American Airlines, Banking (to earn miles), Citi

Citi Plans an American Airlines Banking Account – But….

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According to CNBC, Citi is planning to finally launch a bank account for Citi AAdvantage credit card holders in states where Citi has no physical presence. It will supposedly be high-yield (that could mean anything for Citi) and there will be a bonus of up to 50,000 miles for establishing the account. They will also apparently bonus your Citi AAdvantage credit card spending by 25% on up to $50,000 in spend.

I actually wrote about this all the way back in May of 2018.

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And if these are the final details, I’m a bit sad on the missed opportunity here.

Citi’s Planned American AAdvantage Online Banking Account

Citi buys miles from American Airlines so they can entice their credit card customers that are loyal to AAdvantage to also be loyal to Citi. They don’t allow you to transfer from Citi ThankYou to AAdvantage, meaning that if you truly want to accrue AA miles from credit card spending, your options are limited to the Citi AAdvantage cards, the Barclays AAdvantage cards, and transfers from Marriott Bonvoy.

With this new account, though, it sounds like a huge way to squander what could be a truly great chance to gain bank deposits – presumably the goal.

1) Why limit this to areas without a Citi branch? That stymies me right off the bat. Why launch a product and then tell people most “sticky” to Citi – those with branches – they can’t join the fun?

2) Why only have a “signup bonus” of AAdvantage miles? Why not do what Bank Direct already does and award AA miles for the balance? Citi could reduce the savings yield commensurately with the award of miles, allowing them to differentiate the account substantially from any other major bank.

As well, the 25% bonus on the credit card spend is nice, but still would only equate to 1.25 miles per dollar on most spend. That said, I do think that could make the credit card more compelling to some customers so I like that move.

What do you think of this?

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