Citi has reached out to let us know that existing AAdvantage Executive cardholders as of 3/31/20 and prior will receive a courtesy credit of $225 on renewal of their card. It’s nice to see an issuer other than Amex making an effort to compensate for benefits that can’t be used right now. Depending on when your card will renew (the later the better) and the number of authorized users on your account, this may be either a great deal or a useless gesture for you.
Here is the relevant info from the email we received from Citi:
At Citi, we are committed to ensuring that our credit card products continue to drive value for our customers throughout these unprecedented times. Given the impact of COVID-19 on travel and the temporary closure of Admirals Club lounges,we are notifying eligible Citi / AAdvantage Executive cardmembers who had an open account as of March 31, 2020 and prior that we will be issuing a one-time courtesy credit of $225 upon card renewal.Cardmembers will see the credit within two billing statements after the annual fee bills to their account. Citi, alongside our partner American Airlines, are looking forward to welcoming our cardmembers back to the Admirals Club lounges soon.
Given the fact that the annual fee on this card is $450, this one-time courtesy credit amounts to half off the annual fee for renewing. That sounds nice in theory, but given that the key benefit is Admirals Club membership and many of them are closed / limited, this may not be enough. It’s not Citi’s fault that the benefits of this card are more or less useless at the moment, but half off a useless benefit is still 100% too much.
Of course, if you have faith that Admirals Clubs will reopen soon and travel will resume normal schedules in the not-so-distant future, you may be enticed to keep the card, though that would be a hard sell for most in my opinion if renewal is due soon. As noted at the top, this might be a good deal for those customers with multiple people on their Executive account. The convenience of keeping the account versus having to open again the future may be one consideration and another might be the relative cost per member. Further, if your renewal date were in January, you’d have plenty of time between now and then to decide whether or not it’s worth renewing at half off. This feels like a somewhat weak gesture as compared with Amex, but some will find it a good fit.
Extensions for discount and companion certs
In addition to the news above, Citi has also announced that they are offering a 6-month extension on both flight discount certificates and companion certificates as follows:
In addition, we’re pleased to offer a 6-month extension to Flight Discount certificates with an expiration between March 31, 2020 and May 31, 2021 held by existing Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select cardmembers. Also, existing Citi / AAdvantage Business Platinum cardmembers who hold a companion certificate with an expiration date of December 31, 2020 will receive a 6-month extension, with these certificates expiring on June 30, 2021.
Those extensions make sense given the fact that cardholders have likely been unable to use those this year. Hopefully six months is enough time to make them useful.
It’s nice to see another issuer step forward and make an effort to do right by cardholders given the inability to use key benefits at the moment. In normal circumstances, a 50% discount on renewal would sound like an excellent offer. Given the current environment, I’d be less enthusiastic if renewal were imminent. On the other hand, if you’re an existing cardholder with a renewal date of December or later, you should have plenty of time to see whether or not things recover and you’d like to take them up on a discounted year. That could turn out to be a good deal if things turn around.