Citibank discontinuing AAdvantage checking debit card

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Citibank AAdvantage Debit Card, see my post about banking with UFB Direct.

(Update: Even Megan McArdle, the senior editor for The Atlantic, is unhappy that Citibank is discontinuing the AAdvantage Debit card. And while people aren’t taking to the streets over the issue, someone decided to start a Facebook page in an effort to save the card.)

New Federal Reserve regulations take effect October 1 limiting the fees that banks charge retailers for processing debit card transactions. As a result, Citibank has decided to discontinue the AAdvantage debit card:

After December 9, 2011, Citibank will no longer offer the Citibank AAdvantage debit card rewards program. Here are some other important things you need to know:

• You will retain the American Airlines AAdvantage miles you’ve already earned, provided that once every 18 months you: (i) redeem AAdvantage miles; (ii) earn them on Amerian Airlines, American Eagle, or the AmericanConnection carrier; or (iii) earn AAdvantage miles with an AAdvantage participant.

• In November, you will be sent a new debit card to replace your existing Citbank AAdvantage debit card. However, this will not impact the debit rewards you earn through December 8, 2011. Your debit card number and PIN will not change

• Customer who paid the Citibank AAdvantage debit card rewareds program annual fee will receive a prorated credit to the checking account in December based on when the fee was paid.

I use both my Citibank AAdvantage debit card and my Citi AAdvantage credit card to earn miles. While I can still earn miles with my credit card, I like also having a mileage earning mechanism associated with my checking account, so I’m disappointed to see it going away.

So now it looks like the only option for earning miles with your checking account is to open an account with Bank Direct. I’ve been planning to open a Bank Direct account to take advantage (no pun intended) of their 21,000 bonus AA miles offer, but just haven’t had the time to do it yet, so now I’ve got another incentive to make the move.


    • The banks are all pretty much evil. They airline industry is lucky in that no matter how bad their customer service levels may be or how many fees they introduce, they can always claim that at least they’re better than the banks:-)

  1. BankDirect is far from the only option. There is both the USAir check card from BOA and also the Delta check card from Suntrust.

  2. Following Senator Durbin’s ammendment to Dodd Franks that pretty much guarenteed a loss on debit reward programs for the banks, why does it come as a surprise that banks would stop offering them?

    This is another example of legislation to fix what wasn’t broke in the first place. Still waiting to see the promised discounts from the windfall given to merchants. (Not holding my breath) Thank you Sen Durbin!

  3. I don’t see how banks are “evil” for doing this. Do you think stores are evil if they stop carrying a product or service to cover their bottom line due to federal regulations? I think no. You move on and possibly shop elsewhere. It’s Citi’s decision and maybe the thousands (millions?) of wallets walking away might change it.

    I just think it’s stupid. This was the reason for sticking to Citi. Now I’m ready to roam to a different bank if Citi pisses me off just one more time.

  4. @ Marc W. – I don’t think that Citi is more evil than any other bank, they’re all pretty much the same. And in all truthfulness, I use the word “evil” to casually.

    And I actually blame Sen. Durbin and Big Retail for bringing an end to debit card reward programs, but the way Citibank ended the AAdvantage debit card made me decide to switch banks.

    In my view, Citibank failed to live up to a commitment and they lost my trust by charging me in advance a $65 annual fee for what was supposed to be one year of earning AAdvantage miles with my purchases and then canceling the feature when they decided it was no longer in their interest.

    As a matter of good customer service, they should have elected not to renew the feature at the end of the term rather than making handling it they way they did.

    While I understand that they have a contractual right to make the change, I’m with you – it’s time to roam.

    Besides, their online banking has always been lame, the only reason I lived with it was for the miles:-)

    Thanks for commenting!

  5. I canceled my Chase account when they stoped their Debit Card Mileage program….. and NOW I’ll do the same with CITIBANK so many options around they will loose so many clients because of that!

    Many people are no able to Get a Credit Card to earn mileage… and off course who does depend on Debit Card to earn mileage will be shopping around for another option…

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