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Marriott has dual issuers – Chase and American Express – but they carve up which kind of customers each goes after. They also have a system to keep legacy customers from one issuer from getting initial bonus offers from the other issuer. For instance, a Chase Marriott business card customer can’t get a bonus for an American Express Marriott business card.
That was a surprise – both that the issuers became aligned in sharing this information but also that they got the tech done to make it happen. I have to imagine that Marriott is funding enough of the up front bonuses that they pushed for this. (A bank and travel partner are incentivized together to draw in new customers, it isn’t always the bank that is just buying points to pay for up front bonuses.)
There’s no arrangement of the sort with American Airlines and its two issuers, Citibank and Barclays. With two issuers that’s double the card opportunities, and double the bonus offers.
- Barclays markets their cards inflight and in-airport (but not within 100 feet of an Admirals Club)
- Citibank markets their cards everywhere else
They divide up territory rather than customers. Both Citi and Barclays have personal and small business cards. American Airlines flight attendants used to regularly announce inflight that passengers could get the card they were offering (from Barclays) even if they already had a card from Citi.
American Airlines Business Class
I like especially that there are two business cards. These cards do not add to your Chase 5/24 total making them strategically an easy decision to apply for.
- The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® has a 70,000 mile initial bonus offer (after $4000 spend within 4 months of account opening) and $0 annual fee the first year (then $99).
- The AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard® has a 65,000 mile initial offer after $1000 spend within 90 days plus another 10,000 miles if you add an employee card within 30 days and it makes a purchase within 90 days. The card has a $95 annual fee, including in the first year
I’ve had both of these cards within the past year. This is especially useful because there’s no longer a great way to earn miles through another credit card and transfer those miles to American. And for all of my criticisms, there’s no mileage currency I wind up spending more often than my AAdvantage miles.
I like that the annual fee is $0 the first year for the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® and that you don’t need to get two cards to earn the full bonus as with the Barclays product, so I think it’s the better play if you’re only going for one.
Cathay Pacific First Class
Negotiations are already underway for the next American Airlines co-brand card agreement. Since the deal with Barclays and Citi was done, they’ve seen what Chase, American Express and Marriott have done. If they take this as inspiration it may not be as easy to get up front bonuses for all the American cards in the future.