Citi AAdvantage MileUp Card Review

By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

American Airlines, in partnership with Citi, offers a no annual fee credit card called the AAdvantage MileUp Card as part of its lineup of AA credit cards. Is the MileUp Card right for you? Or for anyone really?

Rewards Formula

The AAdvantage MileUp Card offers the following rewards:

  • 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases
  • 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar on grocery store purchases (but not grocery purchases at warehouse club stores)
  • 1 AAdvantage mile per dollar on all other purchases

Bonus Opportunity

You can earn 10,000 AAdvantage miles plus a $50 statement credit if you spend at least $500 with the card in the first three months, a threshold that most new cardholders can probably meet without too much difficulty.

Rates & Fees:

  • As mentioned above, this card does NOT charge an annual fee.
  • The everyday purchase interest rate for the card could be anywhere from 15.99% to 24.99% depending on your credit history. (You’ll find out what rate you get only when you’re approved.)
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%. (This means you’ll pay an extra 3% on top of the purchase price when you make a purchase outside of the United States. Charging this fee on a travel card is unfortunate, but not surprising on a card with no annual fee. The AAdvantage credit cards that have annual fees do not charge a foreign transaction fee.)


Other Notes:

  • Like other AAdvantage cards, the MileUp card also gives you a 25% discount on in-flight purchases of food and beverages on American Airlines.
  • For 2021, the Elite Qualifying Dollar requirement to qualify for AAdvantage Gold, Platinum or Platinum Pro status will be waived if you spend $30,000 on purchases with this card or any eligible Citi / AAdvantage credit card.

What You Don’t Get:

Airline credit cards that have annual fees commonly give the following perks that you will NOT get with the MileUp card:

  • You will NOT get your first bag checked for free on American Airlines flights.
  • You will NOT get priority boarding as a cardholder.

The Verdict

While the AAdvantage MileUp Card offers decent rewards for a no annual fee card, it’s difficult to get excited about it.

It does make sense from the perspective of Citi and American Airlines. After all, certain other airlines offer no annual fee cards and this card allows American to hit every market segment — some people won’t pay an annual fee under any circumstances, so this gives American an option to offer those customers.

However, from your perspective, this card makes less sense. Here’s why:

  • If you don’t regularly travel on American Airlines, you’re getting a card that will require significant spending to get you to enough miles to earn a reward. Further, you could actually earn more in terms of actual value by getting a simple, top-of-the-line cash back card instead, such as the Citi Double Cash which offers 2% cash back on every purchase.
  • If you do travel often on American Airlines, or if you spend a lot with your credit cards, you’d be better off with the AAdvantage Platinum Card, which has a $99 annual fee (but $0 for the first year) and significantly increased benefits.

Citi and American Airlines no doubt do find takers for this card, especially when it is marketed next to their other cards that have annual fees. However, for the wise credit card customer surveying the full landscape of opportunities on the market, it’s difficult to make a case for the MileUp Card as a card to pursue.