Citi AAdvantage MileUp App Review 2021: Best Travel Rewards Credit Card?

Citi-AAdvantage-MileUp-App-Review

Who wouldn’t love to receive bonuses while they go about their regular grocery shopping?! Bonuses that could pay for your next flight. A review of the Citi AAdvantage MileUp app revealed this possibility to me.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends $4,464 on food consumed at home in a year. If you use your card to pay for that full amount, you’d earn 8,928 miles—enough for a domestic AAdvantage MilesAAver flight. 

This objective review will throw some light on the pros, and cons of the Citi AAdvantage MileUp app.

What Are The Pros Of The Citi AAdvantage MileUp?

  • Higher rewards on groceries and American Airlines purchases
  • 25% discount on inflight food and beverage purchases
  • Valuable one-time offer
  • No annual fee

Higher Rewards on Groceries and American Airlines Purchases

Usually, co-branded airline credit cards offer higher rewards rate on things you buy through the airline. However, with the Citi AAdvantage MileUp card, you earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on other groceries as a cardholder.

Also, you get 1 mile for every $1 you spend on other purchases. For free annual fees from an airline card, earning 2 miles on every dollar you spend is a big feat. The more you spend on groceries, the more reward on miles you gain.

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25% Discount On Inflight Food And Beverage Purchases

You get a 25% discount on inflight food and beverages when you use the Citi AAdvantage MileUp app on American airlines flights. This means that if you spend about $20 on food and drinks, you’ll receive a $5 reduction in price.

Valuable One-Time Offer

When you sign up for the Citi AAdvantage MileUp card, you stand a chance to earn 10,000 miles. This bonus gives you enough miles to pay for a domestic flight in the continental US. This is if you can book an AAdvantage MilesAAver flight.

You can also get a $50 statement credit if you spend a minimum of $500 within the first three months of opening that account.  

No Annual Fee

There are only a few of the regular airline cards that don’t charge an annual fee. This MileUp app review shows that the Citi AAdvantage mile up is one of the few.

When cards come with an annual fee, there’s the need to recoup the money spent with rewards or benefits. This is a particularly good feature for persons new to the frequent flyer program.

What Are The Cons Of The Citi AAdvantage MileUp?

  • Limited travel benefits
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • No Free Checked Bags

 Limited Travel Benefits

With most cards, you naturally expect bonuses like a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, airport lounge access, and priority boarding. However, the AAdvantage MileUp card’s benefits are more or less basic compared to other co-branded airline cards.

They don’t offer any of these three common travel benefits. If you really want to avoid paying an annual fee, find another card with more benefits.

For example, the Chase United Explorer card ignores the $95 annual fee for the first year and includes perks like a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit every five years, priority boarding, and United Club passes.

3% Foreign Transaction Fee

The Citi AAdvantage MileUp card is a Mastercard, that is generally accepted worldwide. However, this card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each purchase in U.S. dollars when you travel outside of the United States.

There are several credit cards including non-travel cards that don’t charge you for buying stuff in a foreign currency, so the 3% fee on this card is a real downside.

 If you travel abroad often, you’ll want another card in your wallet that doesn’t charge this fee, like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card.

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No Free Checked Bags

The most standard perk of co-branded airline cards is at least one free checked bag per flight. However, most typical airline cards with no annual fee don’t provide these travel perks, and the Citi AAdvantage MileUp app is no exception.

Depending on the ticket class you book, you may have to pay the normal fee of $30 for the first bag on domestic flights.

If you usually check luggage instead of just relying on a carry-on, try signing up for a card like the Gold Delta Skymiles card from American Express.

 It has no annual fee for the first year, and your first checked bag is free on domestic Delta flights.

What Are The Citi AAdvantage MileUp Credit Card Bonuses?

This MileUp app review shows that the Citi AAdvantage MileUp app offers a 10,000 miles bonus and a $50 statement credit if you spend $500 in the first three months of opening that account.

