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Citi, Chase launch new travel rewards cards as competition heats up

by Peter Andrew
Citi, Chase launch new travel rewards cards as competition heats up

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers have expired and are no longer available.

Given some of the really quite rude things that he often says about banks and card issuers, you probably won’t be too shocked to learn that your blogger doesn’t have a single friend working for any of America’s credit card companies. So the mental picture he has of the scene in JPMorgan Chase’s marketing department on Monday morning is based entirely on speculation, and perhaps a little wishful thinking.

Chase executives must have spent months working with people at United Airlines to develop the new United MileagePlus® Explorer Card. And they must have been both pleased with the product they’d come up with (see below), and excited about its forthcoming launch.

Then the Monday morning bombshell: at 08:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Citi Cards and American Airlines launched a directly competing credit card. Imagine the scene at Chase: the panic, the tears, the recriminations. You’d have paid good money for a live video feed.

Of course, the executives who run credit card companies are made of stern stuff, and 23 hours, 30 minutes after Citi’s launch, Chase unveiled its new product.

Credit card from Citi and American Airlines

Citi may have stolen a march on Chase over its launch date, but it’s unlikely to win many prizes for the snappiness of its new product’s service-mark-laden name: The Citi ExecutiveSM / AAdvantage® World EliteTM MasterCard®. And, although the new credit card offers loads of tempting features and services, its $450 annual fee alone means that it’s unlikely to have mass appeal. For the benefit of those to whom $450 is a mere trifle, here are seven of the most attractive benefits it could offer you:

  1. Unlimited access to Admirals Club® airport lounges for you and your immediate family, or for two guests if you’re flying with friends or colleagues
  2. Priority check-in, security screening and boarding
  3. Your first checked bag flies free
  4. No foreign transaction fees on purchases
  5. Concierge service
  6. 25,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on the card during your first four months as a cardholder
  7. 10,000 American Airlines Elite Qualifying Miles when you spend $40,000 on the card in any one calendar year

Credit card from Chase and United

The new Chase credit card offers some similar benefits to the Citi product, though generally on a smaller scale. But then, with only a $95 annual fee (waived for the first year), you might expect that. So here are some of its key benefits and differences:

  1. No restrictions or blackout dates: if United is selling a seat, you can redeem points to book it
  2. Priority boarding–but not the check-in and airport-screening privileges that Citi offers.
  3. Vouchers for United airport club lounges, but not unlimited access
  4. Similar “first checked bag flies free” deal
  5. Up to 30,000 bonus miles for credit card use and adding an authorized user within your first two months as a cardholder
  6. Another 10,000 bonus miles if you spend $25,000 on your card in your first or any subsequent calendar year

Credit card rewards and small print

In common with every card issuer, Chase and Citi are likely to qualify these headline offers with plenty of small print, so be sure you read it before signing up for either of these new cards. In fact, it’s a golden rule to read the details of all card offers, and especially those surrounding credit card rewards programs, before you make an application.

Disclaimer:The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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