Full Review of Citi AAdvantage MileUp Credit Card
Higher rewards on groceries and American Airlines purchases
25% discount on inflight food and beverage purchases
Valuable one-time offer
Limited travel benefits
3% foreign transaction fee
No free checked bags
- Higher Rewards on Groceries and American Airlines Purchases: Co-branded airline credit cards typically offer a higher rewards rate on purchases made through the airline. But with the Citi AAdvantage MileUp card, cardholders earn 2 miles per $1 spent on groceries as well as eligible American Airlines purchases. You also earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Being able to earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend at grocery stores isn’t a common benefit of an airline card without an annual fee. If you spend a substantial amount of money on groceries, rewards miles can quickly add up.
- 25% Discount on Inflight Food and Beverage Purchases: When you use this card on American Airlines flights, you get a 25% discount on inflight food and beverages. So spending $20 on snacks and a drink—not too difficult—will yield a $5 price reduction.
- Valuable One-Time Offer: When you sign up for the Citi AAdvantage MileUp card, you can earn 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit if you spend at least $500 within the first three months of opening an account. The 10,000-mile bonus gives you enough miles to pay for a domestic flight in the continental U.S., assuming you’re able to book an AAdvantage MilesAAver flight.
- Limited Travel Benefits: The AAdvantage MileUp card's benefits are fairly barebones relative to other co-branded airline cards. With most cards, you can typically expect perks like airport lounge access, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and priority boarding. But the AAdvantage MileUp card doesn’t offer any of these three common travel benefits. Even if you want to avoid paying an annual fee, you can find another card with more benefits elsewhere. For example, the Chase United Explorer card waives 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, which is widely accepted internationally. However, this card does charge a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each purchase in U.S. dollars when you travel outside of the United States. Foreign transaction fees can add up over the course of a vacation. If you often travel abroad, you’re better off applying for a card that doesn't charge this fee, like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card.
- No Free Checked Bags: The most standard benefit of co-branded airline cards is at least one free checked bag per flight. This card doesn't offer this benefit. Depending on the ticket class you book, you may have to pay the normal fee—$30 for the first bag on domestic flights, each way—to check bags every time you fly. If you typically check luggage rather than just relying on a carry-on, consider 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.
This Card is Best For
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
The Citi AAdvantage MileUp card is a good option for new credit card users looking for a travel rewards card. It has no annual fee, so you don’t have to worry about earning enough rewards to justify its cost, and you can earn valuable miles on both groceries and American Airlines purchases.
However, its other benefits are very minimal. If you travel often, you're likely better off with a more robust card. For example, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard offers one free checked bag, preferred boarding, and a $125 American Airlines flight discount. It does have a $99 annual fee, but that’s waived for the first 12 months.
Citi AAdvantage Mileup Credit Card Bonus
With the Citi AAdvantage MileUp card, you earn 10,000 miles and receive a $50 statement credit if you spend $500 within the first three months of opening an account.
That’s an easily achievable bonus, and it gives you enough miles to cover the cost of a domestic AAdvantage MilesAAver flight in the continental U.S. If you use your card only for essentials like groceries and gas, you can quickly hit the $500 threshold and qualify for the bonus.
Rewards Earning Details
With this card, you earn:
- 2 miles per $1 spent at grocery stores
- 2 miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
For the grocery store category, eligible locations include supermarkets, bakeries, and convenience stores. Purchases at superstores or warehouse stores like Walmart or Costco do not qualify, nor do purchases at cafes or fast food restaurants.
There's no limit to how many miles you can earn. Your miles will not expire as long as you earn or redeem miles on American Airlines or a partner airline at least once every 18 months.
Rewards Redemption Details
You can redeem your miles for award flights on American Airlines to over 1,000 destinations across the globe. You can also redeem them for business or first class upgrades, car rentals, hotel stays, or vacation packages.
Domestic award flights start at 7,500 miles with AAdvantage MilesAAver reservations—that's enough to cover the cost of a short flight from New York to Atlanta. If you earn miles at grocery stores or on American Airlines purchases—at the 2 miles per $1 spent rate—you'll have enough for a domestic award flight after spending $3,250.
Cardholders aren't limited to redeeming miles for flights on American Airlines. AAdvantage miles can be used to book flights on other OneWorld partner airlines—airline partners include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Alaska Airlines, and Interjet.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Because this card doesn't have an annual fee, so it can be easy to keep in your wallet and use to earn miles with each purchase while minimizing your cost, assuming you don’t carry or transfer a balance or incur any penalty fees. So, as long as you pay off your statement balance in full each month, you can earn valuable American Airlines miles from your normal spending and pay nothing for the privilege.
To get the most value from this card, use it to pay for groceries and American Airlines purchases so you earn 2 miles for every $1 spent.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends $4,464 on food consumed at home in a year. If you used your card to pay for that full amount, you’d earn 8,928 miles—enough for a domestic AAdvantage MilesAAver flight.
Citi AAdvantage MileUp's Outstanding Benefits
Citi AAdvantage MileUp cardholders have access to Citi Concierge, a service 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.
You can contact the concierge for help with dining, travel, and shopping needs at 800-508-8930 or email@example.com.
- Digital wallet: Your card can easily sync with mobile wallets like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay.
- Contactless pay: You can tap your card on a payment reader when you shop.
In terms of customer service, Citi ranked sixth out of 11 card issuers in the J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It had a ranking of 799, which is just below the national issuer average of 806.
You can contact customer service 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.
Cardholders are protected by standard security features like zero liability on unauthorized charges and fraud alerts.
If you prefer to fly on American Airlines and are new to the world of airline credit cards, the AAdvantage MileUp card is a good entry level option. It has no annual fee, so you earn miles toward award flights without paying a fee to carry the card. And, you earn extra rewards on groceries and American Airlines purchases.
However, this card's benefits are minimal. If you're a frequent traveler 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.