The No Annual Fee American Card May Now Be The Best – And Make Sense To Spend On

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The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card offers 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in purchases within the first three months after account opening. That’s not a huge up front bonus, but it’s a no annual fee card that doesn’t get a lot of attention.

For elite AAdvantage members, I think changes to how status is earned at American Airlines beginning next year mean that this card makes more sense than ever. It makes more sense than the main consumer AAdvantage card with its $99 annual fee. And it finally makes sense to spend on the card, too.

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card earns 2 miles per dollar on eligible American Airlines purchases and at grocery stores and 1 full mile per dollar everywhere else. Gone are the days where no annual fee cobrands earn just half a mile per dollar, and this even has strong earn for grocery spend.

There are two basic contentions,

  • Loyalty points mean spend on an American card matters for those with elite status. You earn one loyalty point per dollar spent on a cobrand credit card, and loyalty points are how status is earned. Loyalty points also matter for upgrade priority.

  • Elite frequent flyers have no good reason to go for the primary consumer card with its annual fee, since the benefits (free checked bags, earlier boarding) duplicate elite benefits.
  • That means the card that makes the most sense to carry is either,

    • The Citi Executive card if you want to bundle buying Admirals Club access
    • The MileUp card because you’ll earn loyalty points for your spend without an annual fee at all

    The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card gives you mileage-earning for you card spend without the annual fee. And the benefits on the more expensive mass consumer card don’t really accrue to an elite in a meaningful way anyway. So why spend the annual fee? Go with MileUp for Loyalty Points earning.

    CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® Earn 65,000 AAdvantage miles.

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