Citi AAdvantage card deceitful marketing tactics

1 Jan

Arriving today in a shiny large envelop was an offer to “enjoy a better travel experience”, or rather an offer for the Citi American Airlines AAdvantage credit card, or rather an offer to go into debt.

This unoriginal offer features a bonus 50,000 miles for those who spend $3,000 in the first three months. Sound familiar? This truly is an unfeasible bonus that most credit card holders cannot nor should not achieve.AAdvantage Credit Deceives wtih Freebies

The card requires a $95 annual fee. But have no fear, this fee is waived for the first twelve months.

The reward amount is one mile per $1 spent, with the exception of some eligible American Airlines purchases, which then earn two miles per $1 spent. The offer, however, conveniently stated this in reverse order with some strategic bolding, making it seem as though you would earn two miles per $1 spent.

Credit card direct mail deceitful advertisement.

Direct mail advertisement image: Misleading bolded text causes consumers to wrongly conclude they’ll earn two miles per $1 spent on purchases.

So with a typical reward flight requiring 50,000 miles and the national average cost for a domestic U.S. flight in 2013 being $380, one would need to spend on average $12,500 on their credit card each year for four years to make the investment in the $95 annual fee worth it ($95 x 4 years = $380 = 1 flight = 50,000 miles = 12,500 miles x 4 years). But that’s just breaking even.

This credit card features various levels of Annual Percentage Rates (APR, 13.99%, 17.99% or 21.99%) based on creditworthiness. These rates are also tied to the market Prime Rate. The penalty rate for a late payment or a payment that is returned is 29.99% that applies INDEFINITELY.

If you really want to take that dream trip, I would instead recommend saving $50 per month for a year, which be $600 for a getaway. This gets you to your goal a much faster than four years with some money left for food and lodging.


One Response to “Citi AAdvantage card deceitful marketing tactics”

  1. Miles January 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    “This truly is an unfeasible bonus that most credit card holders cannot nor should not receive.”

    –That blanket statement is unfair and inaccurate. Many people spend $1,000/month on their credit card and pay their balances off in full each month, so it is not infeasible. Also, some people might have a large $3,000 purchase they’d like to make, and plan to pay it off over the course of 4 months. In either scenario, the consumer *should* receive that 50,000 mile bonus, and both scenarios are perfectly legitimate, responsible uses of a credit card.
    (And no, I don’t work for a credit card company. I just happen to like my mileage card.)

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