Citi AA 100,000 Bonus Miles and Barclay Arrival 40,000 Bonus Miles

My 2014 vacation currency project kicked off with two credit card approvals.
  • 40,000 Bonus miles (or $400 for redeem for travel expenses) from Barclay Arrival MasterCard after $3K spend in 3 months. 
  • 100,000 Bonus AA miles (Thanks to the Points Guy) from Citi AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard after $10K spend in 3 months, with $450 fee but $200 statement credit.  (Referral code and the airport code are not required)

Barclay approved the first one immediately (with a hard inquiry).  Citi required a simple call to 1-800-695-5171 to approve the application after they confirmed my full name.  There was a distraction during the Citi application process, because through my American Airlines account, it shows a public offer of Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage World MasterCard 50,000 bonus miles with first year fee waived and only $5K spending in 3 months.

(Whether you apply for 50,000 or 100,000 bonus miles promotion card, take a screenshot of the landing page, in case you need to refer to them with Citi customer care over any bonus points disputes).


Q1. What is special about the Barclay Arrival MasterCard?
  • Reward is 40,000 miles or $400 redeemed for travel expenses for the first $3000 spend.  
  • Barclay Arrival MasterCard is a good candidate to build credit history with Barclay, because all purchases are 2x.  Barclay also seems to be more aggressive now in credit card play.  They offer Hawaii Airlines Barclay personal and business cards.

Q2. What is special about the 100,000 AA bonus miles Citi AA credit card?
  • The 100,000 bonus miles will be useful to redeem business class tickets.  Currently, 67,500 AA miles is required for coach-class round-trip ticket between US and Taiwan.
  • The $450 card fee becomes $250 after the $200 statement credit.
  • The 100K promotion may end any time.  In contrast to United miles, American Airlines miles are harder to be earned without flying.  So this promotion is more valuable.

Q3. How to meet the $10,000 spending requirement?
  • The $10,000 minimum spending requirement can be met by purchasing twenty $500 MasterCard debit gift card from a grocery store with a $5.95 fee per card ($5.95 x 20 = $119), or pre-pay my utility & garbage bills for 6 years and 10 months ($250 per 2 months).  All these would require the card to be charged $10,000 in 3 months.  It is do-able, but undesirable.
  • Over the last couple months, I looked into our household spending patterns and large bills due dates, and experimented ways to burn off Visa/MasterCard/American Express debit gift cards, following methods published by credit card professionals.  To meet the $10K spending requirement should be do-able.

Credit card company reserves the rights not to give out award miles if they consider there are abuses.  If you are cash-strapped, or can not afford $1000 monthly expense, I would NOT recommend this Citi AA credit card with $10K minimum spending.  A reminder to myself: 

Do not apply for a credit card if I worry about meeting spending requirement.

Q4. Would my card applications to be approved for sure, provided my FICO score is in the excellent range?

Our experience is, not likely if ...
  1. You have applied for personal credit card(s) within the last 90 days. (90 days gap is recommended for frequent card applicants)
  2. Your total credit limit is max, so the bank can not approve more credits or swap credits.
  3. You plan to apply another Barclay credit card at the same time. (Barclay's rule)
  4. Or, you plan to apply another Citi credit card at the same time. (Citi's rule)
If you are interested to experience credit card rewards,  apply for the Barclay Arrival MasterCard with 40,000 bonus miles if none of these four scenarios match.

Q5. If credit card bonus miles are so good, why would not I apply for more credit cards?

The high spending requirement and little extra credit rooms available for my profile stop me to apply more.  This is my first time to meet a $10,000 spending requirement (or $11K including Barclay) in 3 months, and first time to have more than eight active credit cards.  I never had 10 active credit cards in the past. I like to build up my active credit card holding capacity.  If you don't feel comfortable to apply more cards, then you may be right.  Trust your hunch.

Hope you have fun to earn your vacation currency.

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