I could probably get a Business version of their card, $3k min spend in 3 months and a $95 annual fee. After about 20 minutes of being on that call she put the application forward. *EEEEHHH* Not automatically approved. I have a Chase Ink AND Amex Gold Business so why wouldn’t I get the Citi, I thought?
    This was after normal business hours, I got another agent on the phone, she kept telling me it was due to delinquent payments. I’m certain all of my cards have been on auto pay since well, birth. She couldn’t get her India/English to work very well so she transferred me to ahem, Supervisor. Again with the delinquent payments. After now nearly an hour of being on the phone I had it. I told the ‘supervisor’ I don’t know how this is at all possible, after all, my credit score is great and enough to get a recent increase from Citi on my Exec card another $4k!
    I was so frustrated that I said I would be closing all my cards with them due to this 1 call and hung up!

      1. I called again yesterday mid day, hoping to get a better understanding on what I was told yesterday. I wasn’t so concerned that I wasn’t approved more than what they told me so I wanted clarity there. The agent explained that I had a recent application (less than 18 months old) that was the reason I wasn’t approved, it had nothing to do with delinquent payments.
        I currently only have 1 Citi Exec card open, it’s only benefit to me would be lounge access which I really don’t bother with when flying domestic mostly because I typically don’t have time between connections and I don’t like getting to the airport super early if I can help it. Once my Barclay Card switches over from USAirways to AAviator I’ll probably downgrade the Citi card, it’s too expensive!

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