UPDATE #3: Citi AA Platinum Loophole is Still Alive

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We have reported a few times about the Citi American Airlines Platinum card loophole.  This loophole utilizes the World Elite upgrade to allow for a quick churn of the card, and bonuses of 50,000-60,000 miles every couple months.  Many of you have taken advantage of this multiple times and earned a ton of AA miles.  Brooke and I have personally earned the bonus four times each!

Many data points have been popping up since February, speculating that the loophole has closed.  With some help from our friends over at /r/churning, we put together a survey to collect data points.  Follow along for our findings.

In our survey, we asked the following five questions:

  1. How many Citi AA Platinum cards have you personally applied for in the past 12 months?
  2. When was your last WE upgrade?
  3. When did you last apply for your AA card?
  4. How did you apply for your last AA card?
  5. Did you receive the bonus language or bonus tracker on your online account?

After a couple days, and 157 replies, we compiled the following data chart:

YES % NO %
Overall Results 129 82% 28 18%
WE Upgrade Timing YES % NO %
Before Jan 2016 28 80% 7 20%
Jan 1 – Feb 12, 2016 45 79% 12 21%
Feb 12 – Today 56 86% 9 14%
Application Timing YES % NO %
Before Feb 2016 69 95% 4 5%
February 2016 40 68% 19 32%
Mar 1 – current 20 80% 5 20%
Application Method YES % NO %
Prequalified Link via Citi 16 80% 4 20%
“Other Cards You May be
Interested In” via Citi
6 86% 1 14%
Targeted Mailer 10 100% 0 0%
Public Link (before Feb) 62 95% 3 5%
Public Link (after Feb 1) 35 64% 20 36%

Take a second to digest the information above, and I’ll provide my analysis:

If You Applied Before February 2016, Success was a Virtual Guarantee

This isn’t necessarily a big finding, because speculation of the loophole closing began in February.  People report 95% success before February vs. 71% success from February 1 onward.  Ah, the glory days…

February was a Low Point for Success

The entire month of February only produced 68% success, regardless of application method.  It was worst between Feb 12 – Mar 1, with only 44% percent of applicants getting the bonus language/tracker.  We do see an uptick in March, with the success rate returning to the overall average around 80%.

Targeted Mailers are 100% (SO FAR)

If you are fortunate enough to get a targeted offer in the mail (usually for 60,000 points), DO IT!  So far, people who applied using this method are 10 for 10!

“Other Cards You May be Interested In” via the Citi website had only 7 data points, but at 6-1, it seems like a good bet.  Prequalified offers via Citi show 80% success on 20 attempts.  All of the above options are better than the current 64% success on public links!

Public Links are Risky Now

Prior to February, public links were rocking a 95% success rate.  Thereafter, the success dropped to 64%.  These links went from a sure thing to a roll of the dice.  Still, according to our data, you should get the bonus language two thirds of the time.

WE Upgrade Timing Seems Irrelevant

Across each time frame selected for WE upgrade timing, the success rate hovers around 80%.  Application timing and method appear to be the biggest factors for success.

One Person Has Gotten Six of These Cards Already

Wow… unfortunately, round 6 did not earn the bonus for them 😦  Either way, respect.

Conclusion

Most people were ready to declare this loophole to be completely dead.  After reading so many reports of people not getting the bonus language or tracker on their accounts, I was prepared to throw in the towel as well.  The results from this survey are actually encouraging.  While we aren’t operating with virtual certainty of success anymore, odds are still in our favor.  As with all things in this points game we play, YMMV, and things change constantly.

We will be applying for our 5th round, and we will update with our resultsspoiler alert 😦.  If you decide to go for another round of applications on this card, please be sure to report your results in the comments below!

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27 thoughts on “UPDATE #3: Citi AA Platinum Loophole is Still Alive

  1. If only there was a way to get Citi to send us one of those targeted mailers. Tried posting earlier and my browser crashed on submit.

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  2. Does this apply too to the Gold Citi card? Both husband and I are on our 2nd, both were converted and both received the miles.
    Have yet to close one of them, waiting till end of April to apply again.

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  3. Have you seen any reports from people who have cancelled a World Elite card since February, and then applied for a new World card (and received the bonus)? This is one area that is continually left out of datapoints, unless everyone is just keeping all cards open in the hopes of having Citi give them a great retention bonus, or just eating the $95 fee.

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      • Definitely let us know the results of your 5th application. By any chance, did you close a World Elite card before applying for this one? This is the most important datapoint to me, and so few people have actually done so.

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  4. we applied for our second round beg of January, were upgraded to elite last month, and would like to apply again shortly. Is there a 50,000 mile link that is available or are the bonuses just 30,000 now?

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  5. sorry for dumb question here.. but i am a newbie.. so i got my first citi mc and then received shortly thereafter another citi card (that I did not apply for) with the world elite on the back.. but they both have the same cc 16 digit number…I am confused.. any clarity on this and what i should do..

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    • This loophole is 98% closed. Some people are still having success, under very specific circumstances. However, most people are reporting it is closed.

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      • It still worked for me, I just applied for another Citi AA on June 22nd, I was approved and waited for the letter in the mail confirming the bonus and low & behold it came, clearly stating that I’d get 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within 3 months, I also had that circular spend-tracker on my online banking showing my progress of the minimum spend required to get the bonus. FYI, you can also secure message citi after confirming that you’ll get the bonus and ask them to match it to the 60K bonus card!

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