I described a couple of weeks ago about how I earned over 100,000 miles using the Citi AAdvantage MasterCard.

You’ll earn either 50,000 American Airline miles or 40,000 ThankYou Points for opening a checking account and meeting a few simple requirements, provided you have a current Citi AAdvantage or ThankYou credit card. The Citigold® Account is the best value here, but you can earn smaller bonuses with their Citibank and Basic Banking checking accounts as well.

Related: The top 20 checking account bonus offers

What are the requirements?

Make sure to read the fine print, but there are only a few boxes you’ll need to check to earn your 50,000 miles:

  • Have a Citi AAdvantage credit card (can be any variant)
  • Set up a bill payment through Citi’s system for at least 2 consecutive months
  • Make at least $1,000 in debit card purchases

The ThankYou points nix the minimum purchase requirement, making it easier:

  • Have a Citi credit card like the Prestige, ThankYou Preferred, or ThankYou Premier
  • Set up a bill payment through Citi’s system for at least 2 consecutive months

Note that if you don’t feel like you can meet the $1,000 purchase requirement, you can earn smaller bonuses. The Citibank bonus is 15,000 miles for a $375 spend, or 20,000 ThankYou points. The Basic Banking bonus is 5,000 miles for a $125 spend, or 10,000 ThankYou points.

Applying for this checking account, like most others, will not cause a hard pull on your credit report.

What if I don’t have a Citi card?

Apply for one! If you don’t currently have the Citi AAdvantage card and think you’re eligible for one, you should certainly try to get it. While the 50,000-mile bonus is no longer available (it was a limited time offer), you can earn 30,000 bonus miles and this checking accounts 50,000-mile bonus. Keep in mind if you open the AAdvantage card you’ll need to be able to spend $3,000 on it within 90 days, and it carries a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year.

The Citi Prestige, ThankYou PreferredCard, and ThankYou Premier are attractive cards as well. The ThankYou Premier is the most attractive of the bunch, and would get you an additional 40,000 ThankYou Points with the same terms as the AAdvantage card.

Redeeming 50,000 American Airlines miles

Where can you go with 50,000 miles? In my previous post, I outlined a number of different destinations that are easily doable in the 100,000 range. 50,000 miles could easily get you round-trip for two to destinations in the United States, Caribbean, and Mexico. It would also make a huge dent on other more expensive flights, getting you round-trip for one to South America, Europe, and Asia.

Redeeming 40,000 ThankYou points

There are many ways to redeem ThankYou points, but the best way is to transfer to airline partners like US Airways or American Airlines. Other excellent redemption options include transfers to Etihad to redeem on American Airlines, or to Singapore Krisflyer for Asian destinations. I would avoid merely using the points to purchase a gift card or merchandise, as thats generally going to result in the equivalent to a 1% cash back card.

Rinse and Repeat

Citi offers promotions like this regularly, so once you’ve closed your checking account, keep your eye out for new offers as they pop up! I’ll do my best to keep an eye out for them and let you know.


  • Derek Brameyer

    Derek Brameyer is the VP of Operations and previous Android lead at WillowTree, Inc., helping design and build Android, iOS, and web apps for some of the world's biggest companies. Derek is an avid Lego enthusiast, software engineer, and Taylor Swift fan.