Peanut butter and chocolate. Pineapple and the grill. Oreos and milk. Bread and cheese. Apple pie and ice cream. These are all things that are good individually, but even better in a combo. As you might imagine, it’s no different in the world of frequent flyer mile credit cards. I’m going to tell you about the best combo in all of almost-free travel-dom. Are you ready?
Here it comes:
- Citi Platinum Select American AAdvantage, and
- Barclaycard US Airways World Mastercard
Why these two? And why together? Because they complement one another, of course… no different from the way the salty peanut butter just perfectly connects with the sweet chocolate.
The Citi Platinum Select card waives the $95 annual fee for the first year, but a $2000 minimum spending requirement. The Barclaycard US Airways card has no minimum spending requirement, but does charge the $89 annual fee the first year.
Wait, it’s about to get even better. Both offer a bonus of 50k miles for a total of 100k. Where US Airways is merging with AA, they will soon be the very same program. If that weren’t enough, the program, American AAdvantage, is hands-down the most efficient of all the major carriers – offering the most availablility for the lowest point amounts. We are talking Hawaii for 35k, most of Central and South America for 30k, and Europe for 40k!
And with the special feature of the Citi Platinum Select card’s handy little 10% point-kickback benefit, you can go ahead and shave 10% more off those already low rates. That really means your flights to Europe are about 36k miles each. Yes, these two cards alone are almost enough to get three round-trip flights to Europe. Take it from me, having just booked two 36k mile flights to Ireland.
There’s more. I can’t make any promises, but as a general rule, Barclaycard wants to check your Transunion credit score while Citi generally pulls from Experian or Equifax. This means you’re not compounding any effect on your credit score by applying for both.
We’re going to keep going. Of course it’s also nice to have both a Visa and a Mastercard at the ready, to say nothing of the free first checked bag on both US Airways and American Airlines. Oh, and how about Reduced Mileage Awards (saving 7500 points on some flights) with American. We’re starting to get trivial, now, but there’s even savings on in-flight purchases.
It’s just clear as day. There’s no better combination of travel reward cards available than these two together. Just about every other day I’m helping people see what amazing opportunities their American miles will bring them. I hope you’re filling your pockets with them, because I just can’t see this going on forever. At some point the merger will be complete and it won’t make sense to run two different credit card loyalty programs, but for now, we have to take AAdvantage.
The best way to compound your mile-accumulation is, of course, to get both of these cards for you and your spouse. With 200k AAdvantage miles, you’ll run out of vacation time long before you run out of almost-free travel. In the past four years, we have used AA miles to go to Colombia, Hawaii, Italy, and soon to Ireland. I lick my chops for whatever opportunity I can get to accumulate more.
Just to offer you a little taste… I’ve been planning our trip to Ireland and I want to show you some of the things we anticipate seeing.
As always, thanks for wanderlusting with us. Please tell us where your American AAdvantage miles are taking you.
When I follow the link, the citi platinum select is a MasterCard not a visa and it has a $95 annual fee (waived first year). Is this correct? Does it even matter? It still seems like the two go together.
Daris- Thanks for catching those items. I’ll get them fixed. The two are a great combo!
When is US Airways merging with AA? Thanks for the post Sheldon, this card will be our next trip to CR 🙂
It’s a great way to go, Lau. They’ve already merged the companies, but the loyalty point programs are merging in the second quarter of this year (April-June). You can already link the two accounts.
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just qualified for the citi card, they pulled from TransUnion. just fyi