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 Executive / AAdvantage 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 Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard adds other member perks and incentives, such as:

  • Membership with access to nearly 40 AA's Admirals Club airport lounge network (some conditions apply)
  • Executive concierge services
  • Your first checked bag per flight is free
  • Double AAdvantage miles on eligible AA purchases, plus one mile for every dollar spent on other purchases
  • 10,000 AAdvantage Elite Qualifying Miles after $40,000 in annual spending
  • No mileage earning cap

Experience-focused rewards

The Citi Executive / AAdvantage 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 Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard cardholders would gain access to EMV-enabled cards by the end of 2011.


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