Banco Popular announced Monday it has entered into an agreement with American Airlines Inc. to become the exclusive issuer of AAdvantage co-branded credit cards in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the acquisition of the Citi/AAdvantage co-branded credit card portfolio, which represents approximately $130 million in balances.
The amount of the transaction was not disclosed by any of the parties. The transaction affects “thousands” of cardholders in Puerto Rico and the USVI that combine miles earned through credit card purchases with flights to get free travel.
“We are very excited about our new partnership with American Airlines. Not only are we growing our account and customer base through the Citi/AAdvantage acquisition, but our existing and prospective clients will benefit from an additional loyalty program alternative to choose from,” said Fabio García Passalacqua, senior vice president of Banco Popular credit cards.
“This agreement and acquisition allows us to strengthen our position within the credit card market. We will soon unveil our aggressive plan to leverage this relationship,” he said. “This portfolio will now be managed and will soon be serviced from Puerto Rico, thus directly contributing to the local economy.”
Citibank will continue to process the portfolio until the completion of the conversion to the Banco Popular systems, the executive said. During the next several months, customers will be notified about such completion. In the meantime, the accounts will continue to operate as usual.
With this new entrance into the airline loyalty program, Banco Popular becomes the principal local bank issuer of this type of cards, executives said.
“Working with Banco Popular gives us a fantastic opportunity to share the benefits of the AAdvantage co-branded credit card with even more of our loyal customers in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean – a region American Airlines has proudly served for more than 40 years,” said Maya Leibman, president of the AAdvantage loyalty program. “As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the AAdvantage program, we look forward to offering our thousands of members in Puerto Rico and USVI this new alternative to earn and redeem miles for their next award with the new Popular/AAdvantage cards.”