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New Citi/AA airline credit card offers "chip and PIN" plus elite perks

By , CardRatings contributor
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Citi Cards and American Airlines offer unprecedented benefits and a "chip and PIN" option to lure elite travelers to their latest airline credit card.

Travel rewards and perks

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® builds on the 24-year relationship between Citi and American Airlines, while promising extended compatibility with European merchants' point-of-sale terminals. Following a trend among top travel reward credit cards, the new Citi credit card drops foreign transaction fees.The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® adds other member perks and incentives, such as:

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Admirals Club® membership for you with guest privileges
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® Lounge access for authorized users
  • 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles form American Airlines after $40,000 spent on purchases every calendar year (January through December billing statement)
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation

Experience-focused rewards

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® also includes access to Citi's new "Private Pass" program, offering exclusive events, ticket pre-sales, and VIP experiences for elite cardholders. Private Pass mirrors some of the experience-focused rewards offered by American Express and Discover, leveraging relationships with sports, entertainment, and cultural organizations to connect cardholders to artists and other public figures at private events throughout the year.

Citi joins a handful of American banks offering "chip and PIN" compatible credit cards for its best customers. European merchants have already started phasing out magnetic stripe readers in favor of credit card terminals that read EMV chips and require personal identification numbers.

Fraud protection

Adding PINs to credit card transactions has significantly reduced the risk of credit card fraud, especially in parts of Europe where pickpocketing and card "skimming" have become common. American business travelers have reported frustrating experiences trying to use U.S.-issued credit cards outside of major city centers like London, Paris and Rome.

Citi officials told reporters that Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® cardholders would gain access to EMV-enabled cards by the end of 2011.

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