The prerequisite for the bonus is easily attainable if you use your card only for essentials like groceries and gas. Hitting the $500 mark is achievable to qualify you for the bonus. It gives you enough miles to cover the cost of a domestic AAdvantage MilesAAver flight in the continental U.S.

What Are The Reward Earnings?

With the Citi AAdvantage MileUp card, you earn:

  • 2 miles on every $1 you spend at grocery stores
  • 2 miles on every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per $1 you spend on all other purchases.

There are particular locations where the grocery store category is applicable. Locations like supermarkets, bakeries, and convenience stores are eligible. However, purchases at warehouse or superstores like Walmart or Costco are not.

There is a limitless number of miles you can earn. As long as you earn or redeem miles on American Airlines or a partner airline at least once every 18 months, your miles will not expire.

How Do I Go About Redeeming The Rewards?

You can redeem your miles for award flights on American Airlines at over 1,000 locations across the globe. You can also redeem them for car rentals, hotel stays, business or first-class upgrades, or vacation packages.

Local award flights start at 7,500 miles with AAdvantage MilesAAver reservations. This is enough to cover the cost of a short flight from say, New York to Atlanta.

If you receive miles at grocery stores or on American Airlines purchases at the 2 miles per $1 spent rate, you’ll have miles for a domestic award flight after spending $3,750.

Do I Have To Redeem The Aadvantage Miles Only On American Airlines?

As a cardholder don’t have to redeem your gained miles for a flight on only American Airlines. AAdvantage miles can book flights on other OneWorld partner airlines.

These include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Alaska Airlines, and Interjet.

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How Do I  Maximize the Citi AAdvantage MileUp Rewards?

To maximize the value from this card, use it to pay for groceries and American Airlines purchases so you earn 2 miles for every $1 spent.

Since this card doesn’t have an annual fee, it is effortless to have in your wallet and use it to earn miles with each purchase while reducing your cost. That is if you don’t carry or transfer a balance or incur any penalty fees.

So, pay off your statement balance in full each month. This way, you can earn valued American Airlines miles from your regular spending and pay nothing extra for the privilege.

What Are The Citi AAdvantage MileUp’s Outstanding Benefits?

The access to Citi Concierge is yet another outstanding benefit Citi AAdvantage MileUp cardholders enjoy. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The concierge can help secure restaurant reservations at in-demand hotspots, or even help find a gift for a friend or loved one.

Amazing right?!

You can reach the concierge for help with dining, travel, and shopping needs at 800-508-8930 or concierge@yourconciergecenter.com.

What Are The Normal Benefits Of The Citi AAdvantage MileUp?

The review of the Citi AAdvantage MileUp app shows cardholders get a digital wallet. This means that your card can easily sync with mobile wallets like Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay.

It also offers contactless pay so you can tap your card on a payment reader when you shop.

How Is The Cardholder Experience?

J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Review shows that the customer service of Citi AAdvantage MileUp app ranks sixth out of 11 card issuers. It had a ranking of 799, which is just below the national issuer average of 806. 

The customer service can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can reach customer support by logging into your account and chatting through a secure platform or by calling 800-950-5114.

What Are The Security Features Of The Citi AAdvantage MileUp?

Standard security features like zero liability for unauthorized charges and fraud alerts, help to protect cardholders of the Citi AAdvantage MileUp.

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Final Verdict

If you like to fly on American Airlines and are new to the world of airline credit cards, the AAdvantage MileUp card is a good option. Plus, you earn extra rewards on groceries and American Airlines purchases.

Also, given its free annual fee and its earnings rate on flights and groceries, the Citi AAdvantage MileUp Card may be tempting to casual or infrequent travellers looking for a low-cost way to rack up AAdvantage miles.

However, this review of the Citi AAdvantage MileUp app shows its benefits are minimal. If you’re a frequent traveller looking for more perks like airport lounge access or free checked bags, another airline credit card offering those benefits will be more cost-effective in the long run.

Equally, if you travel round-trip more than once a year on American Airlines and typically check a bag, you’ll likely get greater value from a card that offers airline perks for an annual fee.

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